The first manuscript in our Starting Eleven concerns the creation of the game: this document encouraged its suppression, specifically with regards to women’s football.

As a consequence of the First World War, women were increasingly tasked with roles traditionally occupied by men. Many were allowed to take factory jobs for the first time in order to contribute to the war effort – and these “munitionettes” would keep fit by playing football on their break.

With many footballers called up to serve their country, The FA stopped scheduling official games from 1915 onwards. In their stead, the women workers developed their skills, challenging one another to more formal fixtures with a view to raising funds for servicemen.

On Christmas Day in 1917, the Dick, Kerr Ladies played neighbouring Arundel Coulthard Foundry at Deepdale, raising significant sums. Interest in women’s football grew at a pace, even after the war was over. On Boxing Day in 1920, DKL took on  St Helens Ladies at Goodison Park: the fixture drew at least 46,000 spectators, with some reports putting the attendance as high as 53,000.

However, the popular movement ground to a halt in December 1921 when The FA moved to ban women from playing football on its member’s pitches. These four sentences, buried in a minute book, would consign the women’s game to the fringes for five decades:

“Complaints have been made as to football being played by women, Council feel impelled to express their strong opinion that the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and should not be encouraged.

“Complaints have also been made as to the conditions under which some of the matches have been arranged and played, and the appropriation of receipts to other than charitable objects.

“The Council are further of the opinion that an excessive proportion of the receipts are absorbed in expenses and an inadequate percentage devoted to charitable objects.

“For these reasons the Council requests the Clubs belonging to the Association refuse the use of their grounds for such matches.”

Clubs continued to play in the following decades, but the frequency of fixtures and wider interest would dwindle. The FA ‘ban’ was belatedly lifted by 1970, when the FA Council rescinded their 1921 resolution; almost fifty years after its imposition.