Alex Scott has vowed to continue as the standard-bearer for female football punditry despite receiving persistent sexist abuse on social media.
Scott has made a successful transition from an England star with 140 caps to a respected voice on the women’s and men’s game for the BBC and Sky Sports since making her on-screen debut at the 2018 World Cup.
But the 34-year-old former Arsenal defender has been forced to work against a backdrop of sexist comments that peak after every weekend appearance in the studio.
“Twitter is there for everyone to see. I think I get it (sexist abuse) every single day now,” Scott said.
“I went through a stage over Christmas when it got hard to handle. At the time I was, ‘right, I’m going to come off Twitter and move away from social media’.
“But then I thought that it has been my strong presence on social media that’s allowed me to connect with fans and that by coming off Twitter I was allowing them to win.
“So that’s when I put out a tweet saying, ‘actually, I’m not going anywhere and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing’.
“What keeps me going is knowing that I’m helping. People are now coming up to me on the street and are saying exactly that… they’re watching with their daughter or even their boy.
“Me sitting there being strong enough to give my opinions in the way that I do it is normalising it.
“If that’s giving more encouragement to young females in that they can see me and I’m visible and that they can do that, then that’s great.
“We’ll get to the stage when I’m not regarded as a female pundit, I’m just a pundit. When we get to that point we’re getting somewhere.”
Scott’s supporters on Twitter rushed to her defence following an exchange with Graeme Souness when analysing a match between Manchester United and Leicester in February.
Souness interrupted the Londoner and was dismissive of her use of the term ‘low block’, which means to defend from a deep position.
“Every time I’m on with Graeme I get more comments about that than when I’m with any other pundit,” Scott said.
“Graeme Souness is like that with every pundit he sits alongside, but with me it’s highlighted because people see me as a female.
“If he’s got a strong opinion and he disagrees with you, he’ll say that. I respect that and want people to be like that with me.
“When people say on Twitter that I’m ticking a box, no I’m not ticking a box… I’ve done the work and deserve to be there.
“I wouldn’t want Graeme Souness to change and be different just because I’m female. Treat me the same as everyone else, and he does.
“One term I used – a low block – he didn’t know what that is. Football terminology, like everything else, changes and evolves.
“I can explain why a low block is different to being pegged back or holding a high line. Some people at home didn’t know what it is.
“People reacted on Twitter because he’s disagreeing with a female and it shouldn’t be that way. That’s how Graeme is. When the camera is off, he’s lovely with me.”