13 November 2020

Sexism in football: ‘Here to see my boyfriend play, no, actually I’m the manager’

Former England captain Mary Phillip was the first black woman to lead the Lionesses.

And last season she became the first female manager to lead a men's side to a cup success in England, when she oversaw Peckham's run to their first trophy, the London FA Senior Trophy.

So, in a week that saw the departure of the FA’s chairman, Greg Clarke, for making several inappropriate comments, not least sexist remarks about the women’s game, Phillip knows only too well that, there’s a long way to go.

The 43 year-old told BBC Sport: "Most of the time when I turn up to the games, they'll look straight at our chairman or our first-aider and go 'manager?' and they'll turn and go 'no, manager's back there'.

"Last season, we rocked up to a game and they refused to let myself through and our TV person through - we film our games. They said 'you've got to go round that way to watch your boyfriends play' and then our chairman had to come and say 'that's our manager'. They let us go through unwillingly.

“It wasn't until we started warming up, we caught them stepping back and saying 'she actually knows what she's talking about, she can do this'.”

She added being a woman shouldn’t make a difference to how she does her job.

"Women can do the job, given the opportunity. Just because I'm female, it doesn't mean to say I can't do the job that I've been asked to do. Male or female, it shouldn't make a difference.

"The goal is to go as far as I can. Whatever doors open up for me, I'll look at them.

"If I'm given a chance to go and coach in the women's game, I will go and do that.

"I've played in the women's game all the way from the greater London women's division three side all the way to the top flight, so why not try and manage at the top level in the women's game as well?"

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