The Sweeper: The First Women’s Football League Manager?

Hope Powell

Big Story
There is an excellent interview in the Guardian with England women’s football boss Hope Powell, who led England to their most successful year on the field in 2009, attaining further notoriety that saw her linked with the Grimsby Town management job. Powell’s straightforward talk is great to see, and she discusses the pressure that would be on any woman to take a job in the Football League.

I think for the first female that does this, and one day I’m sure it will happen whoever it might be, the press will be phenomenal. It would probably hinder that person doing that job. And if they failed it would be, ‘Well, there you go, that’s why a woman shouldn’t be in men’s football’, and if they did OK it would be a really difficult position for that person to be in. Really tough.

But as Powell says, “It’s just football for me.”

Perhaps it will help that the media profile of the women’s game in England looks set to be raised further, with news yesterday that the new Women’s Super League launching in 2011 will be part of ESPN UK’s new television package with the Football Association. Maybe after a while, it won’t seem so exotic for a woman running a football team consisting of female players to run a football team consisting of male players.

Worldwide News

  • We mentioned the FIFA Club World Cup yesterday and its seemingly odd placement in the United Arab Emirates; has an excellent piece (taken from this month’s World Soccer magazine) on the context of the UAE’s sporting ambitions. Oh, and here’s Chuck Blazer (CONCACAF’s General Secretary and member of FIFA’s Executive Committee) on his blog in Abu Dhabi before kick-off. His blog is an absolute gold-mine, if only for shots of one of the world’s greatest beards hobknobbing amongst football’s elite.
  • Ricardo Rossi is scathing in Four Four Two about the future of Italian football in European competition, despite the fact three of the four Italian teams made it to the knockout stage of the Champions League: “Italy has finally found its place in Europe: providing possible finalists for the Europa League. Last season’s debacle in the Champions League – the first time in seven years the country hasn’t had a representative in the quarter-finals – was only the beginning of a crisis in Italian football that is set to get a lot worse. There are no green shoots of recovery on the horizon – and what’s the betting there will only be three Italian representatives in a few year’s time?”
  • Sweden and Norway’s Euro 2016 bid is no more, due to a lack of government funding. The deadline for candidates to submit their bids to UEFA is in February.
  • A review by the British government “is set to recommend the creation of a single unit dedicated to investigating corruption in sports betting”, according to the Guardian.
  • A sad day in England, as Kings Lynn Football Club are no more.
  • Patrick Barclay of the Times has a long and interesting Q&A on the value of agents to the game — actually, oddly, the readers questions are more informative and thought-provoking, but it’s still interesting stuff.
  • And finally, European Football Weekends decided to take a virtual trip across the Atlantic and ask me a few questions about the Chicago Fire and Section 8.  Enjoyable Q&A, and check out the rest of the site, a fellow winner of the When Saturday Comes Web Awards this week.

The Sweeper appears every weekday, and once at the weekend. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.

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