Dick Kerr Ladies 1922

By the mid point of 1918 sources on the Aintree Ladies team start to become fewer and fewer as the local papers carry only a hand full of articles on the team.

After the game at Goodison many must have thought that the Aintree Ladies were here to stay. This must have seemed even more unlikely as they took on the biggest team in the country, Dick Kerr’s Ladies from Preston.

An article in the Liverpool Echo stated that the two teams had already met but no source evidence could be found for this game. Their second game however was to take place at the New Brighton Tower Ground just across the Mersey on the Wirral.

Its unlikely many would recognise this ground today but in the early 20th Century the ground was one of the largest in area boasting 60,000 capacity. The New Brighton Tower Company had built the ground as a summer attraction and it was used for Football in the winter.

The Tower Ground had been home to New Brighton Tower FC who were a founding member of the Second Division. But tiny attendances meant the team only lasted two seasons.

For the Aintree team playing at the Tower Ground was not a step down and was a fitting place to play Dick Kerr’s Ladies.

The game had received very little promotion so the attendance was extremely low but still managed a gate receipt of £300.

In the Liverpool Echo a short description was given of the game which simply stated that Dick Kerr’s Ladies had won 1-0. The article also stated about the game ‘As a game it was quite interesting, fairly fast, and was a surprise to those who believe it would be a shoving match…’

The article went on to say the coaching of Mr Little had really improved the Aintree Ladies performance in recent months. However Dick Kerr’s were the better side with the article sating ‘But Preston’s representatives were the bigger and better in height and weight and in the defence they had a habit of packing their goal that made Aintree look crushed out.’

Although the article had little mention of the game it did carry a sizable opinion piece titled ‘Come to Stay-Not Come to Blows’ discussing whether Ladies football would continue to grow.

The author believed ‘I think their stay will be long in the lad of Football. They have a keen sense of the right thing to do, keep the ball on the turf and show stamina that one could not have thought possible.’

Continuing on such a positive note the article stated that they could head balls well and ‘…did not spin when the ball hit their curly locks.’ Alongside this the ladies very rarely lost their cool or came to blows with other players.

With such praise one would have believed that like Dick Kerr’s the Aintree Ladies would continue to rise. But if the quantity of sources is anything to go by then they pretty much fell of the face of the earth. After this game the Liverpool Echo made only one glancing mention of the team was made around a game against the Amatol Munitions Ladies team which was postponed.

The team seem to rise and catch the imagination of the local press and public but in the long term they fell into obscurity. Why is difficult to answer without the source material but perhaps a lack of different opponents had led to the public to become disinterested.

What ever the reason for their sudden departure from the world of Football their legacy should not be forgotten as their contributions laid the foundations for the meteoric rise in the Ladies game of the 1920s.