National Football Museum sheds light ahead of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022

A new exhibition is coming to Manchester this June charting the history of women’s football, uncovering the overlooked history of the game as well as celebrating its players and communities.

The exhibition, a joint collaboration between Manchester City Council and The National Football Museum, will correspond with the city hosting part of this year’s UEFA Women’s Euros tournament and run from June until December. Exact dates will be revealed soon.

As a city that is synonymous with football we're excited and proud to be playing our part in supporting the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 Tournament

The opening game of the UEFA Women's EURO22 tournament will see England facing Austria at Old Trafford, with Manchester City’s Academy Stadium and Leigh Sports Village also hosting games throughout July. 

Photo Shows Fodens Ladies Fc In The 1960S  The Team Established Itself As One Of The Pioneers Of The Womens Games  Image Courtesy Of The National Football Museum
Fodens Ladies FC in the 1960s, the Sandbach-based team was one of the nation's leading women's teams Image: Courtesy of National Football Museum

Uncovering the history of the women’s game

As part of a National Lottery funded project this summer, Manchester and nine other tournament host cities will take part in the project which aims to uncover the pioneering stories of the women and girls involved in the sport which was first played professionally 141 years ago.

As well as charting the women’s game from its inception in the nineteenth century, a “unique contemporary collecting project” is also planned as part of the exhibition. The Football Heritage Collection will be a community-focused project which will see volunteers go out into local communities to collect people’s memories and stories of the beautiful game and the women involved.

Ten community volunteers will be recruited and trained in techniques surrounding gathering, recording and digitising oral histories especially for the project. Community collecting days meanwhile will be held at fan zones on matchdays giving members of the public opportunities to share their stories and memorabilia with heritage experts.

The project will also collect artefacts associated with women and girls who have been involved in the beautiful game. A selection of oral histories, stories and objects collected will be available to view online on the National Football Museum’s website.

St Helens Wfc 1977  Image Courtesy The National Football Museum
St Helens Women's Football Club pictured in 1977 Image: Courtesy of The National Football Museum

Building on the city’s footballing traditions

The exhibition will go on display at the National Football Museum from February until July and build upon the museum’s work over recent years in improving the representation of women’s football across its collections and exhibitions.

Belinda Scarlett, Women’s Football Curator at the National Football Museum, said:

"From the Manchester Corinthians' ground-breaking international tours in the 1950s to being home to two WSL teams and grassroots teams like Manchester Laces, Manchester has played an important role in the history and development of the women’s game. The National Football Museum has been improving its representation of women’s football across its collections and exhibitions over the past few years culminating in our exhibition to celebrate the UEFA Women’s Euros 2022. The exhibition will be supported by an exciting range of activities and events to celebrate and capture the tournament."

Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader Manchester City Council, said:

"As a city that is synonymous with football, we're excited and proud to be playing our part in supporting the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 Tournament.  

"It provides a huge opportunity for girls and women's football in Manchester and for helping get more girls and women involved in physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.

"As well as giving fans the chance to see some of the best players in the world in action on the pitch, the work we're doing with the National Football Museum to open up and reveal more of the history of women's football will ensure that this fascinating, surprising, and currently little-known about heritage of the game is opened up to a wider audience, and recorded for future generations to explore, learn from, and be inspired by."

The Dick Kerr Ladies Team Preston Ladies Being Filmed By Pathe News Nov 31  Includes Lily Parr Lizzy Ashcroft  Image Courtesy The Lizzy Ashcroft Collection
The Dick Kerr team (Preston Ladies) being filmed by Pathe News in November 1931 Image: Courtesy of The Lizzy Ashcroft Collection

Baroness Sue Campbell, UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Board Member and Director of Women’s Football, The FA, said: 

“We're thrilled to be working with our UEFA Women’s EURO Host City partners and The National Lottery Heritage Fund on this unique programme. Together we will bring to the fore incredible stories of the pioneers of women’s football who have helped shape the women’s game we have today." 

"The programme will also capture and tell, for generations to come, the profiles and stories of current and future England players, ensuring fans are better informed than ever before. With the UEFA Women’s EURO coming to England this summer, this really is the time to celebrate our past and look forward to a very exciting future.”

Manchester is one of nine English cities hosting this year’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 tournament, all of which are taking part in women’s football heritage activities to uncover the history of 141 years of women’s football.

Header photo courtesy of National Football Museum

Follow Davey on Twitter and Instagram: @dbretteats

UEFA Women's EURO22 dates for your diary

Manchester will host four group games including Wednesday 6 July (England v Austria, Old Trafford), Sunday 10 July (Belgium v Iceland, City Academy Stadium), Thursday 14 July (Italy v Iceland, City Academy Stadium) and Monday 18 July (Italy v Belgium, City Academy Stadium).

Leigh Sports Village will host four games including Saturday 9 July (Russia v Switzerland), Wednesday 13 July (Netherlands v Russia), Sunday 17 July (Sweden v Russia) and Friday 22 July (Quarter-Final).

Read next: Legendary music venue Band On The Wall finally reopens in March

Read again: What's on: Manchester fitness, sport and wellbeing in 2022

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