Well Done, Alex! By Dan
When I was asked to pick a name to go on the back of my shirt, I picked Viv Miedema’s. It was my small part of supporting the sport in promoting the strength of the women’s game.
I have also credited Arsenal for using their social media and marketing platforms to teach gooners who a Leah Williamson is, not just as players but as personalities.
The typical girl next door, many young females have a role model to look up too and relate too.
I have written the occasional article promoting equality. So as she’s part of the Arsenal Family, it’s only right that I congratulate Alex Scott’s promotion as the host of BBC Football Focus.
The right back helped England win Bronze at the 2015 World Cup; the tournament often credited for seeing interest in the UK towards Women’s Football booming. In truth though Scott was winding down her career at this point, missing out on many of the perks her peers would enjoy.
The cruel irony was that after 21 honours, the very year she retired, women in England finally were given a professional League to compete in.
7 of those trophies were FA Cups but came before 2018 when competition money was increased to the largest amount in the tournament’s history (still five time less than the men).
As the second most capped player for her country it’s only as recent as 2020 that a FA policy ensures both genders are paid the same amount for representing their nation.
It means the 37-year-old missed out on improved facilities, like playing at the Emirates and more TV exposure (Sky and BBC have paid 8 million to broadcast the WSL next season).
The TV contract has been described as a ‘ watershed’ moment’ with 75 percent being put back into the game, increasing standards such as the refereeing.
That will only improve marketing and licensing deals for both clubs and individuals.
Scott’s salary in her prime wouldn’t have been close to the 20,000 to 200,000 a year wage the current generation take home.
That’s not factoring in the likes of Leah Williams’ extra work modelling for Adidas fetches. Pocket money for the likes of Bellerin but what has allowed Williams to make a healthy living whereas previous generations had to move to America for this to be a full-time job. With endorsement deals, the 22-year old’s net worth is said to be anywhere between 500,000 up 1.5 million which will only grow thanks to exposure on Arsenal TV/Shop and Sky.
Not that Alex Scott hasn’t been recognised for her services to football, appointed an MBE in 2017. After paving the way for those who followed her, the full back has become a trail blazer for females in Football media.
Her CV reads that she’s the first women to work for the BBC at a World Cup and the first ever female pundit for Sky Sports.
Replacing Dan Walker on Football Focus continues that trend, with all previous anchors in the shows 47 year life span being male.
Not that Scott has ever felt comfortable being celebrated based on her gender. First and foremost she wants to be seen as good at her job.
Networks have spent the past couple of years basing their recruitment on ticking diversity boxes. They won’t admit that publicly, yet It was so transparent that it’s hard to ignore.
Also it’s a sad reflection that massive corporations are patting themselves on the back for doing something that by now should just happen …. Hire someone no matter their race, religion, age, etc. That should have been a given, not an action plan.
Alex Scott was smart enough to forecast the backlash.
Where others have landed a job based purely on being an ex-professional, she had long perfected her craft. She earnt a degree in Sports Journalism and Broadcasting and undertook work experience on Arsenal Fan TV and London Live.
I will be honest; individuals have been hired based on companies being criticised for not being diverse enough.
Having watched and listened to Alex Scott I can truly say she’s where she is because she’s one of the best at what she does. When I look or listen at her, I don’t see race or gender. I see or hear someone with an insight, well researched, who loves the Gunners but not afraid to say when the club are doing things wrong. In 2021 isn’t that how it should be?
Unfortunately, she’s gone on record countless times saying that on social media abuse is constant. Some sexist, some racial.
That’s why she recognises it’s important that young girls can see her on TV and have hope. That you don’t have to listen to morons, be whatever you want to be.
If that’s a consequence of her being part of Football Focus and Super Sunday, then that’s a bonus. Yet she will protest it’s not The reason. She’s where she is due to hard work, personality and talent.
She will be old enough to remember John Barnes being booed at Wembley and/or picking up a banana peel thrown at him. With images like that, it’s clear why a 10 year old Alex Scott ‘thought someone like me could never be presenting a programme like Football Focus.’
Her goal was to ‘ transcend from being labelled a ‘female pundit’ to just being a ‘pundit’.
Statements surrounding my gender or race. ‘I want people to see me on TV and think she’s great at what she does.’
There are some who will always see colour and sex.
Will I one day see Alex Scott ‘great at what she does?’
No ………because I already do!
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