A Woman’s Game

The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Women’s Football

Suzanne Wrack

April 2021 Proposal in English Original publisher: Faber UKHistory, Sports

The first generalist book about women’s soccer to be written –  a vital, agenda-changing book – a history of the game, and a manifesto, rolled into one.

Over its 100-year history, women’s football has been the embodiment of women’s fight for equality – from its rise in the ashes of World War One in Britain, to its near-worldwide banning, to its current popularity today. In recent years, the cries for equal pay come as the sport fights to free itself from an inherently sexist society – to quote from the German women’s soccer team before the World Cup last summer, ‘we may not have balls, but we know how to use them.’

A Woman’s Game is the first book of its kind to engage critically with the sport’s general history – and not to focus on merely on individual players, teams or events.  This is a book that is sure to spark conversations and aplomb across the media.

Women’s football is a rising global force – the Women’s World Cup in France last Summer had over 200 broadcasting partners and attracted nearly a million fans in attendance. But with all the positives, there are negatives too – those questions about attendances, of FIFA’s occasionally bungling attempts to organise and promote the game, of good-old-fashioned sexism. A Woman’s Game explores the history of women’s football , from its first appearance in England in the late 1800s through the incredible Dick, Kerr Ladies and its height of 53,000 cramming into Goodison Park in Liverpool in 1920, to it’s 50 year ban in the UK and the aftershocks when that ban was lifted.

It showcases a rich tapestry of players and stories, unknown to many: astonishingly talented individuals; teams from around the world competing against institutions dead set against their very existence; and how, in spite of every challenge thrown in front of players and the sport, it seems now to be thriving while dancing on a cliff edge.

In the modern era, Suzanne Wrack looks at the drive, too, to make the women’s game a mirror of the men’s. But do we really want it to be? Here is the opportunity for it to be something better. In A Woman’s Game, she will chart the rise and fall and rise again of women’s football to its current heights, its relationship to the fight against oppression, and just what the point of the game actually is; what we want from it, what it can inspire and how we can get it there. This is a history of the game, as played by women, yes. But it is also, at heart, a manifesto for a better sport.