England in the 2023 Women’s Football World Cup

It’s that time again, when we can hope and dare to dream: that England CAN win the 2023 World Cup in New Zealand and Australia. They have a good chance. It’s a great time for women’s football…and it’s a good time to look back at its history.

As we all know, women’s football grew massively in World War One. The Dick Kerr Munitions Works encouraged their women workers to play football during World War One to improve their health and morale. After they beat their male factory co-workers in an informal lunchtime match, the women’s team decided to take their football a little more seriously. They played their first public match in 1917 in front of 10,000 spectators. They beat Arundel Coulthard Factory 4-0. By 1920, they were playing St Helen’s Ladies at Goodison Park in front of 53,000 spectators with 14,000 more trying to get into the grounds.

In 1921 the FA banned women’s football from FA grounds. The men had returned from the War and demand for pitches was too great. All of a sudden football was deemed an unsuitable game for women’s health. The ban lasted 50 years.  Undeterred, Dick Kerr Munitions Works Women’s team renamed themselves Preston Ladies FC and carried on playing. In 1926 they played the Edinburgh Ladies and won 5-1. Deemed an international match, in fact THE international match, Preston Ladies therefore became unofficial World Champions. It would be great if England could make it official this time around.