Alex Scott will make TV history this season as she becomes the first women to be allowed on to Super Sunday.
In what looks like it will be a long-overdue breakthrough for female pundits this season, Kelly Cates is expected to host Friday night’s Premier League opener between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford. Scott will also appear on Football Focus on Saturday.
“I’ve just come back from the Sky studios and I am pinching myself,” Scott told The Times in an exclusive interview. “I have been working towards this for the past two years. People don’t see the process they just see the end goal. They will see me on Sunday but they don’t actually see all the work you have to do, running from the training field, going to the studio, back and forth, every day. The last two years have been so tiring but to be in this position makes me very proud.
“I’ll be sat alongside those guys for the first time,” she continued. “This is the first time that Sky want to position me in the studio.
“I was never a player with natural talent, so to make it to the top I had to work hard and it’s the same with this,” Scott said. “Last season when I was doing those five-minute hits it would have been easy for me to go home and think ‘job done’ but I stayed around and watched Kelly Cates and sat in the studio with Souness and Gary Neville to see how it was done.
“I don’t feel I am an experiment, I just feel the World Cup and the reaction from it was a game changer.”
Female pundits were hailed after their inclusion at the World Cup but we must hope that this is not just a token gesture for the highly-publicised start of the Premier League.
While women received unprecedented exposure and praise during the tournament in Russia, media companies were happy to allow women airtime during the group stages but reverted to their all-male line-ups when the serious business of the knock-out rounds started.
Alex Scott enjoyed three spells with Arsenal, coming through the youth teams ranks as a forward via the centre of excellence. In total, she spent 20 years with the Gunners across those three spells if you include her youth career, and worked her way up to captain the side.
After such a long time with the Gunners, it’s no surprise she developed a strong attachment to the club, as admitted in her retirement note, saying (via Arsenal.com): “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.”
Scott was also part of one of the most successful periods of Arsenal’s history, if not the most.
She won five Premier League National Division titles, one WSL, three WSL Cups, seven FA Cups, the Champions League, two Community Shields and two Premier League Cups. The Gunners are still the only English club to win the Women’s Champions League, and they did so in a quadruple-winning year that was always going to be difficult to top.