Following our previous post commenting on the FIFA Womens' World Cup, our colleague Professor Stephen Linstead (University of York) has brought to our attention this clip from 1968 about the Grimethorpe Black Diamonds Ladies Team:
As well as providing rare archive footage of womens' football in the 1960s, the Grimethorpe Black Diamonds clip also offers insight into the relationship between industry/industrial communities and sport.
Perhaps the most famous 'industrial' women's team were the Dick, Kerr Ladies Team which comprised munitions factory workers during WW1:
All of this is of course a long way from Canada 2015, temporally, spatially, and financially, but serves as an interesting reminder of the roots of women's football and also how far the sport has come in recent times in terms of recognition and professionalisation. According to Reuters.com, the 2015 World Cup has seen women's football attracting a great deal of new interest from sponsors (although in 2015 this is from global sportswear brands, rather than local munitions factories and collieries!) and is considered to be an important opportunity by FIFA as a means by which to achieve their sponsorship targets.
Given the reported funding problems and financial inequalities in the women's game, particularly in and between the teams from the CONCACAF region (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) and CAF region (which encompasses African Football Associations), new money in womens' football will be well received - although the challenge will be to avoid the pitfalls associated with commercialisation of soccer and alleged financial irregularities and mis-management that have beset the men's sport in recent years. Watch this space.