Lily Parr & The Dick Kerr Ladies

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 t’was no-one quite like Lily Parr
up North in rugby land
when footie was a cissie game
but fans still crammed the stand
and crowds of fifty thousand
were more than common-place
they came in curiosity
but not to see her face

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 they flocked in awe to wonder at
young women in the war
and cries of “get ’em off love”
rang loud when they did score
for back in nineteen seventeen
they’d come from near and far
to see the Dick Kerr Ladies team
led by young Lily Parr

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 no softy touch nor bit of stuff
a Woodbine on her lips
exceptional left footed skill
deceptive swerving hips
nine hundred goals in all she scored
for England and the girls
St Helen’s born she learned her trade
and stunned the football world

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 those Sundays when the pubs turned out
on streets and fields of stone
against those sturdy drunken lads
our Lily held her own
and in munitions factories
with pride they’d speak her name
an England captain well deserved
and icon for the game

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 and fans recall a moment when
they waited patiently
a cow-pat by the corner flag
caused much hilarity
but Lily took it in her stride
and in her face that day
of all who filled that Dick Kerr side
young Lily led the way

6 Leave a comment on verse 6 0 they flocked in awe to wonder then
so many years ago
to keep alive the game they loved
whilst war was raging so
for back in nineteen seventeen
they’d come from near and far
to see the Dick Kerr Ladies team
led by young Lily Parr



Lilian “Lily” Parr (26 April 1905 – 24 May 1978) was an English professional women’s association football player who played as a winger. She is best known for playing for the Dick, Kerr’s Ladies team, which was founded in 1917 and based in Preston, Lancashire. In 2002, she was the only woman to be made an inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum.

About the poem:
Written in rough format while on holiday last summer and finally completed recently.This on the eve of the Women’s World Cup 2005. Is there another Lily Parr out there? I originally found out about Lily , ,listening to the author of a book talk about her amazing life on Woman’s Hour. one of my favourite programmes..

About Lily’s Playin g Style
At almost six feet tall, Parr’s strength was said to be one of her greatest assets. She was particularly noted for the power of her kicking, both in delivering from the left flank and shooting at goal. Team mate Joan Whalley later wrote: “She had a kick like a mule. She was the only person I knew who could lift a dead ball, the old heavy leather ball, from the left wing over to me on the right and nearly knock me out with the force of the shot…”
The programme from a September 1923 fixture between Dick, Kerr’s Ladies and Stoke described Parr as “Big, fast and powerful, is tricky and can take corner kicks better than most men.” It also noted that Parr “scores goals from extraordinary angles with a left foot cross drive, which nearly breaks the net.”
Aggression was another feature of Parr’s play. During Dick, Kerr’s Ladies’ 1922 tour to the USA, the Washington Post reported that “Miss Lily Parr, at outside left, put up an aggressive game registering two goals in seven tries she had at the net”[following a 4–4 draw with Washington’s top male club. In April 1921 Parr and Hilda Durbar of Stoke United were sent off for fighting in Dick, Kerr Ladies’ fractious 2–0 win before 13,000 fans at The Old Recreation Ground.] Parr was also praised for her overall technique and vision. Contemporary Scotland international footballer Bobby Walker described her as the “best natural timer of a football I have ever seen.”

About Dick, Kerr Ladies 1921
When Englishmen went off to fight World War I in 1914, women were thrown into traditional male roles at home, at work and on the sports field. Nowhere was this gender shift more apparent than at a Preston factory owned by two Scots, WB Dick and John Kerr, where tramway and railway equipment was made, as Ben Lyttleton discovered.

By 1917, women had taken over the once male-dominated factory and were routinely hauling heavy loads and operating dangerous machinery: so it was no surprise when they challenged the men to an inter-factory football match. The women loved the game and decided to set up Dick, Kerr Ladies – the team played matches to raise money for war charities devoted to ex-servicemen and made £600 in their first game on Christmas Day, 1917. Within three years, over 53,000 fans were watching them play St Helen’s Ladies at Goodison Park. The company realised how popular the women’s game was and ploughed money into the team in return for generating publicity.

Dick, Kerr Ladies played abroad as well, and enjoyed successful trips to France and Holland, where they were greeted like superstars. Leicester University-based academic Alethea Melling, whose work includes theses on women’s football in 1921, the Dick, Kerr Ladies tour of North America in 1922, and international women’s football from 1920-1945, explained: “The team were the first blend of marketing and football.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/lily-parr-the-dick-kerr-ladies/