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1921 was a horrible year for the development of the women’s game. Women’s football was in full swing; it was providing liberation from the monotonous style of Victorian life and was becoming hugely popular – and not just among women. But, despite this, 1921 saw the prohibition of women’s football across the UK.
What women’s football (and football in general) would be like now if this had not happened is something for mere speculation and hypotheses. Who knows? Maybe it would be female footballers that are the idols of young children; maybe it would be the names of Alex Morgan and Marta that would be yelled when smashing a ball into the top corner of the goal – as opposed to the chants of Messi or imitations of Ronaldo’s celebration.
Yes, 1921 was a grave year for the game, but it should never be forgotten – it should be used to propel the desire of women to participate in and excel in sport. This is one of the fundamental beliefs of Lancaster University Women’s Football Club (LUWFC); which provides a welcoming atmosphere for people of all abilities – regardless of whether you have already played at an impressive level, or whether you’ve never even kicked a ball.
LUWFC consists of three teams: there are first and second team who both compete in the BUCS league (against other universities); and there’s the development team, which provides the perfect atmosphere for people wanting to develop their skills and to meet a variety of new people, without any pressure or need for prior experience.
As a member of the first team, one of the standout moments of last season was when we were 3-0 down at home to Newcastle at half-time (who, by the way, we thrashed earlier on in the season) and, after an emotional half time team talk, we managed to claw back the score to 3-3 with an immense set of goals – and we continued to knock on the door for more goals to snatch the win. The desire and heart to work our way back, from which would’ve otherwise been a horrifically disappointing defeat, is something I have only experienced a handful of times in all my years being a member of numerous sports teams.
LUWFC has had a tremendous impact on my university experience – especially through Wednesday night socials (which have unfortunately been temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 situation). Walking through the typically chilly winter streets of Lancaster on socials, dressed as a golfer or a giraffe (or whatever ridiculous outfit was on theme that week) have been some of my favourite memories – and it’s something you wouldn’t experience anywhere else but at university. In addition, the long coach journeys for the away days really help to make you feel more professional and they add a massive feeling of being a member of a team.
Hopefully, more and more girls can be encouraged to try football out and have the same positive experience that I, and so many others, have had. This generation of women could become the next generation of England’s (or the world’s) sporting hero’s – and maybe, just maybe, the return of the ‘Golden Era’ may only be a fingertip away.