Women’s Euro 2022: Birmingham footballer helps recreate the 1895 first ever women’s team photo

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Birmingham football stars bring 127 year-old image of The British Ladies’ FC back to life

Birmingham based team Saltley Stallions Womens FC were selected to take part in recreating the first ever recorded photograph of a women’s football team to celebrate the upcoming 2022 Women’s Euro’s.

The iconic photo of The British Ladies’ FC from 1895 shows the women’s football trailblazers in their buttoned-up blouses and billowing bloomers in line with the Radical Dress Movement for reforming the dress standards of women.

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Players would have only owned one pair of boots, which had to be heeled to ensure they weren’t considered to be breaking the Victorian standards of decency.

The Victorian team was formed by captain Nettie Honeyball, who is widely considered a pioneer of women’s football and the early feminist movement. Their first game was played in Crouch End, North London, in front of a crowd of 10,000 people.

The British Ladies FC - the first ever women’s football team photo from 1897The British Ladies FC - the first ever women’s football team photo from 1897
The British Ladies FC - the first ever women’s football team photo from 1897 | Alamy Stock Photo

So how have things changed in women’s football since 1895?

Fast forward over 127 years and the women’s game couldn’t look more different. The Stallions, who train at Greenlane Playing Fields in Bordesley Green, was created by Obayed Hussain and Yasmin Nessa following demand from Muslim women in Inner City Birmingham to have more opportunities to be involved in football.

Since 2013, the club at large has received almost £40,000 in funding and support from The National Lottery – and to celebrate the incredible impact the club has made on its local community, players were invited to join footballer and singer-songwriter Chelcee Grimes for a team photo paying homage to the trailblazers of the women’s game.

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Over the last ten years alone, National Lottery players have helped invest over £50 million into football in ways which benefit the women and girls’ game. This investment includes funding specific programmes as part of the Women’s Euros legacy, as well as supporting the sport’s return after Covid-19 and other initiatives to inspire females to play the game.

In all, across the last 25 years, more than £5.7 billion of National Lottery funding has been invested into grassroots sports.

Group shot of Chelcee Grimes and up-and-coming footballers with Saltley Stallions FC Yasmin Rahman on the back row far rightGroup shot of Chelcee Grimes and up-and-coming footballers with Saltley Stallions FC Yasmin Rahman on the back row far right
Group shot of Chelcee Grimes and up-and-coming footballers with Saltley Stallions FC Yasmin Rahman on the back row far right | Getty Images/EyeEm

What have the Saltley Stallions Women’s FC players said about the game today?

Yasmin Rahman, one of the Saltley Stallions who took part in the photo recreation, reflected on what football means for her, and why it’s so important to celebrate the legacy of women’s football in the UK:

“Recreating this photo is an amazing experience, putting a modern twist on such an important image that represents where the game has come from. I’ve met so many new people and really enjoyed the recreation.

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“When I was younger, I never had the opportunity to play in a women’s team, I was used to being the only girl in a boys team. For me as a Muslim girl in a male-dominated environment, I am so happy to have that safe space where I can just play football and I am so passionate about getting as many people to participate as possible.

“I was able to watch my first ever England game recently – I couldn’t believe I was there! Seeing a major tournament like the Women’s Euros taking place in the UK is so exciting – not just for the talent on the pitch, but what it means for all the young girls who can see a path for them to play, and there are clubs like ours that will support women and girls into football.”

Yasmin Rahman from Saltley Stallions FCYasmin Rahman from Saltley Stallions FC
Yasmin Rahman from Saltley Stallions FC | Yasmin Rahman from Saltley Stallions FC

What have the other players in the modern day photo said about women’s football?

Chelcee Grimes, who has played for Liverpool, Fulham and Mersrail Ladies said: “Hopefully these images will capture people’s imagination ahead of the Euros and make them interested in the individuals who helped tackle prejudice and progress the sport.

“Nettie Honeyball and her team were true trailblazers of their time.  I’ve been playing for a team since I was a young girl and even in my short tenure, the game has come on a very long way indeed.

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“I’m really passionate about getting more women & girls paying the game so it’s great to see The National Lottery is investing at the grassroots level to support the next generation of players. Sport really has the power to bring people together and grass-roots clubs and organisations play such a vital role in giving young people the time and space to realise their full potential.

“I can’t wait for the Women’s Euros to start and I hope the momentum and excitement will encourage more women to give it a go at their local club!”

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