History making women's football club the Manchester Corinthians fight for place in history books

Manchester Corinthians' former players tell ITV Granada the club's history is the missing piece to the history of women's football in this country.

The Manchester Corinthians football club is a pioneer of the women's game that time forgot.

Set up by Percy Ashley in 1949 when women were banned from playing football by the Football Association, the Didsbury-based rebels went on to travel the world becoming unofficial European Champions and playing in front of huge crowds.

Margaret Whitworth played for the Corinthians between 1958 and 1973.

She says: "The best crowd was when we were in South America you're talking 60,000 there. Everyone was screaming and shouting. It was just amazing you can't believe it."

Manchester Corinthians Team Photo Credit: Manchester Corinthians Families

The timeline of women's football in England begins with Preston's famous Dick, Kerr Ladies around the 1920s before jumping 50 years to the 1970s when the FA's ban ended.

But that completely ignores the achievements of the Manchester Corinthians, and this history making team is now fighting for its place in the history books.

Margaret Shepherd was a Corinthian between 1967 and 1972. She was part of the team that travelled to France to play in an unofficial European Cup, which they won beating Juventus 1-0 in the final.

Margaret says: "That gap in between (the 1920s and 1970s) there's nothing and that is when the Corinthians played.

"Not many people know much about the Corinthians and there's so much history that it needs to be told."

Manchester Corinthians return with a trophy after beating Juventus 1-0 in 1970 Credit: Manchester Corinthians Families

A crowd funding page has now been set up to raise £65,000 to complete a film telling the remarkable story story of the Manchester Corinthians.

Helen Tither is the film's director. She believe the club's history is the missing piece in the history of women's football in this country.

Helen says: "They beat Germany, they beat Juventus, they won a trophy in Europe before City or United yet the people of Manchester and everyone else in the country doesn't even know they existed. So we need to put them back into history for girls to celebrate."

"The finished film we want to give to women and girls football clubs all around Greater Manchester to inspire them today."

The Corinthians ended in the 1980s but their legacy lives on. While the club may be gone, the players hope its role in women's football will not be forgotten.