Football crazy: Oldest football club starts women’s team

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The new team: coach Sammy Hylett (front) with Laura Scott, Becky Brown, Gemma Rennie, Susan Stirling, Eve Brindley, Frederike Mansfield, Alicia Soriano, Fiona Kilpatrick, Laura Thomson and Alison Differ

THE WORLD’s oldest football club has finally created a women’s team – 200 years after it formed.

The Foot Ball Club banned women from joining when it was founded in Edinburgh in 1824 but, after holding out for 188 years, is now creating a female squad.

The club is recruiting sponsors and players to form the women’s team in time to enter a league in March.

Manager of the women’s team, Sammy Hyett, 25, turned down the offer of the post initially to focus on her own playing career.

But a career-threatening injury made her reconsider the offer.

The construction worker from Edinburgh 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.

Stereotypes

“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.”

The team train twice a week and in the club’s recent pre-season friendly they triumphed 9-3.

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

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

In February 2008, the club – which claims to be the oldest in the world – was reformed by 27-year-old Kenny Cameron, who has since moved to Spartans.

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

Now, the current manager, Ben Kivlin, wants to maintain 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 through all the time.”

The manager of the club said that the differences between the men’s and women’s attitudes are very noticeable.

“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 the instructions to a tee.”

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