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Would you want a female manager at your club?

The case for appointing Hope Powell

icon hopepowell27 June ~ The search for a new manager is one of the most exhilarating and frustrating times to be a fan. For those of us who follow teams outside of the top flight it can be a time of wild speculation, from the sublime to the ridiculous, the hilarious to the horrendous. As I followed the inevitable rumour mill surrounding my club's vacant managerial position I always knew the names would contain humour and surprise in equal measure. I thought I had a good idea of what to expect. That was until I saw the name of one rumoured candidate.

My initial shock and dismay at the possibility of this person managing my club produced in me a mixture of emotions I hadn't anticipated. It opened a debate in my own mind, led me an unexpected conclusion and left me disappointed and embarrassed.

The candidate's CV reads as follows:
Playing Career
66 international caps, 35 goals, 1 World Cup, national team vice-captain
10 years top flight League football
3 FA Cup wins, league & Cup double.
Coaching Career
UEFA Pro Licence
International head coach for 14 years
European Cup: 2001 group stages, 2005 quarter-final, 2009 runner-up
World Cup: 2007 quarter-final, 2011 quarter-final
2012 Olympic head coach
Bearing in mind that my team languishes in the lowest tier of the country's professional pyramid, this CV appears to be firmly in the realm of fantasy. Until you consider the one detail I have not mentioned. The CV belongs to Hope Powell, the current Great Britain Women's Olympic coach and former England coach.

Having followed the performances of the England women's team at the World Cup in 2011 and the 2009 Euros, I was more than aware of Powell, but this rumour led me to research her background and credentials further. Her CV is quite extraordinary. Were her career not within women's football, her experience would warrant a Premier League appointment without hesitation.
There is a huge gulf in the quality of the men's and women's game, of that there can be no doubt. But how big is that gap? How far a leap of faith could it be from the very top of the women's game to the very bottom of the men's professional pyramid?

Let's not forget that this woman holds a UEFA Pro Coaching Licence. That is the same licence as the best male coaches in the world. In becoming the first woman to obtain this qualification, Powell proved, to the UEFA examiners at least, that she has as much ability as all those who men who had gone before her.

What isn't quantifiable by any exam, test or analysis is the matter of whether a female coach could get the same impressive results with a squad of men. Would her gender prohibit the required levels or respect, attention and belief in her players? Surely that would mean the problem lies not in her gender but in the attitudes of the players?

In 2009 Powell was linked with the vacant managerial position at Grimsby Town. The link was denied by all parties but that did not stop most national newspapers from carrying the story. The appointment of a woman to a professional men's team would be a first for the game and would represent a seismic development in the sport.

When tough times come along, fans can be brutal towards their own, often saving the most virulent abuse for the manager. How much time would a fan give a struggling female manager before reaching the conclusion that her gender must be the cause? Are professional players now able to disregard the stereotypes? Could a female withstand the pressures of the media spotlight? How can we still be asking these ultimately sexist questions in 2012. There are more questions than answers and it will remain that way until a female breaks the mould and is given the opportunity to prove herself. One thing is for certain, there can be few better qualified to do it than Hope Powell.

And what, you may ask, was the unexpected conclusion that embarrassed me? Well, it wasn't the conclusion I found most embarrassing but my own initial reaction. Ultimately, I am not a fan of a Premier League club. My team has never been in the country's top flight, yet here was an internationally experienced, UEFA Pro Licenced coach being linked with my humble club. It was pure sexism that had formed my immediate reaction and this revelation was the greatest of surprises to me.

Who is to say whether Powell is the right person for the job but surely she should be given the same consideration as her peers on the UEFA course. If clubs decide she is not right for the role on footballing grounds that is fair enough. But a word of caution: make sure you have addressed your own beliefs first and make that decision for the right reasons.

This article appeared first on the I Bloody Love Football blog

On the subject...

Comment on 28-06-2012 05:11:46 by madmickyf #684187
Would I want a female manager at my club? Only if she was as hot as Cherie Lunghi.
Comment on 28-06-2012 08:15:17 by enzee199 #684203
Sadly football always seems to be 30 years behind the rest of society when it comes to issues like race, gender and sexuality.
Comment on 28-06-2012 08:36:39 by Defensive minded #684208
For me it's not a case of gender, but rather of whether someone is good enough for the job. I've been following the England women's team and I think she's overqualified for your team. I think the second tier would be appropriate for her to start with, but in the long term she's probably good enough to manage a Premiership team.
Comment on 28-06-2012 08:39:11 by Defensive minded #684209
It's strange that England had two important qualifiers recently and there was barely any coverage. Where I live even some friendlies are shown at prime time on one of the main TV channels.
Comment on 28-06-2012 11:51:47 by Paul Rowland #684280
I'm not sure that the problem is with Hope Powell being a woman. There are also many men who have carved out a good reputation for themselves as a manager in the women's game, but they never seem to be considered for a similar position in the men's game. It is like they are two completely different sports.

Undoubtedly Hope Powell will have a problem with "acceptance" in men's football. Maybe she should take an assistant manager's role first, working with a male mentor? She can earn her spurs and then move into a management role in her own right, having had some experience - and hopefully success - working with a professional men's team.
Comment on 28-06-2012 22:07:11 by DaveWallace #684629
'The candidate's CV reads as follows:

Playing Career
66 international caps, 35 goals, 1 World Cup, national team vice-captain
10 years top flight League football
3 FA Cup wins, league & Cup double.'

All at a standard far inferior to the mens game. Fact. That's not to say she isn't an excellent coach though.
Comment on 30-06-2012 18:11:03 by MoeTheBarman #685272
Well what do you know, I actually wouldn't mind seeing what Powell could do at my club. That surprises me, I guess I'm not such a caveman as I thought. However, we have Terry Brown at the moment and he is god :)
Comment on 30-06-2012 19:16:59 by Defensive minded #685293
I'm not too bothered about her playing record. She has an excellent managerial record and the standard of management of the women's game is by no means far inferior to that of the men's.
Comment on 05-08-2012 08:33:24 by Dalef65 #698426
Bobby Moore,Bobby Charlton,Paul Ince,Bryan Robson......
There are 4 examples of people who had excellent playing CVs yet did not succeed at the highest levels of Management in the Mens game...

So simply quoting her CV doesnt make Hope Powell a shu-in.

Whats to say she would be any good as a Manager in the Mens game...?
Where is the evidence...?

Look,if she gets a chance then fair enough,but in the meeantime lets not go all PCand pretend that the only reason she is NOT being considered is because she is a woman...

After all loads of men manage in the womens game,and they are not all being touted for jobs in profesional mens football..

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