Holbeck Moor FC’s first birthday

On a warm Wednesday evening on Holbeck Moor who would have guessed that this inner city park would be so busy with families spending time in the park; friends sitting and chatting plus football practice.

Celebrating their first anniversary were Holbeck Moor FC. They started with financial support from The National Lottery, Square Ball and Hey Neighbour.

The teams meet weekly offering free football training to help break down barriers to enable access to sport for the local community.

Claire, Ewan & Mark are volunteer football coaches ensuring everyone achieve their goals whilst having fun at this grassroots level.

Over 50% of the women’s team had never having kicked a ball before starting. Mums, single women be they local, asylum seekers and refugees unite to play football.

At the start the women expressed concerns about their mental health issues now with regular participation they feel supported and have gained new friendships.

Wednesday night training includes warm up, football skills training and cool down.

One inspirational lady, Wan, encourages ladies to come and give it a go. As an Asylum seeker awaiting for her right to remain, she is making new memories. Every day is a struggle on the Home Office allowance by taking part in the event she has one hour for herself. She is being supported with her passion for maternal mental health having the opportunity to present at a midwifery conference regarding the effects of sport on maternal mental health.

Ladies if you fancy having a go please turn up Wednesday 6.30pm on Holbeck Moor.

The mens team (18 and over) speak the universal language of football. Many who train have English has their second language. Like with the women’s team some men are seeking asylum or refugees.

The community (team) spirit was easy to see during their practice session.

Everyone is welcome no matter on ability. Turn up and have some fun.

Men if you want to give it a go turn up 6.30pm Holbeck Moor.

If you feel you would like to chat before the next training session please contact holbeckmoorfc@slunglow.org Or phone Matt: 07305 155698

The club has been so successful that they have now started sessions for Juniors from 4-16 years at Ingram Road Primary School. Joining the club free

Watch out for more news about the Juniors coming soon.


This post was written by Jean Hollings

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3 Replies to “Holbeck Moor FC’s first birthday”

  1. Ladies, ladies, its always bugged me, no, more than that, its always annoyed me that women footballers are so often referred to as ladies.

    The delicate, fairer sex, it evokes images of the Victorian game played in long dresses to preserve a players decency. It’s like people are scared of using the word ‘woman’ sometimes, another alternative that I fear is creeping into the lexicon is to refer to the ‘female’ game: which for me seems more like a scientific label rather than human description.

    How often would one refer to male or gentlemen players?

    The move by the last few WSL teams to change their club name from Ladies to Women came around the 2018/19 season with Everton being the last team to do so. That trend to replace outdated language is important to maintain if we are to keep gender equality on the agenda.

    I’ve played football ever since I was a kid, I was lucky that my school was supportive of the girls game and that there was a local club which encouraged girls to play and move into the women’s game. For many women of my generation that was simply not on offer

    Over the years I’ve heard friends and team mates recount experiences of a childhood where they had to stop playing at 12, the arbitrary age after which the FA imposed a ban on girls playing with boys…. if you didn’t have a girls team in your area, you simply couldn’t play. A rule which has now been changed to allow mixed football up to the age of 18, allowing division more on ability rather than gender.

    The evolution and progress of the women’s game seems inextricably linked to the rules imposed by a male dominated FA. Most people know that the FA banned women’s football in 1921, many suggest because of the rising popularity of the game during WW1 which threatened the men’s game on their return from the front. But do you know what year the FA lifted the ban? It wasn’t until 1971, 50 years later. 50 years of girls having no formal structure to start to play the game in. No wonder when I was playing as a kid in the late 80s early 90s the game was behind the boys game. It takes generations to repair that damage.

    Women’s football has triumphed over adversity throughout the years, a battle for equality that many feel is all but won in this country. But in the same way that the ban on the women’s game took time to repair, one must also remember the barriers that governing bodies have imposed on some women. It was only in 2014 that FIFA lifted a ban on head scarves being worn: a rule that virtually excluded Muslim woman from the elite levels of the game (and therefore removing any role models encouraging girls to take up the game).

    The level of respect and seriousness that countries give their women’s team varies, that’s evident in the women’s Euro finals currently taking place in England. We are still in a situation where amateurs are playing professionals, the Northern Ireland teams comprises of teachers, nurses and retail managers playing against full-time professional footballers. I’m all for an interesting competition where you can support the underdogs, but this is international, European football not the preliminary rounds of the FA cup. I think the way a country treats its women football team is often a good refection of how equal it views it citizens. I don’t think we are doing too bad in England, but lets not rest on our laurels.

    It was Dick Kerr’s Ladies but its certainly Man City Women, I think there are two circumstances when ‘Ladies’ should be used to refer to women footballers, firstly if you refer to the men’s team as ‘Gentleman’ or secondly if the majority of your squad come from the landed gentry, neither of which applies to any teams in Holbeck, well, at least I don’t think it does. 😉

    Claire Graham,
    Coach, Holbeck Moor FC

  2. I work with many mums seeking Sanctuary who have joined this football team and l am delighted to see the positive effect it has had on their mental health. It has helped build a sense of community and enabled mums who were lonely and isolated make friends have fun and get fit.The providing of kits, childcare and travel is huge. I think Holbeck Moor FC should be very proud of themselves and l suggest they become a Football Club of Sanctuary. That is one that is proud to welcome and include people seeking Sanctuary. You can apply for a Sanctuary Award and l am happy to support you to get this through Leeds City of Sanctuary.

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