Ladies get FA approval at last

Gail Newsham (right) and Alison Hitchen pick up the award in London
Gail Newsham (right) and Alison Hitchen pick up the award in London

Almost a century after they were banned by the FA, the footballers from Dick, Kerr Ladies have won them over at long last.

The Preston team, credited with launching the women’s game in Britain, finally received the formal seal of approval at the FA Women’s Football Awards in London at the weekend.

The pioneering girls were named winners of a special prize, the Contribution to Women’s Football award, at the glitzy dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair.

“I feel that finally we have come full circle,” said an emotional Gail Newsham who wrote the definitive book on the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

“I think finally they get it, they get the story. From banning them in 1921 to this. I’m so proud for all those women.”

Gail was at the awards ceremony with Alison Hitchen from UCLan when the award was announced. “We were absolutely shocked,” she said. “We never expected it at all. We thought we had been invited down to the awaeds night just as a reciprocal thing because we invited the FA to our centenary dinner in Preston.

“When they mentioned Dick, Kerr Ladies and put their photograph up on the screen I just thought ‘wow, that’s nice.’ But when they said we had been given the award in celebration of 100 years in football we were totally shocked.

“When we went up to receive the award we got a standing ovation. All the girls in the England team were on their feet clapping. It was a wonderful, amazing moment.”