This is a remarkable tale of two beautiful women who helped to start a social revolution with football!!!
What's not to like?
Deb has been a lifelong fan of Norwich City FC since the age of four. Readers may also know Deb as Madam Jehanne des Armoises my soul twin and other half from previous articles.
I was intrigued by her overwhelming passion for football and Norwich. Like me she has carried the intensity of the last life into this. The Universe even allowed her to enter the physical matrix 10 days before England won the World Cup in 1966. What better entry point for a footballer!
I looked in vain just after we met for a Norwich male footballer circa 1900 to 1930 no luck. Yesterday - Saturday September 27, 2014 - I searched again. This time for a female football player circa 1890.
My subconscious was fired up by Deb wearing a white Norwich City football shirt the day before. I also factored in the preference she has for clothes fitting around her neck eg polo necked jumpers. To me that said 1890 fashion.
Within one hour I had struck gold! A photograph of my Deb in football kit taken by the Daily Sketch in March 1895 on the occasion of the British Ladies Football Club inaugural game played at the Crouch End ground, Nightingale Lane Hornsey, just below Alexandra Palace.
The North Teamhttps://www.ravenecho.com/static/322/f3fa217c472dcfca6303ccd4acfdbb30.jpg
The North Team played in red and white the players tailoring their own kit as none existed for women at the time!
Deb is sat bottom left in a typical position that she still uses now! Same face, build, everything. Even the annoyed expression of having her photograph taken and the only woman wearing a skirt! She hates skirts and dresses alway preferring trousers! Jehanne des Armoises always wore mens clothes in the 1430s.
The South Teamhttps://www.ravenecho.com/static/322/be99ed8fe6009f141a602c1e8a758b40.jpg
The opposition was also drawn from the same club and wore Blue and White.
A full account can be given on this excellent website:http://www.donmouth.co.uk/womens_football/blfc.html
Why Norwich City?
Deb was Ruth Coupland back in 1895. She played Mid Field for the North London Team in total for 3 years.
Nor = North
Wich = a settlement or dwelling. Eg Town
The term "-wich town", derived from the Anglo-Saxon suffix -wÄ«c signifying "a dwelling or fortified place", refers to a settlement in Anglo-Saxon England characterised by extensive artisanal activity and trade â€“ an "emporium" â€“ and supplied from outside the protected community. Such settlements were usually coastal and many have left material traces found during excavation.
So North London = North Town = Nor wich!
Love of Open Necked Shirts
Deb loves open necked Norwich City football shirts! Plus shirts in general. It's all in the collar. Here's why!
Below: Captain Mrs Graham wearing the improved kit they wore as the team developed. Note the similarity with the modern football shirt especially the collar and badge.
Below: Nettie J Honeyball the founder of the British Ladies Football Club in a shirt blouse looking very revolutionary!
Ruth Coupland 1895:
Deb at the same age 1984:
Deb played Women's Football for Kent Ladies and Kent University for 3 years 1984 to 1987 aged 18 to 21.
Being a mathematician Deb pointed out the dates. In 1894 Nettie J Honeyball started her team. 1894 = 1984 same digits!
They played for 3 years until 1897.
1897 = 1987 same digits!
Deb was frustrated at school as she wasn't allowed to play football so seized the opportunity at University. She hasn't played since.
Like Ruth her former self she played Mid field!
Names are Cosmic Signposts
Deb's Mother's middle name is Ruth!
Deborah is a Biblical name as Ruth is.
The look on Deb's face when she told me "my mother's middle name is Ruth," was one of astonishment.
Even more amazing .....
On the same photograph is Deb's best female friend Heidi. In 1895 she was called Ide according to the photographers caption.
Heidi = Ide !!!! I dee!!!!
Heidi has had a lifelong passion for Tottenham Hotspur. As a demonstration of her love for her team she had this added as a statement.
Why so Passionate with a capital P about football and Spurs in particular? The answer goes back to 1895!
-She placed advertisements for like-minded ladies, and succeeded in getting together a group of about 30 playing and 20 non-playing members. They were refused permission to practice at the Oval, but with the assistance of Charles de Lyons Pyke they gained access to the Nightingale Lane enclosure at Hornsey, adjacent to the Alexandra Park racecourse. Their first practice matches here were not entirely successful, and exposed them to a fair amount of ridicule, but with twice-weekly practice and coaching from J.W. Julian, the centre-half of Tottenham Hotspur, their skills and knowledge of the game began to improve. The pitch was laid on heavy clay, and throughout the winter of 1894-95 it was never free from mud, but despite this Nettie Honeyball proudly claimed that she had never known any of the girls shirk practice. Her determination, and powers of persuasion, also resulted in Lady Florence Dixie agreeing to become the President of the club, on condition that "the girls should enter into the spirit of the game with heart and soul."
Plus Tottenham Hotspur would play Crouch End often on the same ground!
In 2003 Deb moved to Broadstairs, Kent from Hadleigh, Essex. Her eldest daughter Jen was 5 and Deb was not happy with the School alotted to her. Then just a few days before term started a place became available as if by magic at her preferred school. On the first day Deb met Heidi in the playground when picking up their respective daughters.
The daughters had also made friends too! So began a partnership and a deep soul bond was renewed.
Deb was then totally amazed to find out that the place had only become available due to Heidi's daughter Izzy's best friend moving to Ireland at the last minute!!!
The universe in action!!! Without a doubt.
The two Soulmates from 1895 back together again!
So here's to this wonderful universe that makes such things possible. Cheers!
Update May 3, 2015
New picture of Ruth Coupland plus confirmation of her name!
Red Team with Names confirming Miss Ruth Coupland, Miss Ide and Miss Fenn.
Magazine photo shoot showing what the women wore on the historic day of the first Womens' Football Match, March 23, 1895.
Detail of Ruth in skirt on the left.
Miss Fenn now Miss Katherine McAuliffe Murphy.
Three Lady Musketeers reunited.