“I’m sure Chelsea will get the right person for the job should Sarri leave and I’m quite sure gender won’t come into it,” says SSN’s Vicky Gomersall. “But if it does go to a woman, then she will be a trailblazer”
By Vicky Gomersall – @VickyGomersall
Last Updated: 21/05/19 3:18pm
With Emma Hayes being touted for the Chelsea men’s team, Sky Sports News presenter Vicky Gomersall asks: why shouldn’t female coaches be considered for top-level men’s sides in England?
I don’t normally stick my head above the parapet too much on Twitter but on Monday, I got a bit cross. Not because anyone had said anything particularly provocative, just that a question was posed that didn’t sit right with me.
It had originally been discussed on the Sunday Supplement, with that question being: ‘What would it take for a female coach to lead a top men’s side in England?’
That’s not too offensive, I hear you say. But if you’re a woman, you might bristle just a little.
Emma Hayes, the current Chelsea Women’s coach, has been linked with the men’s job, should Maurizio Sarri leave. I’m not necessarily a staunch Hayes supporter, but her talent speaks for itself, having guided her team to the semi-finals of the Women’s Champions League this season and third in the league, mirroring their male counterparts domestically.
I was more annoyed that the question was asked – surely the answer’s simple. For any person to get a job, they need the right credentials to apply and hope they fit what the company is looking for. Right?
Wow cud a woman REALLY do that?🙄 No surely not because? Erm?Blimey maybe it’s Monday & I’ve been ill all ruddy wk but this makes me 😡 My 9yr old daughter “Women have rights to do ANYTHING no one should question that!!” It’s only a question of whether she WANTS the bloody job 😡 https://t.co/TC8cKbjLfR
— Vicky Gomersall (@VickyGomersall) May 20, 2019
It’s the Q: what would it take for a female coach to lead to top men’s side that offends me I guess. Surely it would take having the right bloody credentials & applying just like ANY other job?? If she’s right for it she’ll get if not she won’t! END OF I rest my case m’lord 🤣🤣 https://t.co/TC8cKbjLfR
— Vicky Gomersall (@VickyGomersall) May 20, 2019
Evidently not, as my Twitter feed promptly informed me – “She won’t get respect from the players”, “She doesn’t deserve it”, “It’s not practical, how can she be in the dressing room?”, “The media will be waiting to pounce”, “For years, football has long been divided by gender”, “When 35k fans are chanting for her to be sacked, will she handle the pressure?” You get the gist…
Forgive me for not agreeing with any of the above. Forgive me for telling my two daughters repeatedly they can do ANY job they want. Forgive me for ruffling a few feathers, although this wasn’t the overriding view, which gives me some hope.
My point is this: it’s not that I particularly feel Hayes is 100 per cent the right candidate for the Chelsea men’s job, but she has every right to be considered along with all other candidates, regardless of gender. No longer should we be asking what it would take to see a female coach in the men’s game. It’s archaic.
Hayes, along with many other women, has experience of managing football. The men’s game is not sacred. If a woman applied to manage an office full of men, the question wouldn’t be ‘is she capable?’ – it would be ‘can she manage?’
Frank Lampard might be about to take his Derby team to the Premier League in his debut season. A few eyebrows were raised when he was given the position, likewise with Steven Gerrard at Rangers. But within months, it was clear their knowledge of the game and managerial nous was inherent. They transferred their playing skills to the job. Hayes is the same – she has transferable skills. She might never have managed a professional men’s side, but one thing is for sure, she is capable of managing, so she has experience where others might not.
For all those saying the men’s game is played at a different level, I hear you. The men’s game has had a lot of support, and female footballers have fought hard to get to where they are in the sport – it’s testament to their sheer grit and determination.
Indeed, plenty of men questioned if a woman would be tough enough, but I wouldn’t worry on that account. I think women in football have proved that in abundance already.
I’ve never applied for a job which I considered to be a step backward, I’ve always tried to go forward. I’ve ruffled a few feathers along the way when I was given a position a little out of my depth, but who hasn’t? I learned to swim quickly and earned respect from those who may have doubted me. I’ve been judged on my gender several times throughout my career. I’ve also put it to good use at times too.
I’m sure Chelsea will get the right person for the job should Sarri leave, and I’m quite sure gender won’t come into it. But if it does go to a woman, then she will be a trailblazer and she will face really tough times, no doubt. Yet she might just succeed where others have failed and even better, progress will have been made.