Since 71 On Tour: National Football Museum

Whilst on a recent trip predominantly for Bristol City‘s Game at Manchester United we decided to visit two cathedrals of football in Manchester, Old Trafford and the National Football Museum to see if there were any references to the women’s game at either.

As we were given a superb access all areas tour of Old Trafford, I spoke with our friendly tour guide ‘Bob’ as to the reason for our visit he enthusiastically spoke of how well Manchester United Women had done recently and said that he would love it if the women’s team would play at Old Trafford, we proceeded into the clubs museum where there was on display the FA Women’s Championship trophy that their team won so emphatically last season and one of there player of the month trophies.

We then proceeded to make the short journey by tram to the National Football Museum where once inside the highly impressive four-story building we were met with the sight of George Best’s car which he drove until he was banned from drink driving and two signed Lionesses shirts by all the players from last years world cup, never could two items in football be so different, in a move that echoed Bristol City’s form in the last 18 months we decided to start at the top and work our way down.

Level three contained the ‘Strip! How football got shirty’ exhibition which exhibited a wide range of football shirts over the course of football history including a great deal of women’s shirts including the jersey that St Helens captain Liz Deighan wore to win the 1980 women’s FA Cup also on view was a goalkeepers shirt worn by ‘Manchester United supporters club ladies’ in 1996 before the club had an official women’s team and then a number of international shirts including a signed USA one worn by there legendary player Kristine Lilly who scored 130 goals in a 23-year international career, a very loud tartan Scotland one from 1993 exclusively for the women’s team and numerous old Lionesses shirts including a heavily patterned design that England wore in 1991 whilst still under the management of the WFA.

Level two mainly consisted of interactive games including a penalty shootout simulator of which the wall was covered by a mural of England legend Kelly Smith, I proceeded to have a go at this one and sadly didn’t cover myself in glory she would have.

Level one was the core of the museum with items and artefacts covering the history of the game. The women’s game was well represented with the original pennants that were given to legendary women’s team ‘Dick Kerr Ladies’ on their successful world tour and memorabilia from the ‘unofficial’ 1971 world cup. Also England captain, Carol Thomas’ 1984 UEFA Women’s Championships runners up medal who captained her country between 1976 and 1985 and was the first woman to reach 50 caps.

There was also the original ‘English ladies FA Cup ‘ winners medal awarded to Lillian Bridgett in 1922 and actual kit worn by female players in the 1890s which was somewhat different from what the players wear today! There were many other items on display that would appeal to fans of our wonderful women’s game but it was pleasing to see that the final exhibit in the whole museum was a statue of women’s football trailblazer Lily Parr.

It was a superb day and I would recommend either attraction if you are a fan of football be it women’s or men’s.