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Published 18th May 2018

Middlesbrough Female Academy and Gateshead Female Academy players pictured with Middlesbrough College principal Zoe Lewis (front right) and Martin Peagam (waistcoat)

History repeated itself this week as two women’s football teams took to the field to commemorate a match which took place exactly 100 years ago.

Middlesbrough Female Academy and Gateshead Female Academy met at Middlesbrough College to replay a match between teams from Tyneside and Teesside held on May 18, 1918 – exactly 100 years ago.

The game marked a significant point in history when women’s football attracted large crowds and dominated headlines, and more importantly was a catalyst for social change.

A crowd of more than 22,000 people gathered at Ayresome Park in Middlesbrough, the home of Middlesbrough FC since 1903, to see the Blyth team win 5-0.

This time it was the Teesside team’s turn to lift the trophy as Middlesbrough, representing Bolckow Vaughan Ladies, beat Gateshead, representing Blyth Spartans Munitions Girls, 7 – 2.

Spectators also watched the teams lay a commemorative wreath, and listened to a talk from ex-Premier League player and director of football at Middlesbrough College, Neil Maddison.

The event was organised by local historian Martin Peagam, who is also a former assistant principal at Middlesbrough College.

Martin, who also delivered a talk about the history of the tournament, said: “The match was far more than just a football game – it was also a symbol of wider change taking place in society.

“Participation of women in football, alongside the involvement of women in industries that had traditionally been viewed as the exclusive preserve of men, changed perceptions of the role of women in society.

“The young women who took part in those football teams 100 years ago were as much the pioneers of that change as any political activists or politicians – and they deserve to be celebrated today.”

Zoe Lewis, principal at Middlesbrough College, said: “I’m delighted the College was able to host an event with such historical significance.

“And of course I’m thrilled Teesside was able to get revenge for being beaten 100 years ago!”



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