Katy Sandalls: In search of the Tractor Girls from 1995 - can you help?
- Credit: RICHARD SNASDELL
Katy Sandalls digs deep into the past of women’s football this month – and hopes to track down players from Ipswich Town’s 1995 Tractor Girls side.
Baggy shirts and even baggier shorts; that's how women's football was back in the day.
It's a stereotype that has longer hung around the sport longer than is necessary; today women's clubs have kit made for them and in the case of England even designed specially for them.
However, it was those bygone days that inspired me this week when in the office we found picture's of Ipswich Town's women's team from 1995.
With sky blue shirts and socks they looked nothing like their male counterparts but there they were smiling with their impeccably nineties haircuts.
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Looking a little deeper our visual unit found other pictures from that same team nearly 25 years ago, out on the pitch and playing.
The nostalgia value of such photos is rather great but it got me wondering what would they make of their counterparts today?
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Would they be able to identify with the players? With the ideals? Or even with women's football itself?
The game has changed so much in the past five years let alone 25, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't.
That idea of identity is something women's football struggles with more generally.
Clubs like Arsenal have a long and proud history to look back on that dates back to 1987.
Just over 30 years, you say, but that's no time at all. My friend, that's an age in a game that was banned for 50 years.
Relatively speaking it means that Arsenal have a pretty strong club identity, rather than say a team like Manchester City who have their modern origins and success in more recent times.
Some club identities are in even more of a state of flux; just look at London City Lionesses who this time last season were Millwall.
A different name, a different identity and potentially different support.
They have no legacy to fall back on for nostalgia should times get tough nor do they have an established identity for new fans to get into.
There's also teams like CD Tacon to consider.
Tacon are a top tier Spanish women's side who have become well known in recent months because they are set to be absorbed by one of the worlds biggest clubs, Real Madrid.
It's been heralded by many as an important step in European football.
But Tacon are still facing a crisis of identity in many ways, perhaps face the opposite problem to London City Lionesses, how far should they be embracing their new identity, do they take on the glory days of Real or remember their own?
Do they take on their derbies and other rivalries?
What happens to the CD Tacon legacy and do former players identify with Tacon or Real?
Tough questions with few satisfying answers.
Hence my intrigue with the Town team. While the club's name hasn't changed it has become a more professional side over the years.
For one the team has its own properly fitting kit, in a club colour and with their own sponsor on the front of it.
The curiosity in me remains, however, as to what those former players think and where they are now.
So that's why I need your help this month.
Were you a member of the team pictured in our archive photos? Were you playing for Ipswich Town Women in the past?
Then please get in touch I would love to hear from you.
It would be great to find out what you make of women's football now compared to when you were playing in the not too distant past.
Please get in touch!
On a completely different note a big thanks to all of you who have already checked out one of my new projects, the Glancing Header podcast!
Kings of Anglia's Ross Halls and Tractor Girls on Tour's Tom Whitby will be joining me each month to discuss all things women's football. We will be looking at the FAWSL and FAWC and FAWNL leagues as well as the Lionesses and Suffolk leagues.
If you haven't given the podcast a listen then please check us out on Audioboom, Spotify, iTunes or pretty much anywhere you might find a podcast. We'll be there!
As ever if you have any women's football news to share then please do get in touch. You can email email@example.com or you can get in touch with Glancing Header on Twitter or Instagram. We really do value all of the support we have received so far with the Glancing Header project.
Until next month, get out there and enjoy some fantastic women's football!