World’s oldest football club starts first women’s team

Coach Sammy Hyett, front, has high hopes for her team
Coach Sammy Hyett, front, has high hopes for her team
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MUCH like a last-minute goal in a World Cup final, it has been well worth the wait.

Nearly 200 years since the world’s oldest football club was formed in the Capital, management has decided to create a women’s team.

When the Foot Ball Club of Edinburgh began in 1824, women were not allowed to vote, never mind take to the pitch – but that is all changing as they prepare to enter a competitive set-up.

The team, which has been recruiting players and sponsorship, will enter a league in March and hopes to attract females from across the Lothians, regardless of experience.

It is part of a wider initiative by management to make use of the team name, appealing to players of all ages, ability and gender.

Behind the women’s team is manager Sammy Hyett, 25, who initially turned down the offer of the post to focus on playing. A career-threatening injury made her think again.

The construction worker from Tollcross said: “I’ve been involved in football since I was five and wanted to keep playing.

“But I broke my ribs and injured my knee – from long-distance running – so agreed to do it.

“It started from there, we’ve picked up some players along the way, and some strips, and now we’re ready to enter the competitive league.

“Women’s football is really up and coming and growing in profile. We’ve got quite a lot of girls who’ve never played before and just wanted to be part of it.”

Training takes place at Arthur’s Seat twice a week, and in the club’s recent pre-season friendly they triumphed 9-3.

The global appeal of the female game – making it the world’s fastest-growing sport – has helped in attracting a diverse range of talent.

“We’ve got players from all over, and all the stereotypes are true,” Sammy added.

“The Spanish are very good individual players, and the Italians definitely the most dramatic.”

The Evening News told how in February 2008 the historic club, which claims to be the oldest in the world, was reformed by 27-year-old Kenny Cameron, who has since moved on to work with Spartans.

He wanted to recreate the organisation, set up by student lawyer John Hope almost 200 years ago, whose dream was to help working-class children in Dalry through the club.

Now the current manager, Ben Kivlin, wants to echo that early ethos.

“I want to make it a real community club and we’ve got plenty of ideas,” he said.

“We certainly like to use the gimmick of being the world’s oldest club, without being too cheeky about it, because it hasn’t run continuously though all that time.”

He also believes there are huge differences in attitude between men and women footballers.

“You definitely notice it going across to work with the women’s team if you’ve been coaching men,” he said.

“There’s no answering back, they listen to every word and follow instructions to a tee.”