Football’s coming home to Deal!

Published: 29 June 2023

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The Arthur Henry Hobbs women’s football tournament will be held in Deal this July for players under 16 to compete for silverware.

Ahead of the England team taking part in the FIFA Women's World Cup™, the event will celebrate local talent and pay tribute to Arthur, a local man who championed women’s football after it was banned by the Football Association in 1921.

He challenged the notion that only men were able to play the ‘beautiful game’, defying the rules in 1967 by setting up a competitive tournament in the town with eight teams.

By 1969 52 teams took part. He went on to form the Ladies Football Association of Great Britain and by 1972 the FA lifted the ban.

Deal Town Council and Deal Town Rangers have teamed up to organize the tournament this summer to celebrate women’s football and Arthur’s fight to tackle inequality.

Arthur’s daughter Jill Martin lives in Deal. She said: “My dad loved sport and I wish he was here to see women’s football today. Look what’s been achieved.

“The standard is incredible, such athletes with such a passion for the game and it’s captured the nation’s hearts. I still find it hard to believe that it was illegal for women to play right up to the 1970s but Dad changed all that and changed it here in Deal.

“Sport is so important to everyone, not just the physical side, but the social impact and it builds your confidence too, gives you skills that you can carry though all parts of your life. My dad knew the importance and was angered by the inequality so he fought and fought . He was fearless and I am so proud of him for that.

“He would have really enjoyed seeing the Lionesses and to see our tournament here in the summer. I feel so proud of him and so proud of Deal too.”

The Arthur Henry Hobbs tournament will be held Saturday 8 July at the Goodwin Academy, Hamilton Road, Deal, CT14 9BD, and there will also be an exhibition on the history of women’s football. 

Session one: Saturday 8 July 9am - 1.30pm

Session two: Arthur Henry Hobbs Memorial Cup Saturday 8 July 1.30pm - 6.10pm

Session three: Sunday 9 July 9am - 1.30pm 

Note to editors: For additional information including interview requests, please contact Nadine Miller at or call 07388 059833