Scotland's Women Show the Boys How It's Done

Location: 
United Kingdom
53° 43' 8.5008" N, 2° 4' 22.0224" W
GB

I have had to defend my love for football and prove that I knew enough about the beautiful game my entire life. From boys telling me I couldn’t like football because I was a girl in primary 3, to boys at University looking at me like I was a mythical creature when I was able to hold my own in a conversation about football. I am all too aware of the perception that football is a men’s game. I was taken to football games from a young age, not by my dad or grandad, but by my mum and auntie. It was me, not my brother, who got a pair of football boots, had a football themed bedroom and dreamed of becoming the next Cristiano Ronaldo. Recently, however, there has been a revolution in the women’s game and it is no longer up to the men to represent their countries at major footballing tournaments.

 

The Scottish Women’s National Football Team (SWNT) are heading to the Women’s World Cup in France this summer (the men’s team have not qualified for the World Cup since 1998). SWNT go into this World Cup ranked a very impressive, 20th in the World, 24 places higher than the men’s team who currently sit at 44th in the FIFA rankings. The women’s team have provided Scottish football fans with a successful team who qualify for major tournaments. Compared to the lackluster and disappointing current state of the men’s team, the Tartan Army are turning to SWNT to provide the nation with some longed-for footballing success. The men’s national side have simply been embarrassing of late. Suffering a heavy 3-0 defeat at the hands of Kazakhstan (a team who had only won 1 out of their past 20 qualifiers) in March this year cemented the sorry state of the national game. Having watched the game, I too am concerned about what is to come for the men wearing the Scotland jersey and hopes of being able to qualify for a major tournament are once more fading fast.

 

With the men’s national team in a shambolic state, step up SWNT. 8th April 2019. Just under a month since the argued worst defeat suffered by a Scottish national team in Kazakhstan, SWNT beat a team ranked 10th in the World. A team no other Scottish national side has ever beaten. The formidable, legendary football nation of Brazil. Kim Little’s goal was enough to give the SWNT this historic win and the team lifted the spirits of the nation. No Scottish football supporter has ever seen a team wearing the historic navy jersey beat the Brazilians and it has to be asked, will it ever be seen again? The first national team win over Brazil belongs to the women and how great is that! Sports journalists and fans alike were calling for the Men’s team to seek advice from the women on how to represent their country properly as well as sending an outpouring of support towards the deserving SWNT.

 

Not only did the women cement their place in Scottish football history with their win against Brazil, but they also are continuing to rewrite their own history. Before the team head off to the World Cup in June, SWNT are playing their final warm-up game on 28th May at Hampden Park – the home of Scottish football. Even though the women represent Scotland every time they play, SWNT has not played a game at the national stadium in 7 years. The record attendance for a women’s international game is just under 4,100 supporters. On average, the men’s national side are cheered on by nearly 26,000 Scots every time they play at Hampden Park. SWNT manager, Shelley Kerr, hopes the Tartan Army and all Scottish football fans will use this as an opportunity to:

“Give the players the send-off they deserve at Hampden Park.”

If 26,000 supporters can turn out to watch the horror-show that is the men’s side, then why can’t they turn up to watch entertaining, competitive and passionate women’s game?

The gap in money and exposure between the men’s and women’s game is large. When we look at the two Scotland captains, that is clear to see. One captain has led their team to a World Cup and historic victories along the way whilst the other has had to offer the nation an apology for a lack of passion and basic footballing ability shown by their team. I’ll give you one guess to which one is getting paid the ‘mega-bucks’ in the English Premier League. Andy Robertson is the current Scotland men’s side captain. He is also captain for table-topping Liverpool FC. I do have a lot of respect for Robertson, at only 24 years old he has progressed from playing at amateur level in Scotland to becoming captain of his country as well as captain of one of most historic football teams in England in the space of 6 years. However, earning an estimated £60,000 per week, you would expect the leader of the team to galvanise his side on to some victories or at least more pleasing performances than of late. Rachel Corsie – an Aberdeen native – not only plays for the Utah Royals in America’s top female league, but she is also a chartered accountant! Having gained more than 100 caps for her country and scored 16 goals (impressive for a central defender) as well as playing for her domestic teams whilst also studying, then holding down a solid career all by the age of 29, is nothing short of impressive. Although it is not known how much Corsie is earning, the National Women’s Soccer League has a pay ceiling per player of $37,800. The captain cannot play the whole game themselves, other players do need to be held accountable for the roles in the team, but the captains are the leaders on the pitch and represent the team. The captain’s armband symbolises a great wealth of pride and honour but also the represents the weight of responsibility that falls on the captain both on and off the pitch. This June, Corsie will be leading her team out at the biggest footballing tournament in the World whilst Robertson will be trying to regain the trust and support of the Tartan Army during EURO qualifying games against Belgium and Cyprus.

 

The Tartan Army are looking for a Scotland team who will compete at major tournaments and be a pride to the nation not the laughing stock of the footballing world. But we already have that, in the Women’s national side. Scotland’s women have proved that football is no longer just for boys and have inspired a generation of young girls to take up the sport. Instead of looking at the likes of Messi and Salah as inspirations, girls across Scotland can aspire to be the next Rachel Corsie or Kim Little. I am excited to see how the side progress through the World Cup and as a Scot who has never seen her country at a major tournament, I am so proud. The women who are wearing the famous navy jersey have boosted the profile of the women’s game within Scotland and women’s football is now receiving funding from major retailers such as Boots and Spar to help enhance the game. I’m sure I am not the only one who would be interested to see how the highly publicised and millionaire-filled men’s team would fare up against a World Cup standard group of players that is the Scottish Women’s National Football Team.

 

Information about tickets for SWNT vs Jamaica at Hampden Park: https://tickets.scottishfa.co.uk/PagesPublic/ProductBrowse/VisualSeatSelection.aspx?campaign=&product=WJAM19&productIsHomeAsAway=N&productsubtype=&stadium=HP&type=H&soalready=ljyQLBvQmU1CwyrUoI0P3hopeiZzyfHCrNM2KrFsAVY=

 

 

 

Images: Google Images

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/13/every-scot-should-exult-in-beating-brazil-if-only-our-men-could-do-it

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47669598

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47777716

https://www.11v11.com/teams/scotland/tab/stats/option/attendances/season/2017/

http://money.com/money/4277843/us-womens-soccer-equal-pay/

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/8221127/liverpool-andy-robertson-new-contract/