Pathé News captured highlights from the game on a black and white newsreel film that managed to make the affair look even more outdated than it was. “The ladies set off goal-ward,” said the newsreel announcer. “It was they who made the passes on this occasion.” There were plenty of hijinks for the cameras. Best shoved the ball up his shirt, and fellow All-Star Mike Summerbee donned a ladies’ wig. Best temporarily switched sides and went in goal for Blinkers. The Blinkers players pushed over an All-Star, then picked up the ball, passed it around rugby-style, and threw it into the goal. “It was an entertaining game,” remembers Haraldsted. “It ended in a fun fight in shaving foam, and George played his part.” The final score was 7-2 to Blinkers United. Not much of a showcase for women’s soccer, but there was a bigger victory to come.

In the same month as the Blinkers United match, the English Women’s Football Association (WFA) formed—entirely independent of the men’s FA. Also in November 1969, an “unofficial” England team participated at the first women’s international soccer tournament, the Coppa Europa per Nazioni in Italy. Then, in December, it was reported that the FA was considering rescinding the ban on women’s soccer “if the clubs and officials are willing.” They eventually lifted the ban in July 1971, following pressure from the WFA and European governing body UEFA.

“The formation of the WFA was invaluable,” says Gail Newsham. “That gave women the opportunity to play. As a kid growing up, I was never allowed to play except in the street or the local park. To finally get the chance of playing in a proper match, in a proper team, was a dream come true for a girl who grew up loving football.”

Although the ban was over, Eva Haraldsted never played soccer again. In December 1969, she went back to Denmark for a modeling assignment and was involved in a dreadful car accident. She was riding in the passenger seat of a Volvo Amazon when it collided with a Ford Zephyr. Both vehicles were crushed, and two people were killed. “I only survived because I was wearing a safety belt,” she says.

While Haraldsted recovered in Denmark, Best finished the English soccer season as Manchester United’s top scorer with 23 goals. By the end of the season, he was engaged again, to a Swedish nurse named Siv Hederby. Best, regarded by Pelé as “the greatest footballer in the world,” would go on to play out his career for a number of teams, including the Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and San Jose Earthquakes in the NASL. He died in 2005.

Haraldsted remained in Denmark and started a business designing women’s clothing. She later studied at the Danish Academy of Arts and became an artist. She has good memories of her short time in England. “I look back with happiness,” she says. Her Danish Academy graduate exhibit included 22 different pictures of George Best.

Paul Brown writes about sports history and lives in the north-east of England. His work can be found at