Celebrating the Women of the West of Scotland Football League on International Woman’s Day Pt 2

The 1980’s saw an array of “Fix the Women” progams that were well-meaning in trying to help women become more confident, visible, well-networked and assertive – but many reinforced a notion that women needed to “act like men” and “fit” into existing patriarchal structures and organizations if they were to succeed (all while still being a superwoman in the home). Shoulder pads, power suits, high heels and a loud voice were in fashion. Thankfully this is outdated and organisations are more forward thinking and built more for equality, allowing Women to be women and not be constrained in their careers with stereotypes and gender inequality, although there is still a lot of work to left to do.

In the West of Scotland League we want to celebrate the skills and acumen that Women bring to our member clubs and to the league as a whole, whilst not having to conform to stereotypes, by being free to be themselves and smashing the notion that they need to act like men, or somehow “fit” into a structure.  We spoke to some more Women from our member clubs for some more perspectives on the different types of roles they play at their club

Lyn McFarlane – Club Secretary & Director – Irvine Meadow XI FC

Lyn McFarlane – Irvine Meadow XI FC

WOS – What is your role at Irvine Meadow? 

LMcF – Club Secretary & Club Director.

WOS – What made you get involved at board/committee level at your club

LMcF –  I was approached by the Committee after previous Secretary left. I was keen to help out my local team so took up the role and later became a Director.

WOS – What’s the best and worst things about being involved – 

LMcF – The atmosphere and banter on match days, especially when your team wins is the best part of it, the worst is trying to keep everyone happy and upbeat

WOS – Have you noticed any change in attitudes towards Women in.Football over the past few years? All positive or any negatives?

LMcF –  I have noticed more women attending games which would previously have been mostly attended by males which is a big step in the right direction.The good thing is it was accepted well at our Club. We have a lot of husband and wives now who come to our games and enjoy the day together. I have worked with 7 Managers and was well supported and respected by all of them. None of them had any problem working with a female Secretary considering it had previously been a long line of male Secretaries. I find if any incidents kick off on or off the field, it’s easier to diffuse the situation as Players, Managers or Supporters calm down quicker than if a male intervenes so acceptance of female Official roles is much more widely accepted now

WOS – As Club Secretary do you experience any stereotypes and how do you overcome these?

LMcF – This is my 9th season at Irvine Meadow and initially I sometimes thought the older supporters wondered why I was the Secretary as it always had been a male role. To be fair I made a point of speaking to them all at games and before long I felt I had their approval.

WOS – Whats the best advice you can give to any girls/women looking to get involved with a West of Scotland Football League Club?

LMcF – Go and support your local team and experience the atmosphere on a match day. You will love it. You will probably meet up with old friends and make new ones too. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday and support your local Club in your local Community. This is a new League with exciting times ahead and you might want to be a part of this in the future.

 

Gayle Cornes – Club Secretary – Bellshill Athletic

Gayle Cornes – Bellshill Athletic

 

WOS – What is your role at Bellshill? 

GC –  I’m the Club Secretary at Bellshill

WOS – What made you get involved at Bellshill?

GC – I was running the 2001 age group & just wanted to help the Senior team & the full set-up at Bellshill Athletic

WOS – What’s the best and worst parts about being involved? 

GC  – The best part of my job at Bellshill is just the great feeling being involved in what has become an extended family to create an enjoyable place to be, the club was on its knee’s about a year ago when our clubhouse was set on fire, so the rebuilding job that we are doing has giving me great satisfaction that we are rising from the ashes to create something special at the club.

There aren’t many downsides, maybe just some stressful situations that arise or the time it takes up away from my wee family but they understand & are fully supportive, so much so my husband has come on board as a committee member as well as being head coach of our 20s development squad. Also it’s been the hardest year in football to take over the secretary roll but with the support from a great committee it’s been really enjoyable<

WOS – Have you noticed any change in attitudes towards Women in.Football over the past few years? All positive or any negative?

GC – I have seen a change in attitudes in football over the years I have been involved with Bellshill, I think in general people probably have more respect to woman & understand its worthwhile to have woman in the back ground running clubs. I may still not understand the offside rule but I like to think I have brought a lot of knowledge & understanding to help the club & game.
WOS – As Club Secretary do you experience any stereotypes and how do you overcome these?

GC – There is probably a very small minority of people that may have a certain stereotype but if or when I come across people like this, it just gives me the drive to become even more successful in the work I do for the club & game. 

WOS – Whats the best advice you can give to any girls/women looking to get involved with a West of Scotland Football League Club?
GC – If you have the passion to get involved, don’t let anyone step in your way, go out there and prove any doubters wrong. There is a lot of nice / good people out there involved in the game & it can be really rewarding.

Antonia Love – General Manager – Dumbarton FC

Antonia Love – Dumbarton FC

WOS – What is your role at Dumbarton? 

AL –  My role at Dumbarton is General Manager

WOS – What made you get involved in football? 

AL – I’ve always been a football fan since I was 5. My mum took me to a (Partick) Thistle game and I was hooked! Turned 17 and a job came up at Firhill and give or take a few years been in football since at Thistle, Rangers (3 months),  back to Thistle, Dumbarton, Morton and back at Dumbarton now. I have also worked with some of the clubs lower down the pyramid and loved my time with both St Anthony’s and BSC Glasgow. Felix at the Ants and George Fraser at BSC have both played big parts in giving me a love for football back at different times, Felix a bit earlier in my career and George before I took up my current role at Dumbarton, giving me a free role to help out where I can. The players and backroom staff at both clubs also made me feel very welcome. 

