Women’s football is often thought of as a modern derivative of the men’s game, but in actual fact the first recorded match occurred in 1895 when ‘North’ beat ‘South’ 7-1! The game became so popular that 1920 saw spectator numbers rise to as high as 53,000, whilst there was also the first women’s international match when the popular Dick Kerr’s Ladies of Preston beat a French XI 2-0. However, in 1921 the ladies game was banned in this country, as the FA felt that it was ‘quite unsuitable for females, and ought not to be encouraged’. Thankfully, in 1969 the WFA was formed, and the game has continued to grow and develop ever since - shown by the one million tickets that have been made available for the World Cup in Canada next year. Our own side can be traced back to the founding of Elmore Eagles back in 1997. This squad swept aside all opposition in their first season, winning a league and cup treble, and began a steady rise through the divisions for the club. The team eventually amalgamated with Exeter City, and our involvement with the game was such that St James Park hosted what was almost a rematch of the first international, when England played France in an under 21s match 2006. Today the Exeter City Ladies, Centre of Excellence side, are playing in the inaugural FA Women’s Premier League, South West Division, and sit just off the top of the table, having lost just two games so far this season.
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