At first, it was funny: Phil Neville coaching the England Lionesses? Ha! Of course it was just a rumor, right?
But then Claire Rafferty confirmed that Neville was in the running to BBC Radio.
Although it’s considered a bad idea in the women’s soccer community, sources are calling him the number one candidate.
Not too long ago, when he was trying to be Everton’s head coach, he was not taken seriously.
So why would Neville be a serious candidate to coach the 3rd best women’s team in the world? He has very little managerial experience and zero experience in the women’s game. Before this, the man had never had any interest in women’s football and only started following England Lionesses on Twitter this past week.
The idea of Neville as a candidate apparently started out as “banter” and then turned into an actual thing.
But, the chief executive of the FA, Martin Glenn, recently said that “banter” isn’t tolerated by these here womenfolk.
“I guess banter would be a case in point... But I think it’s fair to say is what we’ve seen is there are probably some differences in what [women] would expect to hear or say.”
“And, you know, that has to be seen as a fact. So what we’ve done is sucked it up and said, ‘ok right, how do we get more sophisticated? How do we manage these differences?’ And that is the substance of what we are doing today. All you can do is learn.”
Ummm........ okay. I truly hope that the FA is serious about learning and growing. They are taking some steps in the right direction. But, given that Mark Sampson was sacked for inappropriate behavior and not properly vetted, shouldn’t the FA be scrutinizing the candidates? Say, with a quick look at Neville’s public Twitter account?
They need to stop considering Neville as a top contender to lead a group of elite female athletes because he does not have a good record on women’s issues.
Here are some concerning things regarding Phil Neville and women:
1. Lingerie Football
Phil Neville has had said little to nothing about women’s football in public. The only women’s team he has promoted in the past is one that played in their underwear.
Neville, along with his brother and a few other former players, own a hotel that hosted the Lingerie Football League.
The founder of Chelsea Ladies created a petition asking them not to promote the Lingerie Football League.
The petition read:
This will expose women footballers who have worked so hard to have the right to play football away from all the sexism and prejudices endured by their predecessors.
2. Phil Neville has antiquated views about women
He once tweeted: “Morning men villa home today” to which many people responded by asking, “Hey, what about women though?”
His response is mind boggling. It’s as if if were written in 1892 or something:
You know women! Too busy to check Twitter because they are ALWAYS MAKING THE BEDS! Today I called out of work because I told them, “Too busy MAKING THE BEDS!” And forget thinking about football! There are THE BEDS TO BE MADE!
Phil Neville doesn’t believe in equal partnership and most certainly does not #LeanInTogether. It’s been well documented that he has never done a single household chore in his life.
3. Thinks that the first female US Presidential candidate to win the popular vote should “go away”
Soccer coaches can have whatever political views they want but this is more evidence that he has a certain kind of worldview. A worldview that is really really really not good for women:
4. His “banter” is really not cool
If the FA is really worried about that good ol’ banter and those pesky women getting all offended, maybe stay away from candidates that respond to comments about your wife like this:
So the FA is chummy with Phil. The idea of him being a candidate was the result of banter and now considered a way for him to get his foot in the door at the FA.
Will the FA ask Phil Neville what his views on women are? Or what he considers appropriate or inappropriate to say around female players? How he would handle a female player that questions him? Can he even answer, “Who won player of the month in the WSL 1 for November?”
(It was Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Phil, if you are reading. At the very least, learn about her and put her on your radar!)
Mo Marley could answer the question easily. She is a former Everton Ladies player and coach and is winning games as the current Lionesses interim manager.