Leicestershire Women’s Football Pre-1960

The first ladies football match in Leicestershire took place in October 1895 on the Nottingham-road Athletic Ground, Loughborough between members of the British Ladies FC. “There was not much actual football about the exhibition which was chiefly watched out of curiosity. Those who had the management of the affair did not extend to the Press the courtesies  which the Loughborough Football Club and all other invariably offer for those reporting matches. The game ended in a victory for the ‘Whites’ by two goals to one.”

Seven months later, a football match, in which ladies were the only contestants took place on the Belgrave-road ground, Leicester in the presence of a fairly large number of spectators. Leicester’s Lord Mayor, Sir Thomas Wright was to have kicked off, but a business engagement prevented him doing so. “The football was not of a very high order, even for lady players.”

Munition Girls football played fund raising matches across the county during World War I.

Coalville Munitionettes in 1918 became the first and only women’s team to win the coveted Bass Charity Vase.

On 5 December 1921 the FA banned women from playing on FA-affiliated pitches, encouraging associated clubs “to refuse the use of their grounds for such matches.” They stated, “the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.”

The first and only ELFA Challenge Cup competition took place in 1922. Stoke Ladies lifted the trophy, beating Doncaster and Bentley Ladies 3-1 in the June 1922 final. Hey’s Ladies of Bradford won the Bradford Charity Cup.

1,500 spectators watched Dick Kerr Ladies beat Blackpool Ladies at the Agricultural Show Ground, Aylestone Road in 1927.

Many factories set up women’s football teams and played matches to raise money for charity. The Kent Ladies Football League in 1944-45, won by Aylesham Ladies from Snowdown Colliery.

The Southern Counties Ladies Football League was started in 1950.

In 1956 the Southampton & District League, principally comprising works’ teams, was launched.