Alex Scott will take over the helm of Football Focus after Dan Walker decided to step 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, won 140 caps for her country and represented Great Britain in London in 2012.
Alex becomes the show’s first permanent female host in its 47-year history, speaking to BBC Sport about what it feels like to usher in a new era in front of a million weekly viewers.
As a kid, I would never have watched TV and thought someone like me could do a show like Football Focus. It means a lot to the BBC to trust me in this role and allow myself to be my true, authentic self.
To say I’m the host on Football Focus feels surreal. I’ve had some amazing news and an incredible response on social media – I want to thank everyone for their support.
I had a lovely email from legendary Arsenal goalkeeper and host Bob Wilson, who hosted the show for 20 years. Bob said how hard I worked for this and to make sure I took it all in. It was great advice and wise words from a legend who made the career path from soccer player to host of the legendary BBC show.
From day one, I was guided by Dan Walker – and crucially, that he let me ask questions. Dan knew I wanted to be a presenter, so he helped me improve my skills and allowed me to step out of my “expert” comfort zone on the show. In fact, everyone around me – from Gabby Logan to Mark Chapman – and so many people behind the scenes helped me get to this point. I will never lose that these kind, amazing people in the industry supported and encouraged me to be the best that I can be.
Towards the end of my football career, some coaches and management suggested, but I was so passionate about going that route. I completed my studies in sports journalism and broadcasting and completed countless internships at Sky Sports, Arsenal TV and London Live. This was to ensure that not only did I have the right skills, but that no one could ever question my place or my earnings.
I was one of the first female experts at the BBC, and I still remember vividly that I was determined not to be called a “female expert” but an “expert”. Aside from saying anything about my gender or race, I want people to see me on TV and think that she is great at what she does after being part of the BBC family for six years.
Everyone around me knows that I have this passion for life and determination – I never want to sit in a comfort zone. I absolutely love live TV – there is a real craze for it. You make mistakes, but that’s life, nobody is perfect. I know that when I sit in this Football Focus chair, I won’t be the finished item – and actually no one ever is – that whatever that may be, you can always improve your craft. Will there be a verdict? Absolutely. But like any young footballer – if you give them a chance, you will see them evolve and develop over time – you will see them grow up as a player to be a better, more confident athlete.
The first show in August will be exciting and I’m looking forward to it. Of course it will be different, but I hope you will accept it and stay with us. I promise I will bring the best of me to Football Focus and I hope you enjoy the ride.
Today everything feels real and I’m ready.