Stoke City’s “Stokealona” connection with Spain may be nearly 100 years old!
Stoke United, the ladies football team at the time, triumphed over a French side back in 1923 at a tournament in Barcelona.
Now two trophies that were presented to the victorious women nearly a century ago, are to be sold off at auction by Keith Bridgett, grandson to the founder of Stoke United Leonard Bridgett.
Nick Allsop, sporting memorabilia specialist at Peter Wilson Fine Art Auctioneers in Nantwich, said the trophies were of “significant importance to the social history of football in relation to participation by women”.
The brass, twin-handled trophy inscribed “Ano 1923 Cooperativa De Periodistas De Barcelona” could sell between £400 and £600.
And the other antique is believed to have been presented to each player on the winning side and was crafted by Edwin Leadbeater at the Willow Pottery, Longton.
The 14cm (5.5inch) figurine features a female footballer with a ball at her feet and is inscribed with the words “Winner English Cup 1922 International Barcelona 1923” and a print of the Stoke City crest.
It is estimated to sell between £200 and £300.
In 1921, the Football Association banned women from playing in the UK, demanding the sport was “unsuitable for females”.
Teams such as Stoke United were forced to kick a ball on rugby pitches and other areas of grassland and concrete provided for different activities.
Leonard Bridgett, of Forsbrook, Staffordshire, was a player for Burslem Park, Trentham and Stoke Reserves.
He helped reform Stoke City FC in 1908 and was the director of the club for seven years.
In 1923, two years after the FA ban, Stoke United were given a chance to play overseas in Spain, where they beat Les Sportives of Paris.
Later in the month, the team successfully avenged their previous defeats against Preston Ladies. That victory in Colne, Lancashire, is the last recorded outing for Stoke Ladies FC.
The auction in Nantwich is on February 18 and will contain more than 550 lots of fine art, antiques and collectors’ items.
For further information, call the auctioneers on 01270 623878 or email [email protected]