Alex Scott: Football Focus host ‘ready to bring her best self’ to new role

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Alex Scott will take over as the presenter of Football Focus after Dan Walker announced he was standing down at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old former Arsenal and England full-back made more than 200 club appearances during her playing career, earned 140 caps for her country and represented Great Britain at London 2012.

Alex becomes the show’s first permanent female host in its 47-year history and spoke to BBC Sport about how it feels to bring in a new era in front of one million weekly viewers.

When I was a kid, I would never have watched television and thought someone like me could be presenting a programme like Football Focus. For the BBC to trust me with this role and allow me to be my true, authentic self means a lot.

To say I’m the Football Focus presenter feels surreal. I’ve had some amazing messages and an incredible reaction on social media – I want to thank everyone for their support.

I had a lovely email from legendary Arsenal goalkeeper and presenter Bob Wilson who hosted the show for 20 years. Bob said how hard I’d worked for this and to make sure I took it all in. It was great advice and wise words from a legend who’s had the career path from footballer to hosting the iconic BBC show.

From day one, Dan Walker has guided me – and crucially he let me ask questions. Dan knew I wanted to be a presenter so he helped hone my skills and allowed me to step out of my ‘pundit’ comfort zone on the show. In fact, everyone around me – from Gabby Logan to Mark Chapman – and so many people behind the scenes have helped me to get to this point. It will never be lost on me that these kind, amazing people within the industry have supported and encouraged me to be the best I can be.

Towards the end of my footballing career, some were suggesting coaching and management but I had such a strong passion to take this path. I completed my degree in sports journalism and broadcasting, and countless work experience placements with Sky Sports, Arsenal TV and London Live. This was to ensure that not only I had the correct skills, but so no-one could ever question my place or my merit.

I was one of the first female pundits on the BBC and I clearly remember being determined to transcend from being labelled a ‘female pundit’ to ‘pundit’. Besides the statements surrounding my gender or my race, after being part of the BBC family for six years, I want people to see me on TV and think ‘she’s great at what she does’.

Everyone around me knows I have this passion for life and positivity – I never want to sit in a comfort zone. I absolutely love live TV – there’s a real buzz about it. You make mistakes but that’s life, no-one is perfect. I know that when I sit in that Football Focus chair I won’t be the finished article – and actually no-one ever is – you can always improve your craft, whatever that may be. Will there be judgement? Absolutely. But like any young footballer – when you give them a chance, you see their progression and development over time – you see them grow as a player, into a better, more confident athlete.

The first show in August will be exciting and I’m looking forward to it. Of course it’s going to be different but I hope you embrace it and stay with us. I promise you I will bring the best of myself to Football Focus and I hope you enjoy the ride.

Today it is all starting to feel real, and I am ready.

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