Maria-Louise Eta made a little bit of history this week as she became the first female assistant coach in the Bundesliga.

The 31-year-old will assist Union Berlin’s interim manager Marco Grote until a new permanent manager is found after she was moved up from the under-19s to the Bundersliga.

Eta’s promotion, however temporary, is notable and not just because of the optics of her appointment.

The uncommon nature of such appointments makes it news; it still feels groundbreaking.

This week on PLZ Soccer’s Women’s Football show former Scotland internationalist Leanne Crichton suggested that the next step for women’s football is for more female coaches to start making an impact on the men’s side of the game.

Making the point that there are umpteen examples of men coaching in the women’s side but not too many examples of the flipside, it was a remark that ruffled a few feathers, judging by the comments her argument prompted.

That it should appear to be such a radical step for so many to absorb would highlight just how challenging it is for women still to be taken seriously when it comes to being part of the game.

For many generations, women playing football were judged just as harshly.

The infamous ban on women’s involvement that spanned 50 years after a judgement - passed by men - that it was quite unsuitable for females, didn’t just hinder opportunities, game growth and development but shaped cultural attitudes that still reveal themselves even now as Kevin Keegan’s recent remarks would testify.

Women still find themselves in positions where they need to justify their presence.

Rose Reilly, arguably Scotland’s most prominent female player in terms of her profile and backstory, cut her hair as a kid so that she would look like a boy simply in order to play football.

In the modern era of football classes from toddler age for both sexes all the way up to walking football and over 50s recreational football, that feels almost suffragette in its struggle.

Sarina Wiegman, manager of the England side who has overseen European Championship success and taken England to a World Cup final has been linked with roles within the men's game - and rightly so. She remarked recently how when she was growing up all she heard was that little girls did not play football.

Those attitudes have softened considerably but it would still feel remarkable to have a female in charge of a male team - think of what happened when Forest Green unveiled Hannah Dingley as caretaker boss and how it was interpreted.

This week there was also confirmation that Emma Hayes will bow out of Chelsea at the end of this season and head to the States to take on the position of the USWNT manager, one of the original superpowers of the women’s game.

Charged with restoring that reputation, Hayes will become the highest paid female manager in the women’s game with an annual salary of $2m (£1.6m) a year. It matches that of men’s manager Gregg Berhalter after the 2022 agreement with the US Football Federation that committed to equal pay to its male and female senior sides.

“I worked in this job for £6000 a year at one point,” said Hayes this week when she was queried on the figure. “Money has never been a motivator.”
Striving for respect in terms of remuneration and status still has a way to go. 


In the frantic climax to last season’s SWPL title, Glasgow City quietly went about their business as the pressure built after an eight-point lead was eaten into by Celtic and Rangers.

The script is well known by now as Lauren Davidson netted at Ibrox to deliver the title in the most thrilling of circumstances and nick the title from under the noses of Celtic.

If it showed anything it was the experience and character within Leanne Ross’ side who have been over the course more times than another team in the league.

There has been a whiff of those powers becoming increasingly compromised of late with the group stages of the Champions League proving to be a bridge too far again while Celtic’s win over City last weekend in the Sky Sports Cup - a game, incidentally, that wasn’t actually shown on, erm, Sky Sports - was Fran Alonso’s fifth successive win over City.

If it points to a chink in their armour, it will be intersting to see how that plays out this afternoon when they host Jo Potter’s Rangers, the only team who can still boast of unbeaten status in the league.

The expectation is that Rangers will manipulate those vulnerabilities and turn the screw on the reigning champions. Ross bristled this week as she insisted that she hopes observers do write City off and it will be interesting to see just what layers this afternoon’s game at Petershill reveals.


Partick Thistle must have felt like tweeting two fingers up to the rest of the world on Wednesday night when they returned from their midweek trip to Pittodrie with all three points in the bag.

Brian Graham’s side headed north without a number of key players who were unable to free themselves from work commitments to fulfill the rescheduled fixture.

In between his own day job as Thistle striker and women’s manager, Graham was stuck on the phone as he called round headmasters and fire chiefs begging for shift swaps and periods to be freed up so that his players could make the game.

Coming away with a 3-1 win to lift his side into fourth spot would have felt like the sweetest of ripostes.

It nevertheless, however, magnifies the disparity within the league as those outwith the top three struggle to put full-time contracts on the table.