This week Alex Scott talks about transfers, why agents are a necessary part of football and her joy at reaching the final of the Continental Cup with Arsenal...
I was glued to my television set last Friday on transfer deadline day.
I always find watching the deals going through live so exciting.
It’s a whole side of the game that we don’t really have in women’s football in England, largely because the huge money of the men’s game just isn’t there.
Some deals take you by surprise. Clint Dempsey going to Tottenham?
I didn’t see that one coming, nor did many people. He’d been linked with a move to Liverpool but then all of a sudden in came Spurs and that’s where he went.
It makes you wonder what’s going on behind the scenes.
Other deals can be equally confusing, such as when a developing player chooses to go to a big club even if he must know he’s not going to play week in, week out.
Are they really sacrificing playing time just for the money?
Obviously there’s nowhere near the same money in the women’s game so admittedly I don’t know what it’s like, but for me there’s no substitute for playing every week.
That was one of the reasons why I left Arsenal the first time round, in 2004, and moved to Birmingham.
It was early in my career and I had players ahead of me in the pecking order at Arsenal who were all-time greats such as Marieanne Spacey.
Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing to be part of the club at this time, but I was sitting on the bench every week and that’s why I chose to move up to the Midlands, even if it turned out that I would only be there for one season before returning to Arsenal.
At Birmingham I was playing every week under manager Marcus Bignot.
I developed so much as a player and that was when I broke into the England national team.
The way transfers work in the women’s game is a lot more straightforward than in the men’s.
That said, there is a big difference between the Women’s Super League in England and football in the US.
When I played for Boston, you could be transferred to another team the next day.
It was a mad system over there!
They had a system of trading players whereby if a team had phoned my old club Boston and said: “We want Alex and we will give you x amount of money or we’ll trade you these players” and Boston said: “Yes,” then essentially I’m on a flight the next day going to another club!
The player has no say, which is very harsh.
It happened to a couple of the girls at Boston while I was playing there and I think they were hurt by the process.
One day they were playing with me at Boston, the next they were clearing out their lockers.
The player has no say, even if she faces being sent to a team where she feels she might not fit in or maybe she doesn’t like the area. It’s all in the club’s hands.
Agents are another aspect of the men’s game that is still yet to make the full crossover in women’s football.
Some players have one, such as my Arsenal and England team-mate Kelly Smith, but most don’t.
I had one when I was in the US but my contract with him expired recently.
I know you hear some horror stories in the men’s game about agents claiming huge fees.
Some might say in the women’s game that they’re not really needed.
But if we have contracts that need signing, if people are coming to you with deals and you’ve not got an agent then people could take advantage of you.
I’m currently looking for an agent and have spoken to one or two but it’s just a matter of weighing up my options for the time being.
The Women’s Super League has seen an increase in professionalism in women’s football in this country, so perhaps we’ll see more agents in our game in the future. But for now at least I don’t think there’s much money for them to make out of women’s football.
Back on the pitch, it’s been another eventful week for me at Arsenal. We beat Bristol Academy 4-0 on Monday so we’re into the final of the Continental Cup where we’ll play Birmingham. It’ll be my first cup final with Arsenal since returning. We’re delighted to be there, though it will count for nothing if we don’t lift the trophy.
We face Lincoln in the WSL this Sunday. We’ve had some cracking matches with them this season at their place — a 3-3 and a 4-3 defeat, so we’ll be looking for a victory.
I’ll happily take an uneventful 1-0 win!
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