International Women’s Day: Breaking down the barriers in the JD Cymru Leagues

It is most certainly Her Game Too in the JD Cymru Premier – with Beccy Nuttall, the Chief Operating Officer of Haverfordwest County, leading the way.  

This weekend celebrates the campaign that promotes the involvement of women in all aspects of football, and Nuttall has been part of the game for well over a decade, spending years at Cardiff Met before embarking on a new challenge at Haverfordwest at the start of 2024. She has seen plenty of change in that time.

“Initially when I started in football, there were definitely a lot more barriers in place,” she recalls. “People just wouldn’t talk to me – they’d talk to the the male in the room.

“I wanted to change that narrative. I was always confident with what I was talking about was accurate. And as the years have passed, there’s definitely been a change in attitude towards women in sport.”

With a background in athletics herself – representing Wales as a middle-distance runner – it’s no wonder she’s so results-driven. But it’s perhaps a bit of a surprise that she works in football.

“I hated football growing up!” she laughs. “My dad used to work at Bury and Manchester United. My mum has always been a Manchester United fan. And I refused to go!

“Then when the men’s team at Cardiff Met got into the Cymru Premier, I was looking after all the junior sports programs. I truly enjoyed the administrative process of the football because it was outcome-driven, so we achieved something or we didn’t. Aled Lewis was my line manager at the time and he said to me, ‘You run with the football’. So I did and I loved the methodicalness around creating documents. I thrive on that sort of process.”

And there’s plenty more to come, with lots of ambitions for Haverfordwest’s future.

“We’ve got a blueprint. What I’m trying to do now is put some short term KPIs underneath the general strategies, looking at how we best achieve them. We are currently in the process of getting planning permission and some funding for a 3G pitch, which is probably one of the key things to allow us to move forward. We would love to develop a women’s team but because of the cost of having another team and [then needing to] outsource a team to an external facility – it’s just not sustainable.”

And Beccy is now being joined in the men’s game by more women – working across governance, officiating, sports science and more.

“There are more ambitious women in this man’s environment now. We’ve built so many relationships – I don’t feel like ‘the woman in the room’ now, it’s just about a group of people working collaboratively.”

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