Alice May Williams

Mabley Green (This Ground Is All We Have) (2021)

All we have is this ground.
There is absolutely no movement whatsoever.

Indefinitely postponed, post prone we wait
At the edges of our understanding
Feel a sense of complete evacuation
A war against what until when

Unprecedented, the men said and so
Our precedents threaten to show themselves.

The game is about to begin.
With no urgency whatsoever, here comes….
Never has so little been done
By so many for so long
We go again, inside’s outside’s in
This together alone we are all
Boxfresh bodies work with breathless intention
Choose between lose, lose we move
We push with all our might.

Get It Done! War’s yet won
It’s simply one rule for all
And yet another set for some

We called out foul play but
No heads rolled, absolutely nothing happened.

So it is what it is
And We Do What We Can
Get It Done, he said, won!
It will come, come for some.
And we’ll meet again against gates

The Goalposts shifted a century ago
When men reclaimed ground, we found
The most immeasurable strength, play on
We push with all our might
Against the crawl back to normal
Hold onto our marginal gains, again

Unprecedented the men said and so
Our precedents begin to show themselves.


Beneath our feet a factory floor
Metal stays dig at tender ribs
Lines mark the gaps between machines
Where bodies work in seamless motion

We make missiles, projectiles for flight
Screw the breech ring sweep swarf
We find the most immeasurable strength
Until calls come women return home
But it is what it is,
And we do what we can
Chalk it up, we go again
Our fires still silently smoulder below.


This ground is all we have
A century after the match began.
With no urgency whatsoever, we wait
The first handshake in a year
A fully legal touch. Touch. touch!
Stay as still as humanly possible
We push with all our might

A day’s so much longer now
Than it was a year ago
An action repeated, over and over
Could be madness or paid employment

We drop we roll we scroll
Produce nothing yet still, we move
Never has so little been done….
Our precedents begin to show themselves
A century after the match began
The slate is wiped completely clean
We go again, up against gates

Meet me in paris she said
Imagine you are anywhere…… You Are.

A flock of scooters glide by
Young men in unison, eyes right
Unprecedented spectacle, the circus, the sight
A group of women with impeccable
Touch. Down here we’ll meet again
Descend the steps a silent disco
Glittering glow worms dancing at dusk
In groups of three spaced out
In Common ground we find
The fires still silently smoulder below
A century after the match began
This ground is all we have.

About this work

The site of Mabley Green was home to the National Projectile Factory during World War One. The women workers of Mabley Green formed their own ‘Munitionettes’ football team to compete against other factories. Threatened by the game’s popularity, in 1921 the FA banned women’s football on its grounds. The ban stayed in place until 1971. After the war, the factory was demolished and this piece of common land became a public recreation ground. In recent years, Mabley Green has again become a popular site for women’s football.

All works published, presented or shown by HOAX remain the copyright and property of their respective artists. They may not be shared online without credit to the artist, and may not be reproduced elsewhere without the artist's explicit permission.

Sign up to the HOAX e-newsletter to receive news, events, opportunities and each online work as it is published: