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From Butlins to Europe: Fodens Ladies in the 1960s and 1970s

Day, Dave and Roberts, Margaret (2019) From Butlins to Europe: Fodens Ladies in the 1960s and 1970s. Sport in History. ISSN 1746-0263


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Emerging out of the shadows cast over women’s football following its marginalisation by the Football Association in the inter-war years, Fodens Ladies, formed at a lorry manufacturing plant in Sandbach, Cheshire, contributed to a new vibrancy in the game between 1960 and 1980. Emulating many similar works-based predecessors, the team established itself as one of the pioneers of a female football revival and provided a public arena for several prominent international players of the period. From its early days playing charity matches the company team became a regular participant in the Butlin’s Cup, winning it in 1969 and 1970, before beating Southampton in the 1974 Mitre Cup final. The team also undertook overseas tours with team members receiving only minimal support from the company. This paper draws on private personal archives, company records, holdings at the National Football Museum, national and local newspapers, and an in-house magazine, The Foden News, to situate the team within the context of Fodens Ltd and the wider context of women’s football in the 1960s and 1970s. The paper concludes by signposting the next phase of research, which will explore in detail the biographies of key individuals involved in the Fodens team during this period.

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