Star of broadcasting proving her critics wrong

Social media can be a despairing and depressing place at the best of times, but for women working in football it can be an absolute cesspit.

On August 26, Sky Sports announced that they would not be renewing the contracts of Soccer Saturday regulars Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Matt Le Tissier. Almost immediately, Alex Scott was bombarded with abuse on Twitter, accused of replacing the long-serving trio by benefitting from some kind of positive discrimination. Sadly it was not the first such instance, nor the last.

“I definitely take social media for what it is now,” she tells World Soccer. “I have had so much support that’s really lifted me up.”

Among her supporters was Ian Wright. The former Arsenal striker was incandescent: “I’ve had to pull over the car. The racism is going through the roof today,” he said in a video on Twitter. “What does Alex Scott – or any other black pundit – have to do with Sky’s decision to get rid of these guys? Alex Scott is easily one of the best-prepared pundits out there. Easily.”

Micah Richards, whose name was also dragged into the debate, was similarly supportive: “She’s absolutely incredible. She’s honestly one of the best pundits I’ve ever worked with,”
he said on Monday Night Football.

“Having support from people I admire such as Ian and Micah meant the world to me,” she says.

In spite of a stellar playing career – winning 140 England caps, five for Team GB, a bucket load of trophies for Arsenal, including the Champions League, and two years in America with the Boston Breakers – Scott does not just rely on her status as an ex-player and reel out clichés; she is a qualified journalist with a degree in Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting from Staffordshire University.

“I wanted to make plans in advance, not be that athlete that got to the end and then worried ‘what am I going to do next?’” she told the PFA. “I started my degree in 2012 and finished when I was playing at the World Cup in 2015.”

It is that level of preparation that has marked her out as one of the best in her industry.

“Preparation is crucial in any job. I had the same mentality as a footballer as I do in my broadcast career. You can never tell me too much information, I want to learn it all.”

Not content to sit in a comfortable chair at Sky, she has taken on multiple challenges since working at the World Cup in 2018. She is a regular on Match of the Day. Last season she co-hosted Goals on Sunday, and is favourite to take on A Question of Sport. Away from football, she has starred on Strictly Come Dancing, and presented this year’s Children In Need. “I love the pressure of live TV,” she says.

In March, she was given the Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit award by the Royal Television Society. “To get that top-tier industry recognition after so much hard work felt really special,” she says.

And as for the abuse? “I look at the bigger picture. If I am inspiring more females, or people that look like me, or those who grew up in a disadvantaged area like me, to believe there is a space for them, and it gives them hope that they could be doing what I am, then all the negative stuff is worth it.”

Article by Jamie Evans

This article first appeared in the Winter Edition of World Soccer. You can purchase old issues of the magazine by clicking here.

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