It’s often said that football is like a religion and if we know anything about religion it’s that it stirs deep and passionate emotions. So, imagine the dismay that was felt in 1921 when the Football Association deemed the game ‘unsuitable for females’ and banned any associated ground from hosting their matches. At the time women’s football was hugely popular. Just a year earlier some 53,000 had packed Goodison Park on Boxing Day to watch Kerr Ladies FC take on St Helen’s Ladies.
But like the churches from which many famous football teams emerged, the ladies were not going to take a ban lying down. Football, like faith, is self-evidently a good thing for society. It would take 50 years for the FA ban to be reversed and another 50 to make any real headway in restoring the women’s game to the prominence it once had. Entirely fitting, then, that as a reward it was the ladies who finally brought football home.
Reflecting on his struggles to overcome the ban on his Christian faith St Paul commented, ‘forgetting what is behind I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.’ Sometimes it’s just what you have to do!