AS is now normal, Erin Cuthbert and her Chelsea team-mates were told they had won the 2019-20 FA Women's Super League courtesy of a medium few of us were aware of until very recently.

“We learned about it on a group Zoom call before it was announced officially,” the Scotland player confirmed. “It's an amazing feeling and it was nice to see everybody's faces when we found out.”

The FA board met on Thursday night and made it known the following morning that points per game would determine the title winners. That made Chelsea, and not Manchester City who were a point ahead but had played a game more, champions.

The FA also decided that Liverpool – whose men's team under Jurgen Klopp will assuredly win the Premier League when it resumes later this month – would be relegated. Championship champions Aston Villa take their place.

As well as Cuthbert, former Hibernian forward Jamie-Lee Napier is a member of the Chelsea squad. It's not clear, however, whether she will have played enough league minutes to be eligible for a winners' medal; a club spokesperson was unable to confirm either way.

Remarkably, given she is only 21, the hugely talented and tenacious Cuthbert has won the WSL title three times. Following her move from Glasgow City she was in the side which won the truncated Spring Series in 2017 – and when England moved to a winter season Chelsea prevailed again in 2017-18.

“We won the title away to Bristol on a Tuesday night and we celebrated on the bus on the way home,” she recalled of the last occasion. “But we still had to play Liverpool at the weekend and we wanted to finish the season unbeaten, which we did.

“Obviously it's weird circumstances how we've won it this time. We wanted to play all the games to show we were the best team. But we were unbeaten again and beat all the other teams.”

Cuthbert's elation was her Scotland team-mate Caroline Weir's misfortune. “I might let the dust settle before speaking to her,” the Chelsea player admitted. “I know if I was in Man City's position I'd be disappointed the league hasn't resumed, but there are more important things than football right now.

On that note, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes dedicated the title win to the pandemic frontline workers, describing them as the real heroes. Cuthbert, who is now back in London after spending most of the lockdown with her family in Ayrshire, concurs.

“It's only right our manager has come out and dedicated the title to them – they have been putting themselves on the line and are doing so much for us,” she said “Our job is trying to win games, whereas there's is to save lives.

“Our next-door-neighbour in Scotland is a frontline worker and we were outside the house for the NHS clapping about five weeks ago when she actually arrived home in her car. She got a standing ovation and was so happy that all her neighbours were paying their respects.

“What they do is much more significant, and always will be. That's what must be remembered, but at the same time we will be celebrating what we have achieved through hard work over ten months.”

Cuthbert had no inkling that her last 90 minutes of football would be the 2-1 win over Northern Ireland at the Pinatar Arena on March 10. She changed the nature of the game with a terrific swerving equaliser after Scotland had been on the back foot.

“We were in a bubble in Spain because we were staying in a hotel in the middle of nowhere and didn't really know what was happening back in the UK,” she recalled. “It's so nice to know that in the last few games I played Chelsea won the Conti (League) Cup and Scotland the Pinatar Cup.

“Now with the league it's three trophies. Hopefully we'll be back playing sooner rather than later, and of course once it's safe to do so. I'm eager and ready to go.”


WHILE the most likely scenario for the WSL is a return to training in July with a new season starting in September, the prospects for women's football in Scotland resuming any time soon continue to be remote.

The SWPL clubs had another zoom meeting last week and the likely best case scenario now is for a completely new season to start in late October. According to a source the clubs have agreed to finish such a season by mid-May in order to determine who represents Scotland in the 2021-22 Champions League.