Sunday, 13 December 2009

Women football managers

Could there ever be a day when a women becomes manager of a men's professional football club? Imagine a women managing a club in the Premiership. It might sound far fetched, but it may well happen sooner then some people think.

I was reading an article on the BBC website earlier this week, about the current England women's football manager Hope Powell who said she would consider coaching a men's team. The question is, would any male professional football club consider employing a women to manage the team?

According to rumours, Powell was in the running to take on the position of manager at Grimsby Town after it was reported that she was seen leaving a restaurant with the club's chairman John Fenty.

Hope Powell

Powell has been hugely successful managing the England women's team, and when I read this story I thought it was intriguing that she was being linked with potentially managing a men's football league club.

If that ever happened it would be such a huge news story and a significant event for football not just in this country but around the world.

As a black women, Powell would be a footballing combination of Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton all rolled into one. It would send out such a strong message in terms of equality and diversity within society.

Of course you can imagine the huge obstacles any female manager would have to overcome. I think mainly in gaining the respect of the footballers in the team. Despite her success with the woman's England team, there will still be those that will argue that her experience does not match that of managing a professional men's team.

Years ago, I remember watching a drama series on Channel Four called the The Manageress in which the actress Cherie Lunghi played a female manager of a professional men's football team. It was quite entertaining, but at no point did you ever think it could be a reality.

The programme aired 20 years ago, and since then the only women I can think of to have any real impact on the men's professional game are Karen Brady at Birmingham City, and the TV cook Delia Smith at Norwich.

We're probably still a long way off from ever having a female manager of a men's team, but if more women emerge such as Hope Powell, then the idea might not seem as far fetched as we might think.


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