Manchester Corinthians: Ask Your Mam or Nan if She was a Footballer

The Manchester Corinthians was a pioneering women’s football team established in 1949 and playing on for forty years. They played during the FA’s ban; toured the globe promoting women, football & Manchester; played a major part in the establishment of the Women’s FA and continued into the modern era.

Last year we successfully held a campaign to erect a plaque and tributes to the women and this summer to mark the 75th anniversary I’ll be publishing the authorised history of the club. It’s been a labour of love for several years and people can subscribe to it now. It’s self-funded so any pre-publication orders really do help.

A book cover with the title printed above an early 1950s image of a women’s team called the Manchester Corinthians

Draft Manchester Corinthians Book Cover. Credit: Gary James

I am still trying to track down women who have played for the club and have launched a campaign urging Mancunians (or anyone else for that matter!) to ask their ‘Mam’ or ‘Nan’ if they ever played. That’s exactly how I found one woman who played 70 years ago. Her grandson mentioned my search and she told him that she’d played. It seems some women had been reluctant to talk about it due to the reactions they’d previously received, demonstrating why it’s so important to ensure their stories are told now.

Two elderly women holding a blue plaque dedicated to a women’s football team with a man stood behind them

Corinthians Margaret Shepherd and Margaret Whitworth with Gary James and the Blue Plaque. Credit: Heidi james

Whether it’s the plaque or the book what this all demonstrates is that those of us interested in ensuring history is representative of all society need to do all we can to promote these stories. We need to ensure women, like the Manchester Corinthians, are properly acknowledged both physically (with blue plaques) and in literature and then those books must be preserved. If I can help with advice for anyone else looking to erect a plaque or pay tribute to sporting pioneers then please get in touch. Thanks

You can find out more about the campaign and book below, and follow Gary James on social media for further updates:

Twitter/X @garyjameswriter  Facebook @GaryJames4

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