Manchester Corinthians - an incredible story to share

7 March 2020

Manchester Corinthians - an incredible story to share

Few people will have possibly heard of Percy Ashley, or Corinthian Ladies Football Club in 1949, the team he formed mainly so that his daughter, Doris, could play in a team.

Percy was a scout for Bolton Wanderers and a well known local referee.  His daughter Doris, who was profoundly deaf, was a magnificent player, but there was no existing local team for her in Manchester.

Building a team around her was a way of supporting her sporting interest, and also helping her to socialise.

But Manchester Corinthians were not like the upper class male amateurs from whom they took their name. Their home ground on Fog Lane Park, Didsbury and facilities were sparse, and players had to be both very determined to play football and resilient: several reminisced washing post-match in duck ponds as there was no running water in the changing rooms, which were also unheated.

There were very few other women’s teams in the region. Therefore in 1957, a second team linked to Manchester Corinthians was formed by Percy under the name ‘The Nomads’, or less frequently ‘All Stars’, to enable them to play against each other in charity matches.

It has often been said that ‘Where Manchester leads others will follow,’ however this has seldom been applied to the relatively neglected topic of women’s football in the city, and its surrounding area.

Manchester Corinthians were able to use the latest travel technology to defy the FA ban which had been in place since 1921, and take part in tours to the European Cup in Berlin in 1957; The Netherlands in 1958; Portugal/ Madeira in 1959; South America & the Caribbean in 1960 and Italy in 1961.

During their existence, both teams toured extensively; including to Ireland in 1962, Morocco in 1966, and France in 1970, in all winning more than fifty trophies. In 1957 they won the European Cup with Manchester City’s Bert Trautmann as their interpreter.

To find out more about these brilliant women please click here.

Take a look atthe dedicated JJ Heritage website here.

With special thanks to Prof. Jean Williams, Museum & Heritage Consultant.

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