"We'll be back in 2022" vows disappointed organiser of cancelled Dick, Kerr Ladies Cup

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Gail Newsham's goal was to welcome 28 ladies football teams to Preston this week for a national tournament. But it was over before it began.

A popular national football tournament designed to celebrate the memory of Preston s world champion Dick, Kerr Ladies football team has had to be cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

But organiser Gail Newsham has vowed it will go ahead next year, Covid restrictions permitting.

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The Dick, Kerr Ladies Cup, a six-a-side women's walking football tournament for the over 40s and 50s, was meant to have taken place at the UCLan Sports Arena on Tom Benson Way last Sunday (June 27).

Gail Newsham has peldged the Dick,Kerr Ladies Cup will return in 2022Gail Newsham has peldged the Dick,Kerr Ladies Cup will return in 2022
Gail Newsham has peldged the Dick,Kerr Ladies Cup will return in 2022

But when news broke about a new variant of Covid and cases rose it was decided to cancel this year's Cup.

Gail, official archivist of the Dick,Kerr Ladies and author of two books about the famous pioneering team, said: "We've postponed it until next year and will just have to wait and see what the future has in store. It's all very disappointing."

She said the Cup event helps to keep the Dick, Kerr Ladies name alive and reminds people of the historic team's achievements. It is also a chance for older women to play football.

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Gail continued: "The Cup is an opportunity to play football again or for the first time. It was our biggest ever entry with 27 teams coming from all over the country from Newcastle to Surrey, Birmingham, Sheffield, everywhere."

She continued: "They've all got their places for next year so they'll get the first dibs."

The Cup was established in 2017 to mark the centenary of the Dick, Kerr Ladies. It was played in 2018 and 2019 but had to be postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gaynor said: "It's really well established and highly thought of. People think it's one of the best in the country now and that is reflected in the number of people wanting to come."

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Gail and the many Dick, Kerr fans are now waiting to see if a planned celebration dinner can go ahead in December. It too had been planned for 2020 to mark the centenary of the Boxing Day Match at Goodison when the Dick, Kerr Ladies played in front of a crowd of 53,000,

Gail said: "It was going to be a first of its kind women's football grand reunion. It was just incredible the people who wanted to come - people we had not seen in some cases for 40 years or more."

The postponed event which Gail hopes will be held at at PNE (Preston North End) in December, will instead have a new anniversary to mark - 100 years since the FA banned women's football. Gail said: " It's (now) going to be a celebration night - we'll be celebrating how far we've come."

* Gail, who describes the Dick, Kerr Laadies team from the local munitions factory as "one of the most important teams in the history of football" is currently updating her history of the team entitled In A League of Their Own! This year saw the publication of her new book for children entitled Dick, Kerr Ladies Football's Forgotten Legends with illlustrations by Thy Bui, published by UCLan Publishing.

For more about Gail's book for children see here .

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