You do not have to be a fan of women’s football to have heard the name, Alex Scott. The former Arsenal and England defender has made waves in raising awareness of women’s football and is vocal in advocating that women have a place in sport.
Alex Scott has proved time and time again that she will get back up after a knockback. From a young age, her determined nature has seen her work through hardships and adversity in order to fulfil her ambitions. On the pitch, Scott enjoyed an illustrious career for both club and country. A fast paced, quick thinking, pressing fullback, Scott was very much a player you wanted working with you, rather than against. A gunner through and through, Scott enjoyed three separate spells with Arsenal across her sixteen-year senior career. Always returning to her roots, Scott helped Arsenal collect a wealth of silverware, including seven FA Cups and eight league titles.
Much like her club feats, Scott’s international record is just as noteworthy as her domestic one. Having represented England on numerous occasions, as it stands, Scott is one of only four players to have worn the three lions 140 times or more. Scott was a part of the Lionesses squad that placed second in the 2009 Euro’s, as well as the team that took home the bronze medal at the 2015 World Cup. Legacy cemented; Scott has certainly set the bar high. A tough act to follow for England’s future right backs.
Yet Scott’s mark is stamped far beyond the confines of a football pitch. In recent times, Scott has become somewhat of a familiar figure on our screens. Her recent stint on Strictly Come Dancing, as well as her guest presenter spots on popular shows such as The One Show, have seen Scott become a household name. But underneath those nifty dance moves and natural hosting skills, Scott is constantly raising the profile of the women’s game. In fact, simply by participating, she has opened the door to a whole new audience.
With an easy-going friendly manner, and a first-hand experience of the game, Scott’s media presence is no accident. Taking the bull by the horns straight out of retirement, Scott made history as the first female pundit to appear regularly on Sky Sports, and to cover a major football tournament on the BBC. Unfortunately, these achievements did not come without their ups and downs. Scott often speaks about the abusive and sexist comments she receives online. But, luckily for us, the resilience Scott demonstrated on the pitch has remained, and she continues to propel the women’s game into the limelight.
Regarding this step into the mainstream, in an interview with Hello! Magazine, Scott rightly commented, “it shows how far the women’s game has come”. Yet she is modest in her own efforts toward this. It is fair to say that Scott, herself, has had a pretty big hand in bringing the sport to the forefront of people’s minds over the last couple of years. Other projects aside, women’s football very much remains at the heart of Scott’s media career. Her passion is there in every interview, in every punditry broadcast, and was certainly seen with every goal the Lionesses scored in last year’s World Cup.
It is this down to earth, honest nature that makes Scott so easy to watch. Scott’s likeability has justly gathered her a large fan base, and it is clear that the appreciation her supporters have for her, is reciprocated. Over this lockdown period, Scott has taken it upon herself to bring a smile to the faces of her fans. Scottie Talks, her Instagram Live series, has been a welcome distraction to many. Scott has chatted with a number of women in sport, both about their careers, but also about their time in lockdown. These open and frank discussions have certainly helped in normalising the struggles of this time, and perhaps for some, helped in not feeling quite so alone. Many sincerely hoping that Scott herself is getting as much out of this series as her audience is.
So, both on and off of the pitch, Scott has led by example and has paved the way for others. Her work ethic and determination mean she is, simply put, the perfect role model for young girls and boys wanting to follow in her footsteps. Scott has achieved far beyond what was ever expected and has shown that you do not need to compromise yourself in order to succeed. Since her induction to mainstream sports broadcasting, there has been a shift in the number of women seen on sporting channels. Several female pundits now feature regularly across a number of football events, and this began with Scott. Gunner royalty. Legendary Lioness. Alex Scott is, and always will be, a piece of English women’s football history. Her MBE for her “contribution to women’s football” is more than deserved.
And it seems this contribution is far from over.