An exhibition charting the ups and downs in women's struggles for opportunities to play football from the 1880s onwards has opened in Manchester.
'Moving the Goalposts: A History of Women's Football in Britain' is on display, with free entry, in the Community Gallery at the People's History Museum, Manchester, until 15th May 2011, and will then be available for hire.
Women's football, far from being a recent development, was attracting crowds of several thousand as long ago as the late 19th century. In 1920, a crowd of 53,000 attended a women's match at Goodison Park, Everton. The Football Association responded by banning women's football from league grounds for the next 50 years!
The exhibition was put together by Colin Yates with support from the King Baudouin Foundation, and features original artwork by 8 artists depicting various aspects of women's football, both past and present. It also includes text panels outlining the history of women's football, written by Phil Vasili, and artwork produced by children in workshops with Colin inspired by stories from the exhibition. It is also supported by the Professional Footballers Association, and FURD's Ruth Johnson contributed information and photos.
The opening event on 12th March was attended by Sue Lopez MBE, one of the pioneers of women's football who played for England, played semi-professionally in Italy, has worked in coaching, management and women's football development, and written the book 'Women On the Ball: A guide to Women's Football', which is available from FURD's library.
More images from the exhibition can be seen on Colin Yates' Football Fine Art website - see link below.
The exhibition is particularly timely in promoting women's football, as the FA is due to launch the Women's Super League in April. This is a new semi professional summer league as opposed to a winter amateur league. It will showcase England’s best players and the best domestic women’s football in this country, and it will be televised. Further information about women's football can be found via the links below.