The Munitionettes Vintage 1917-18

WW1While the advent of ladies football in Britain can be traced right back to the 1870s, it was only towards the end of the First World War that it became an accepted and popular alternative to the male game. This was through necessity as much as choice. With millions of British men abroad fighting on the Western Front, women took traditional male roles in both the workplace and increasingly in leisure. By 1917 there were 900,000 women working in factories directly supporting the war effort.

The work that the Munitionettes did was repetitive and dangerous, so factory welfare officers encouraged ladies teams to be created to aid health and wellbeing. Teams sprang up the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and the most famous of them all was Dick, Kerr’s Ladies. Resplendent in their trademark bubble hats, this Preston based side drew large crowds and played charity fixtures up and down the country raising money for injured servicemen during and after the war.

Another famous side was Blyth Spartans from the north-east who were taught to play by naval ratings on a local beach and remained unbeaten during their two-year existence. The team won the first Munitionettes Cup held in 1918, beating Bolckow-Vaughan of Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park in the Final in front of a crowd of 22,000. Blyth’s star centre-forward was Bella Raey, the daughter of a local coal miner, who scored a hat-trick in the Final, 133 goals in one season, and even went on to play for England.

At the end of the First World War most women lost their jobs in the munitions factories but retained their interest in playing. Some works teams reformed as civilian sides and others, like Dick, Kerr’s retained the support of their employers. Crowds of more than 50,000 would turn out to watch games until the FA banned women’s football from being played at the grounds of its member clubs in 1921, ostensibly to protect the male game.

As part of out WW1 series this Vintage post collects up team shots of some of the most notable ladies Munitionettes team of the era. Do also visit which is a wonderful online resource for women’s football.

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Southampton Vintage 1958-63

EnglandThis first of three Southampton Vintage posts features images of some of the club’s top players from the late 50s and early 60s.

Southampton had tried in vain for many years to gain a first promotion to the top flight of the English League, but when we join them in 1958 they’re languishing down in Division 3 South. The goals of Derek Reeves fired them back into Division 2 in 1960 and as a second tier club Southampton would come within 90 minutes of Wembley in 1963. Their FA Cup dreams were ended that year in a packed semi-final at Villa Park by Manchester United.


Stars Of BTLM – Just Fontaine

Stars of BTLM is another of our new regular features with each edition reappraising the career of one this blog’s favourite 20th century footballers. There’s some basic criteria that will underpin our choice of featured players as we try to focus on those whom we believe have not been as well served by history as they should have been. The reasons such players are underrated can be diverse: some had injury blighted careers, some played for the wrong club or the wrong manager at the wrong time and some have just been swept into a dark corner of football history through simple bad luck. Stars Of BLTM is our own modest attempt to recalibrate reputations to match the talents of our featured players.

Just Fontaine

It’s probably contentious to make a case that a man who remains to this day the fourth-highest scorer in World Cup Finals history can ever be underrated. But therein lies the problem. Fontaine’s career is almost exclusively defined by those 13 goals he scored in just 7 games during the 1958 World Cup. While his career was tragically cut short through injury, focusing solely on his exploits over a 3 week period in June 1958 does great disservice to a prolific striker who was one of the most complete centre forwards of his age. Continue reading

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West Germany Vintage 1951-66

GermanyThis is probably an apt Vintage post this week. This first eclectic collection of West German retro images featuring some of the country’s outstanding footballers of the era, often in the sort of context you’ll never have seen them in before!

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FKS World Cup 1978 Soccer Stamps

Our final FKS stamp collection takes us to the competing nations and players at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. You might notice something of an anomaly with this particular collection. There are a number of nations, England being the most prominent, who feature here but were nowhere to be seen in the Argentine as ‘they didnae qualify’ (c/o Ally’s Tartan Army by Andy Cameron). Fellow home nation non-participants Wales and Northern Ireland are here too and their inclusion appears to be shameless pandering to the UK market, comfortably FKS’s biggest.

Thanks again to Stuart Clapham for his collaboration on these posts.

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FKS World Cup 1970 Soccer Stamps

Another set of FKS Soccer Stamps for you today, this post featuring the full set from the 1970 World Cup. We’ve gone to town with stickers and stamps these past few weeks on BTLM, but these old albums are too great not to share and we wanted publish them while this World Cup tournament is ongoing. I’m sure we’ll have had our fill of all things World Cup come next week.

As ever, click any of the images to open the gallery in full-screen.



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FKS World Cup 1966 Soccer Stamps

We’ve been reproducing some of the old Panini World Cup albums here on BTLM recently and if you’re a fan of such things, stick with us – you’ll enjoy this week’s postings. Thanks to the help of one of our followers, Stuart Clapham, we’ll be publishing the Official FKS albums for the 1966, 1970 and 1978 World Cup tournaments too.

And what is FKS I hear you asking. Well, FKS Publishing was a London-based rival for Panini who produced domestic and international stamp albums between the mid-60s and early 80s – with notably lower production values.  Note the use of stamps here as these were the days before self-adhesive stickers became the norm, so the stamps had to be glued into the album.

Today’s collection covers the 1966 World Cup; just click on any of the images to open the gallery. Do also check out Stuart’s new football group on Facebook too.

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