‘Spartans is not just a club’: Louise Mason praises club after reaching 250 appearances
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‘A family club’ is a phrase thrown about a lot these days, but it is wording no better suited to the Edinburgh club according to the creative playmaker. After seven years at Spartans across two different spells, the 30-year-old has truly become part of the furniture in the capital.
Her appearance in the side’s win 3-0 win against Montrose earlier in this month only emphasised this, as she became a sestercentennial as captain. Now, in her prime, after all her experiences in football, Mason insists that Spartans is a club like no other in the world of football.
“Our club is absolutely a family,” she told the Edinburgh Evening News. “We don’t have the luxury of affiliating ourselves with Celtic or Rangers, a big club with lots of money, that’s not what we are about. People see Spartans women come up on the newsfeed for the results on the weekend and talk about us playing in the SWPL. The men also got promoted which was fantastic last season which was great for the club in terms of recognition.
“Spartans is not just a football club, I say that to everyone that asks about us. Celtic and Rangers are football clubs, they are businesses, Spartans isn’t just a football club. There is so much more to Spartans that people don’t see, especially football fans. The work they do in the community, with girls, young people off the streets and involved in football is an absolute credit to Craig Graham and the job he has done here and everyone else involved. It certainly is a family and definitely not just a football club.”
The community aspect of the club has certainly been something the capital side has prided itself on over the years. The foundation at the club has always put the people in the city first with innovative programmes in youth and education helping to change lives.
This has helped become a massive pull factor for players coming into the club as many know they can make a positive impact off and on the pitch. Mason believes that her recent achievement also shows this with more players now sticking with Spartans for the long haul instead of moving on to different opportunities.
“It is a massive achievement for me and a massive achievement for the club,” Mason said after making her 250th appearance. “It says a lot about the club with players wanting to be here and wanting to be here long-term. It feels really good and exciting for me, and I hope there is many more to come. I don’t think there will be another 250 but hopefully another few.”
Mason comes from a line of footballers, with her dad and brother also playing in the beautiful game. The midfielder admits she took inspiration from the pair even though when she was young, making a career in football for herself was only a ‘dream’. Yet, her recent achievement has shown that ‘dream’ has now become a reality.
“Women in my generation, the thought of playing women’s football 15 years ago was just a dream,” she explained. “There was no real prospect of that, for us, it was about the love of the game and I’ve tried to stick to that. Now that there is money getting involved, that is fantastic and I am really happy for the younger girls in the team that are getting these opportunities. For me, it is not about the money or signing professional contracts and being able to tell everyone that I am a professional footballer.
“As far as I am concerned, as well as the ones that are getting a bit older, regardless of the money we have always conducted ourselves in a professional way. We have always played in a way that we would class as a professional way at the top level in Scotland. My dad and my brother played football so from an inspirational point of view, it has just been my family environment. I remember at the age of five or six, going to watch my dad every Saturday to play football. From there, I was kicking the football around on the side of the pitch, my dad took me to training and that was that, I was in love straight away.”
With 250 appearances now down for Mason, she has certainly confirmed herself as a legend of the club. Her love for Spartans has only grown as well as she confirms that she is now a fan of the Edinburgh side and was overjoyed when the men’s side got promoted to the league last season. With plenty of time left in her career, the 30-year-old is also hopeful she sees out the rest of her career at the club she loves.
“I’ll play until my body says that I can’t,” she added. “I have been really fortunate that throughout my career I haven’t had a serious injury, my body has always felt fit. Whether that’s 35 or 40, I will keep play until my body says that I can’t. Hopefully, that’s at Spartans but that is up to Debbi [McCulloch].
“I am absolutely a Spartans fan now and a lot of us go and watch the men whenever we can. We were with them every step of the way in the playoffs and when they got promoted. We are all Spartans fans, and we are certainly rooting for the men to do well.”