Trailblazing Female Football Team Manchester Corinthians Earn Historic Recognition


In a befitting tribute to their audacious defiance of the longstanding ban on women’s Football Association (FA) matches, Manchester Corinthians, a trailblazing female football team, are being officially recognized. A blue plaque is set to be unveiled at the team’s erstwhile stomping ground – Fog Lane Park, Didsbury.

Established in 1949, the Corinthians not only pioneered the women’s football movement but also set competitive standards by clinching a prestigious European trophy in Germany and captivating audiences of more than 50,000 spectators during their international tours.

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Margaret Shepherd, a former Corinthian, welcomed the acknowledgment with great pleasure. “The recognition means everything,” she commented, highlighting the FA’s 1921 ban on women playing on FA-affiliated pitches. This ban was eventually rescinded in 1971, lauding the tenacity of the players.

Margaret Whitworth, another Corinthian alumna, confided that she, along with many other teammates, concealed their footballing pursuits initially. Due to the societal norms and expectations of the time, admitting to engaging in such a traditionally ‘masculine’ sport was considered unseemly.

Now in her late seventies, Whitworth reminisced about her playing days, which spanned from 1958 to 1974. She shared vivid details of playing before massive crowds during a three-month South American tour. Speaking fondly of her past, she relished the upcoming opportunity to reconnect with old teammates at the blue plaque unveiling.

Complementing Whitworth’s narrative, Margaret Shepherd, another former player, corroborated the secretive nature of their football ambitions. She recounted how the socio-cultural milieu often led her to hide her involvement in football from her peers and colleagues.

Former player Margaret Shepherd also awaited the plaque unveiling eagerly. “It is not just for me but it is for every other Corinthian that played and every other lady footballer that played during the ban,” she said, “We just want recognition of the achievements that we made.”

Gary James, a historian and writer who championed the movement to commemorate the Corinthians, applauded their fortitude and dedication. James praised the team for continually playing during the prohibition perioun and hailed them as shining exemplars of British football.

In addition to the blue plaque, two murals crafted by artist Gavin Renshaw are slated for public display. The unveiling ceremony is expected to witness participation from numerous former Corinthians, including the 92-year-old Dorothy Allcock.

Thus, these pioneering individuals who strived against stifling societal norms and regulations find themselves at the heart of this historical honor, forever enshrined in the annals of sporting history in the United Kingdom. Their legacy will continue to inspire future generations of aspirant female players across the globe.