World Cup can help Scottish game

Date published: Sunday 11th January 2015 5:48

World Cup can help Scottish game

The 23 year-old goalkeeper wants teams in the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) to harness the momentum from the summer and take the Scottish game to the next level.
Despite a far inferior budget, Alexander says Scottish clubs can learn from the way their English counterparts are endorsing their game.
She said: “You see how well down in England how they promote. They’re obviously fortunate enough to be able to have some of their games streamed online and on television.”
“It’s something that really would help the women’s game in Scotland, so I think that Scottish football can try and emulate that.”
Alexander was speaking ahead of Glasgow City’s top of the table clash with Hibernian Ladies this Sunday.
City have dominated the SWPL in recent times, winning eight straight titles and losing just two games in their last four league seasons.
However this year they are being closely challenged by Hibernian Ladies, with both teams unbeaten so far and level on points after 13 games. The clubs have already hammered out a 3-3 draw earlier this season and extra time was needed to separate the sides in last year’s League Cup final.
Glasgow City ran out winners in the end but Nicola Campbell from Scottish Women’s football says the development of a title race shows how much other clubs have progressed.
She said: “It’s not only a credit to Hibs but Aberdeen and Celtic are starting to close the gap as well. I’ve been involved with the league for the last few years and this is the closest that I have seen it since working in women’s football.”
“Within the Premier League, the standard of football is incredible to watch. Glasgow City have been the dominant team in Scotland for years and they’ve set standards. The other clubs are wanting to compete with these standards and it’s obvious now in Scotland that the game is growing.”
While she thinks the sport is moving in the right direction in Scotland, Campbell claims male clubs should do more to help boost the female game.
She said: “I think clubs that are partnered with a parent club like Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen and Hamilton etcetera; it would be great to get more promotion through that parent club to get season ticket holders along to matches.”
“The 2017 European Championships are starting in September, with Scotland favourites to qualify, I think that will hopefully be a big push over the next couple of years for attendances and getting people to come to matches.”
In one such initiative to increase interest and attendances, Glasgow City are allowing kids to go for free on Sunday, with adult tickets at just £5.
“Clubs male and female should look at this offer and get more kids through the gates,” said Campbell. “They need to start looking at their next generation of fans that are going to come through.”
“That’s why it’s a credit to Glasgow City to give free entry to the game on Sunday because you’re looking at the next generation of people who will come and support your club.”
The evolution of women’s football in Scotland can be seen by the fact the SWPL could have two representatives in the Champions League next year.
Entrants in to the women’s Champions League are determined by the national team’s world rankings. And with Scotland head coach Anna Signeul taking them to 20th in the current standings, it could mean both Glasgow City and Hibs qualify for the tournament.
Hibernian’s Heather Richards says even the prospect of qualifying is causing a stir amongst her team-mates.
“It’s great! As a team we have thought about it and we’d be really excited to do it,” said the 21-year-old midfielder. “It’s definitely a credit to the Scotland team for doing so well and competing against the bigger nations. It’s just going to improve and grow the league in Scotland so much more.”
Glasgow City goalkeeper Lee Alexander remembers when it was a struggle to get one Scottish club to qualify for European competition.
She said: “If you look over the last five or six years when Glasgow City were first into the Champions League they were going into the qualifying rounds and not picking up any points.”
“Last year we got to the last eight so there’s a huge growth to our game, but to have two teams in the Champions League can only be good for women’s football.”
Glasgow City v Hibernian Ladies takes place this Sunday at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium. Adult tickets are £5 with under 16s getting in free.

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