WOS – What’s the best and worst parts about being involved? 

AL – The worst is bad results as you form a good bond with the players/manager/backroom and you see the hard work they put in every session. The best bit is the buzz on a Saturday of the players taking to the field seeing it all come together the work you’ve put in all week to organise the match. Plus you get to meet a lot of people and it’s an interesting varied role.

WOS – Have you noticed any change in attitudes towards Women in.Football over the past few years? All positive or any negative?

AL – There certainly more Women in the game now from commentating to physio to administrative. You’ll always get that stereotypical male dominated nonsense but I’m not fussed with that as I don’t read too much into it.

WOS – Whats the best advice you can give to any girls/women looking to get involved in Football?

AL – I’d say go for it! Get sending your cv around clubs and start in whatever shape or form you can and learn as much as you can, it will build from there and give you good experience going forward, plus if you believe in something then hold your ground!

The West of Scotland League is nothing without its clubs, who in turn are nothing without the hardworking people of all genders working hard and pulling in the same direction to take their clubs as far as they can. Once we can all get safely back, we would love to see more women getting involved, whether as fans, volunteers, committee members or office bearers.

We hope that the very small section of women we have highlighted today have inspired girls and women to get involved in the game, whether its WOSFL or at any other level our national game is stronger by having the right people in the right role, regardless of gender.

We would like to sign off by thanking every one of the 80 females registered as a volunteer or committee member at our member clubs as well as the Women who allow our league to flourish in other ways without being directly involved themselves.

THANK YOU 

Danielle Gibb Covid Officer, Kate McBlain and Karen McLellan Committee  – Ardeer Thistle

Aylee McGill – First Aider/Physio. Liz Conway, Margaret Committe – Ardrossan Winton Rovers

Elaine Campbell Safeguarding Officer, Sarah Coubrough Committee and U20s Secretary, Frances McGettigan Committee, Collette McSherry Phsyio – Arthurlie

Nicole Doak Physio, Elaine Forrest, Angela Hannah, Heather Hannah, Sally Morley, Sandra Stirrat Committee – Beith

Gayle Cornes Club Secretary, Lisa Dornan Volunteer – Bellshill Athletic

Maisie Love Volunteer – Benburb

Alison Paterson Treasurer – Blantyre Victoria

Fiona Mactavish Physio, Laura Sangster Sports Therapist – Bonnyton Thistle

Tracy Biggar Committee, Keira Lindsay Sports Therapist / First Aider, Grace McGibbon Treasurer & Chairperson – Clydebank

Debra Conway – President, Chevonne Crossan, Lesley Currie, Committee, Leanne Gormanley Committee/Safeguarding Officer – Craigmark

Christine Morris, Johanna Nicol Committee – Cumnock

Louise Duffy Committee, Lesley Gibson General Sec, , Sharon Gilmour Committee, Alanah McPherson Physio, Steffani Wylie Committee – Darvel

Nancy McLaren Committee – Girvan

Carol Cunningham Club Secretary, Safeguarding Officer – Glasgow Perthshire

Gillian Watson Physio – Greenock

Morean Hamilton Committee, Margaret Minford Safeguarding Officer/Committee – Hurlford

Lyn McFarlane Club Secretary, Phyllis Rodgers Committee – Irvine Meadow

Aimee Loach Safeguarding Officer – Irvine Victoria

Laura McMahon First Aider Julie McKim Volunteer  – Johnstone Burgh

Elaine Clark Match Secretary Safeguarding officer – Kello Rovers

Diane Jeffrey, Angie McAllister, Chloe McAllister Volunteers – Kilbirnie Ladeside

Evlyn Hay Treasurer – Kilsyth Rangers

Linda Brown Volunteer – Kilwinning Rangers

Valentina Giorgetti – Physio – Largs Thistle

Fiona Tierney – Club Secretary/Safeguarding Officer – Larkhall Thistle

Joyce McCluskey – Committee – Lesmahagow

Shirley Bradford Treasurer, Claire Wright Committee – Lugar

Yvonne Riddick Committee – Maryhill FC

Isabel Davidson Treasurer, Katie Scott Physio – Muirkirk

Chloe Aitken Physio, Abi Kirkland Committee – Neilston

Kat Stirling Committee, Alison Walker Committee/First Aider – Petershill

Chelsea McConnaghy Physio – Pollok

Rachel McFarlane – First Aider – Port Glasgow

Kerri McInally Promoter, Helen Templeton Committee – Rossvale

Elizabeth Allan Committee, Kate Walker Physio – Rutherglen Glencairn

Miriam Wylie – Treasurer – Saltcoats Victoria

Debbie McKenna, Cara Collins, Bethany Gibson Committee St. Anthony’s

Michelle McInnes Physio – St Cadoc’s

Donna Cameron, Mary Cameron Volunteers – St Roch’s

Ashley Barr First Aider, Amanda Richmond Physio – Troon

Margaret Stewart Treasurer – Vale of Clyde

Charlene Dalton First Aider, Angelina Jaconelli Committee – Whitletts Victoria

#InternationalWomansDay #Passion&Pride