Mrs Graham's XI
Mrs Graham's XI was a women's football team formed by Helen Matthews in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1881. It is considered the first British women's football team and a pioneering team in the history of the sport. Because it was not safe for women to play football without harassment, the players used pseudonyms to protect their identities. Matthews, also a goalkeeper for the team, claimed to be "Mrs Graham".
Just over a week later, on 20 May 1881, the teams played in Glasgow in front of 5,000 spectators. The match was abandoned in the 55th minute after a violent pitch invasion during which the women were "roughly jostled", and chased by a mob as they left the grounds. Further games resulted in similar pitch invasions, which soon resulting in ending this early attempt to introduce women's football.
The press coverage, which would dominate coverage of women's football for the next century, was clearly established in 1881: barely disguised contempt regarding player appearance, including costume, and the standard of play, overlaid with a certainty that football was a rough man's game unsuitable for women.
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