The idea of a football open to all many times collide with the persisting narrative of a male-only atmosphere and a male-only sport. For decades, women, if present, were made invisible.

Luckily, in some countries the situation is changing. England is one example. The University of Birmingham and the Manchester United Museum are at the centre of a new research project led by award-winning historian Dr Michala Hulme.

FOUR DECADES The aim of the project is to capture their stories of that period and highlight the experiences many female fans had while attended football matches at Old Trafford from 1960 to 2000. The joint project will seek to record the oral histories of female fans. The recordings will be kept in the archives at the Manchester United Museum and be used for exhibitions and in house publications including the website and for research

“In the past, football was traditionally seen as a man’s game, but we know female fans used to go through the turnstiles well before the modern game of the Premier League era, and quite often their narratives have been overlooked in the history of football. This research project in conjunction with the Manchester United Museum will give a voice to those fans whose narratives are missing from the broader history,” says Hulme, a lifelong Manchester United fan and a popular TV personality

Ranked among the world’s leading universities, the University of Birmingham collaborates with partners across the world to produce ground-breaking research and deliver innovative teaching. Using sport as a vehicle to make these women visible is not just beautiful, but necessary. The investigation will try to offer a wider and more realistic perspective of the last four decades of the last century.

FOOTBALL AS CULTURE “There are many female football fans who were at Old Trafford during the days of Sir Matt Busby, the dark days of the seventies when the club was relegated, the revival under Ron Atkinson and emergence of Manchester United as a global football power under Sir Alex Ferguson. This research project wants to hear from those female football fans who all have interesting stories and narratives through their own stories which we need to collate and cherish,” adds Hulme, who can be contacted via email by female Manchester United fans.

As AIPS always emphasises in every programme, sport is culture and understanding the history of sport is vital to face the challenges of the present and the future.

Source: Martin Mazur| AIPS Media


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