Alex Scott's Career: From Arsenal legend to pioneering pundit

Arsenal Women lifting the 2016 FA Cup

Alex Scott and accomplishments go hand-in-hand. The former defender has won every domestic trophy there is in English football, has a Champions League winners medal to her name, and has captured no less than three Cyprus Cups with the Lionesses.

Off the field, Scott has also achieved significant career milestones: having started out in the media industry while still playing, she now stands as a figurehead for female pundits worldwide.

So, how did England’s fourth-most capped player ever go from Champions League winner to pioneering pundit?

Club career

Scott began her football journey with Arsenal, starting out as a forward before being converted into a full-back — a seminal decision that would later help cement her legacy in the women’s game.

In only her second season as a Gunner, she would get her first taste of silverware, winning both the league title and FA Cup despite not playing for the club during this time.

The end of the 2003-04 campaign saw her leave North London and join Birmingham City in what proved to be a temporary switch. One season later, Scott was back in the red of Arsenal, having proven her worth while helping the Midlands side to a fourth-placed league finish.

Further to impressing Gunners’ manager Vic Akers during her time away from the club, another reason for Scott’s return was the ongoing financial difficulties facing Birmingham, with the Blues’ hand ultimately being forced into selling their prized asset.

Scott’s second spell with Arsenal began in much the same fashion as her first: completing the domestic double to win the league and FA Cup.

From here on out, she became a pivotal part of the Gunners’ plans. She would add several more winners medals to her list of accomplishments, including three league titles, two FA Cups, one Champions League, two Community Shields and two Premier League Cups.

The standout achievement during this time was undoubtedly the 2006-07 season, where Arsenal won an unprecedented quadruple. The crowning piece of silverware was the 2007 Champions League, where Scott scored the winning goal, making Arsenal the first, and to date only, English club to get their hands on the trophy.

Arsenal Women lift the 2007 UEFA Women's Cup.

In 2009 the U.S. came calling as Scott headed stateside, linking up with the Boston Breakers for the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer Season. The defender would play only two seasons in America before returning for a third and final spell with Arsenal ahead of the 2012-13 campaign.

Unsurprisingly, silverware was soon back on the agenda back in London. Scott won her sixth and last league title in 2012, as well as adding three more FA and WSL Cups to adorn her trophy cabinet.

The Gunners’ now-captain would eventually hang up her boots at the end of the 2017-18 campaign, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious career in her final match against Manchester City.

Later explaining her decision to retire to the BBC, Scott said: "It's becoming too difficult to juggle my football commitments with my broadcasting ambitions. I would love to stay more years playing, but I have to think about my long-term future now, and that is in a different role.”

International legend

Scott received her first call-up to England’s senior team in 2004 after impressing Lionesses’ manager Hope Powell while at Birmingham City. She would later be selected as part of the England squad for the 2005 European Championships, marking her first major international tournament.

Alex Scott for England in 2014

A further three appearances at the Euros would follow, in 2009 — where the Lionesses finished as runner-ups — 2013 and 2017. ‘09 was a particularly high point, as the Lionesses also lifted the Cyprus Cup: Scott’s first of three and the maiden international trophy of her career.

Now an integral part of the Lionesses’ setup, Scott made her World Cup debut in 2007. England made it to the quarter finals of the competition, the same stage they’d finish four years later, too.

2015 was Scott’s standout year in regards to international football, helping England to a third-place finish at the World Cup, the nation’s best performance at the tournament to date.

She retired from international duty in 2017 after making 140 appearances for her county, scoring 12 times, and was awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s honours for her services to football.

Alex Scott Team GB

Speaking to the FA website on her decision to no longer represent her county, Scott said:
“Today is the end of a chapter as I turn the lights out on my England career. This decision has not come lightly, but sometimes the right choice is the one that involves some sacrifice.

“My dream as a little girl playing in that football cage in the east end of London was to one day pull on the Three Lions shirt and represent my country. I am so proud and humbled that I managed to do just that.”

Move to broadcast journalism

The former Lioness began her broadcast career in 2017 while still playing football. She gained a degree in Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting after graduating from the Professional Football Association course at Staffordshire University.

Immediately settling into the media world, Scott’s career exploded as she was booked by every major broadcaster, from the BBC to SKY and BT Sport.

The former defender first co-hosted Match of The Day Kickabout on CBBC before becoming the first female pundit ever to cover a Men’s World Cup for the BBC in 2018. That same year, Scott went on to become Sky Sports' first female pundit too, joining their Super Sunday team.

Milestones kept coming thereafter, as Scott went on to represent the BBC again for a World Cup, this time the 2019 Women’s competition. Later that year she was announced as the new co-host of Goals on Sunday with Chris Kamara, replacing Ben Sheppard.

Alex Scott and Jamie Redknapp interviewing Jermaine Defore

Today, Scott stands as a shining example and role model for thousands of young girls who previously may not have thought it possible to break into such a male-dominated industry.

That said, Scott has had to endure a torrent of sexist, racist and condescending comments. Never was this more prevalent than when Sue Barker announced she was stepping down from her role as the lead presenter of A Question of Sport.

With Scott rumoured to be Barker’s replacement, she received multiple forms of backlash from trolls on social media — including some individuals even claiming that the colour of her skin was the only reason she was being lined-up for the role.

The former Lioness spoke openly on the Between The Lines podcast last year about the abuse she has been receiving:

"I went through a stage where it really did affect me. I kind of lost myself and my personality because I knew everything that was going on around it.

Alex Scott working for BBC Sport

"It's not until I actually got to a stage where I thought, 'I can't take this any more, it is becoming too much for me' that I spoke out about it.”

Amazingly, Scott has continually risen above the swaths of negativity and the outright toxic environment of social media trolling.

She carries herself today with the same elegance on display when she glided across WSL pitches up and down the country. Which is no less than you’d expect a model professional who won it all and was the 2020 recipient of The Royal Television Society’s pundit of the year.

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