At the beginning of November, Alex Scott announced that she would be leaving Arsenal and retiring from playing football at the end of the season, so what’s next for the soon-to-be former right-back?
Scott has announced that while she loves Arsenal with all her heart, she feels that now is the right time to hang up her boots after three spells at the club.
“I love this club with all my heart and I have always dreaded the day that I had to make this decision, I know in my heart the time is right to pass on my responsibilities as a captain and as player to the next crop of hugely talented players we have here at the club.
“I have managed to achieve so much as a player here, but I am immensely proud of the work we have done away from the field. We have always been the driving force for women’s football in this country, our name and the club is known around the world, and it has been ‘us’ at Arsenal that set the standards for other clubs to follow.
“I have given my all, I have won all there is to win, and I have done it all with a smile and a love for a place that I have always called home! I will carry on giving my all for this team until the end of the season as we fight together for more silverware. Thank you to you all for your amazing support.”
The 33-year-old first joined the Gunners in 1992 as a youth player. She was just eight years old at the time and actually started out as a forward.
The full-back came through the ranks at Arsenal but left for Birmingham City in 2004/05, where she made 15 appearances and scored twice. However, after just a year, she returned to north London.
Scott made 72 appearances during her second stint with the Gunners, winning the FA Women’s Premier League and Women’s Cup. She would go on to win the Premier League five times overall and became a crucial part of Arsenal’s starting line-up.
The defender has also won the FA Cup seven times with Arsenal and the Champions League in 2006/07 – the year the Gunners won the quadruple.
In 2009, Scott left again. This time for the US, where she was initially assigned to Chicago Red Stars, who was coached by former Gunner Emma Hayes, and then Boston Breakers just four months later.
While there, Scott played in 55 matches and scored once. However, the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) campaign collapsed in 2012, leading the defender to return to Arsenal for a third time.
Since then, Scott’s made another 74 appearances for Arsenal and scored six goals. She’s also gone on to win the FA WSL title in 2012, as well as the WSL Cup in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Scott isn’t just an Arsenal legend either, she’s been capped for England 140 times and scored 12 goals for her country. She retired from international football in September after the Lionesses’ involvement in Euro 2017 where they were knocked out of the semi-finals by the Netherlands.
So, what’s next for Scott after she’s hung up her boots for club and country?
After playing professional football for 25 years, you can imagine that there will have to be a huge adjustment period. Scott had a career spanning three decades and that won’t be easy to give up. Alternatively, she’s had her retirement planned for far longer than we realise and she’s already adjusted plenty.
Fortunately, she still has until the end of this season to enjoy her football and continue to work for the team she so obviously loves a lot.
She’s still getting appearances for the women’s team so I imagine that she’s happy as long as she’s helping.
Looking at other former Gunners’ next steps after they retired or taken a break from football, it’s easier to see Scott leaning towards the media side of things.
Rachel Yankey, who’s taken some time off from playing to become a mother, has joined a new a scheme designed to encourage more women to become coaches. However, Scott has never personally shown an interest in the same industry. Yankey, after all, has coached her entire playing career.
Could she follow in Faye White’s footsteps perhaps and become a pundit? This seems far more likely.
Scott has been doing some media work for the BBC lately, as well as the likes of Soccer AM and Final Score and, according to Daily Cannon’s source, this appears to be where she believes her future lies. In fact, if you look at her social media you can get a picture of the media profile she’s cleverly been building over the past year.
It’s a sensible move and it’ll be fantastic to see another Arsenal legend giving their informed opinion on the TV and radio. Especially a female one as women still lack a lot of representation outside of the women’s game itself.
Back in 2013, Scott used to write a column for the Morning Star Newspaper, so she’s obviously savvy with the way the industry works and reckons that she has something that needs to be heard.
Moving into punditry seems to be the logical step for retired footballers these days, in the men and women’s games, which I have no problem with seeing as, most of the time, they’re more informed than pundits with no experience in the field.
Obviously, she still has until the end of the season to go, so everything could change but I expect we’ll see her increase her online presence further and we’ll start to see and hear of her a lot more on the TV.
Next year, we have the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in Trinidad & Tobago, which could be a good tournament to get Scott started on after she retires. However, I fully expect to see her heavily involved in the media for the women’s World Cup in 2019, especially considering how well England did in Euro 2017 – there will be high hopes going into the competition in France.
Watch this space.