“You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.”
Said no Hackney player ever! In fact, the open-minded attitude of the group of women who came together to form London’s first predominately lesbian team stands in stark contrast to the inflexibility of the Iron Lady, who led the country at the time when Hackney Women’s Football Club was created in 1986. Proof, if it were needed, that Hackney has gone against the grain right from the start (not to mention those stories of Hackney women who have ‘turned’ that are as much a part of the fabric of the club as the red shirts we play in!).
But what has kept the club together for 30 years is something that goes beyond the people to the very ethos of the club itself. Team spirit, solidarity and a fair play policy that Hackney was first to adopt means that while the membership of the club has evolved – it has split and regrouped, reclaimed players and welcomed generations of newbies – the things that haven’t changed are the things that make the club special.
For at the heart of Hackney is more than just the football. It’s about a group of people who look after each other through the good times and the bad, on the pitch and off it. It’s about the nights out, the singing, the club songs, the dancing, the Pride marches, pizza Sundays, Clacton. The stories, the memories, the histories, the relationships, the camaraderie – win or lose…
Words by Caz Ulley (HWFC 2012–2014) taken from our anniversary book ‘Hackney Women’s Football Club – 30 Years and Counting’
Hackney Women’s Football Club – 30 Years and Counting is available to buy for £5 plus postage. For your copy please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.