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My place is the pitch: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021

Ellen White has delivered a powerful message which acknowledges the achievements and challenges of women in football as Manchester City celebrates International Women’s Day 2021.

‘My Place is the Pitch’ is a poem written by the Club’s Women’s Football Editor, Caroline Oatway and narrated by White.

The poem focuses on the journey the game has gone on since women’s football was banned by the FA 100 years ago, when it was deemed ‘unsuitable for females'.

You can watch White’s narration in the video above and read the words to the poem below.

My Place is the Pitch

In 1921, you told us: ‘No more.’

‘This is no longer your space.’

‘Women playing football? It’s out of the question.’

‘Come on now, back in your place.’

 

‘Quite unsuitable for females - and not to be encouraged.’

On what grounds? ‘A risk to our health.’

‘Now, do as you’re told. Listen to the experts.’

‘You’re not allowed to think for yourself.’

 

You claim there’s no interest and yet - back then

We’d outshine the men on our day.

50,000-strong crowds, all cheering us on,

*They* all enjoyed watching us play.

 

So, you told us to stop. You closed the gates.

‘Off you go, back to the kitchen.’

But 100 years on and it’s so good to say:

Women’s football is alive and kicking!

 

The English league is now one of the best

Attracting the biggest names of our peers.

And let’s face it, just think where we’d be

If the game hadn’t been banned 50 years.

 

Today, we stand tall, playing the game we all love

With very much the same level of passion.

Carving careers in the sport - across every sector

Yet it still stirs a reaction...

 

We still get the jibes. ‘Do you know the offside rule?’

‘Do you swap shirts? Wear your shorts shorter!’

And I always think, when you’re throwing such insults:

‘What if someone said that to your daughter?’

 

If we make a mistake, it’s used to abuse

Fitting the age-old narrative: ‘we can’t play.’

But when we produce a moment of magic

Suddenly you’ve nothing to say?

 

We’ve spent our whole lives having to prove we belong

Showing we’re equal - or better

Battling for validation, fighting for equality

And yet some still hold a vendetta.

 

Too weak, too small, too fragile...

Too beautiful for the beautiful game.

‘You run like a girl. You kick like a girl.’

Why, yes. Can you do the same?

 

You claim no-one’s interested in watching us play

Well, these figures may shut you up...

80,000 at Wembley, 30,000 at the Etihad...

And the millions who watched the World Cup.

 

So, next time you tell me to get back in my place

For once, I’ll do as you insist

Because my place is where I choose it to be

And my place, as I choose, is the pitch.

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