1921 Stoke Ladies & the first Barcelona link!

The current Stoke City Ladies setup started in 2001 but did you know that a Stoke Ladies football team existed dating back to just after the First World War? The first England v Scotland Ladies game took place in 1881 and in 1894 the British Ladies' Football Club was formed. Based largely around Northern towns, the game became increasingly popular and spectator attendances often reached the dizzy heights that some mens teams average in the Championship! Stoke Ladies FC The founder of Stoke Ladies FC was a local businessman and entrepreneur, Leonard Bridgett. He was born in 1878 at Forsbrook in Staffordshire. His father Edwin was a stone mason, and his mother Annie ran a grocer's shop. His younger brother George Arthur, gained 11 caps for England. As a successful local businessman he participated in a variety of civic activities; he helped to reform Stoke City FC in 1908, and was a director for 7 years. In early 1921 the following photograph appeared in the Stoke Weekly Sentinel with the caption "Len Bridgett's team, Hanford Ladies." Also in 1921 the famous Dick, Kerr Ladies of Preston paid a visit to Stoke was played in front of 13,000 spectators at the Old Recreation Ground in Hanley. In 1922 Stoke Ladies won the inaugral ELFA Cup and still retain it as it was never fought for again as women were forced to refrain from playing the sport! In September 1923 Bridgett arranged for Stoke Ladies to visit Barcelona to play two games against Les Sportives of Paris, Stoke won both games winning the International Cup. For the Full story see the fascinating research done by Patrick Brennan