North West football honours Preston’s famous Dick, Kerr Ladies’ team

Gail Newsham (right) unveils the Dick, Kerr Ladies tribute at Deepdale in 2017 with Rachel Brown-Finnis
Gail Newsham (right) unveils the Dick, Kerr Ladies tribute at Deepdale in 2017 with Rachel Brown-Finnis

Preston’s Dick,Kerr Ladies’ football team have been honoured at the North West Football Awards in Manchester.

Formed by factory girls in 1917, they became the most successful women’s team in history, playing in front of huge crowds.

At the awards held on Monday, the Special Recognition Award was given in their honour.

It was collected by Gail Newsham, author of ‘In a League of Their Own’ which is a history of the Dick,Kerr Ladies’ team.

A permanent granite plaque honouring the team stands outside Preston North End’s Deepdale ground.

After picking up the award, Gail said: “I’m so proud for these women.

“It’s amazing to have the Dick,Kerr Ladies recognised by the football world.”

It was during the First World War that the team was founded.

Women working at the Dick, Kerr and Co munitions factory on Strand Road formed the team to raise money for soldiers who had been injured in the conflict and were being treated at Moor Park Military Hospital in Preston.

Gail said: “They played a football match at Preston North End on Christmas Day 1917 in front of 10,000 people.

“They raised £600 for the wounded soldiers, which today would be worth £50,000.

“Through the darkest days in our history, the Dick, Kerr Ladies were there flying the flag. They became the most successful team, which was a bonus.

“Preston has finally been taking them back into their heart which is wonderful.”

The FA banned women’s football from being played at its members’ grounds in 1921, a ban only lifted 50 years later.

But the Dick, Kerr team continued playing, both at home and abroad.

Meanwhile, North End pair Alan Browne and Ben Davies were pipped to the post for silverware at the North West Football Awards.

Browne was nominated for Championship player of the year but that was won by Bolton keeper Ben Alnwick.

The midfielder was also in the voting for goal of the year for his 45-yard strike against Cardiff last season.

That award, conducted on a public Twitter vote, went to Liverpool midfielder Alex 
Oxlade-Chamberlain.

PNE centre-back Davies was shortlisted for the rising star award which was won by Liverpool and England’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.