First Women’s Walking Football Competition Honours Pioneers

The very first women’s national walking football tournament is set to take place in Preston, Lancashire on Sunday 2nd July 2017 to commemorate 100 years of the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

In the history of women’s football, The Dick, Kerr Ladies are the most successful team in the world. They were formed at the Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd munitions factory in Preston, Lancashire during the First World War, these very ordinary factory girls from Preston quite literally took the country by storm.

On Christmas Day 1917, 10,000 spectators came to Deepdale, the home of Preston North End Football Club, to witness the start of the most phenomenal success story in the history of women’s sport. Dick, Kerr Ladies notched up the first of many famous victories whilst raising £600 for wounded soldiers.

On Boxing Day 1920, 53,000 spectators packed into Goodison Park, Everton, to see the Dick, Kerr Ladies take on St Helens Ladies, with another 14,000 people locked out and unable to gain admission to the ground. Another victory was recorded for the Dick, Kerr team and an incredible amount of £3,115 was raised for charity.

During the War the Government appointed women welfare supervisors and sent them into the factories to oversee the physical well-being of the factory girls and encourage the development of sporting activities. Among those activities was football, and football became the official sport of the munitions girls. Almost every factory across the United Kingdom involved in war work, had a ladies football team.

Incredibly, in 1921 the FA banned womens football, setting back the development of the womens game for decades. However, the Dick, Kerr ladies continued to play football around the world until 1965 leaving behind a glittering legacy.

For more on the story of the Dick, Kerr Ladies visit www.dickkerrladies.com

Tournament Details

The first national women’s walking football competition will be held in Preston on 2nd July 2017 to commemorate 100 years of the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

  • Teams of 6-A-Side Women (squad of up to 9 women players with flexi-substitutions)
  • Two age groups – Over 40’s and Over 50’s
  • Over 50’s Teams must consist of over 50’s Women (with two women players under 50 permitted, but with only one under 50 on the pitch at any time)
  • Over 40’s Teams must consist of over 40’s Women (with two women players under 40 permitted, but with only one under 40 on the pitch at any time)
  • National Tournament Official Rules and more information at www.walkingfootballunited.co.uk
  • Entry fee £30 per team – plus admin fee of £2.45 if booking online at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dick-kerr-ladies-cup-national-womens-walking-football-
  • tournament-tickets-28311050113
    Closing date for entries 30th April 2017.

For further information contact [email protected]

First Ever Over 30’s Football Festival for Women

Women from the generation that missed the female football revolution took a trip to Wembley at the weekend to enjoy the first ever EFL Trust Football festival for women aged over 30. The Festival at Lucozade Powerlegue saw over 80 women take part across 8 teams representing 6 clubs: Crawley Town, AFC Wimbledon, Swindon, Brentford, Dagenham and Redbridge and Coventry City. The talented AFC Wimbledon took the winning titles for both the plate and the cup on the day, whilst Sue Keeka from Brentford took the title for top goal scorer.

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Being the EFL Trust’s first ever football festival for Women aged over 30, morale was high and the day was fun filled. This gave the ladies the opportunity to display the skills they practice in weekly sessions in a competitive but relaxed environment, whilst socialising with ladies of similar ability and background.

Former Millwall Lionesses player, and FFD ambassador Dionne Lennon made an appearance on the day and was thrilled to support the ladies and see the skills on show, she commented: “What an amazing day…. It was great speaking to some of the players and hearing their stories about why they started playing football and what it has done for them was fantastic. The atmosphere was great despite the competitive edge to the games!  It was a real pleasure to attend.”

Last year, The Crawley Cogs developed sessions specifically for older ladies, the generation that missed the female football revolution. These sessions were developed specifically for ladies who have an interest and passion for football but have stood on the side lines for years: mums of grass roots players, season ticket holders, and anyone who may not have had the opportunity to participate before. From there there has been a progression in the development of over 30’s football teams. Evidently, there has been a real boom in participation in the older age range.  With over 500 women aged 30 and above now actively playing football with our clubs, there has been a 346% increase on year 1 of the FFD programme.

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Carol Bates, one of the founding members of COGS, added: “It was fantastic to see so many over 30s ladies take part in the first ever tournament of its kind, nationally. After starting with 10 ladies at our first COGS session it was incredible to think that this had led to teams from other EFL Clubs coming together and enjoying football.”

We caught up with some of the COG’s players and they had a chat with us about why they love football:

Rachel Pavlou from the FA commented:

“We are delighted that the EFL Trust provided such a fantastic opportunity for these women to play football and we would like to thank all the clubs that took part… The FA has an ambitious target of doubling female participation and so initiatives like this, to provide opportunities for women over the age of 30, are crucial in helping us achieve these aims… many of these women have barely played football as there haven’t been the chances for them before, so we hope that this encourages them to keep playing the game. We would also like to thank Powerleague for providing the facilities as part of the good work that they are doing to increase the number of women that play football in their centres.”