Donna Powell – turnstile operator at Fisher Athletic – is set to make footballing history when she leads the club out for today’s Blue Square South match against Eastleigh.
She raised £500 for the club and was rewarded with the chance to lead out the team for one game. 27-year old Powell already manages an Under-11 boys’ football team, although she acknowledges that the difference between her experiences and what she’s about to do is massive.
Fisher are struggling in the league – they’ve lost their last 10 games and are a point off the bottom of the table – and the move is both a PR stunt and a way to sting some life back into their league campaign.
Powell’s management experience already puts her heads and shoulders above 99% of the football fans who will read this and wonder if football is for women or not. She may not have senior team management experience and the whole thing does have the potential to turn into a farce, but if done right and if the team and the club back their woman to the hilt, at least for the duration of the game, then this could work out well for them.
The major concern for me is whether the players will do her bidding or not. Fisher are playing Eastleigh, joint third in the league, and were going to have a tough game regardless of whether it was Powell or regular boss Dave Mehmet leading out the team. If the game goes south for Fisher, what happens then? Will Mehmet be sitting nearby ready to takeover at half time? Will the players have a ‘Plan B’ and ignore Powell’s instructions? Who will give the half-time team talk, especially if Fisher are 2-0 down?
For Powell’s sake, and for football’s sake, I hope that Fisher Athletic take this all the way and give Donna Powell the chance to run the whole game sans interference. If they don’t, they’ll only have themselves to blame for making a joke out of themselves. As things stand right now, Fisher can take the lead in bringing more and more women into professional football and not just as referees or assistant referees but also in the management and coaching arena.
Read more at Fisher Athletic’s official website.