Tartan Army prepares to march on France to support Scotland’s women

Matt Noble in Switzerland for Scotland’s qualifier

Scotland’s men have failed to qualify for a major final since France 1998. Although the Tartan Army travel in large numbers for their qualification matches, there is nothing like heading to the finals where you are guaranteed three games, an amazing party and to meet new friends.

Veterans still talk about the atmosphere in Bordeaux on the eve of the match against Norway in 1998, where fans mingled and celebrated the world’s game so famously, that supporters of other sides started arriving from other parts of France to join in, including it must be said genuine and good-natured England fans, tired of the hooliganism and violence that followed their side in those days.

However, now the passports are being dusted off and the piggy bank raided, but this time it’s in support of Scotland’s women who have qualified for the World Cup finals in France for the first time ever.

Scotland has a female First Minister in Nicola Sturgeon and is one of the more advanced nations in Europe on a range of women’s rights issues. It would probably be fair to recognise though that support for women’s football has had some ground to make up.

That’s about to change. 

Matt Noble is a software developer from Glasgow and he has already booked his flights to France. He spoke to us before the draw on December 8th.

“Like every Scotland fan, I have been waiting for over twenty years to experience the buzz of travelling to a major tournament with the Tartan Army.

“I really hope that enough of us travel to France next year so that we can recreate the atmosphere of France ’98. I can’t wait for the draw next week, where I’d love it if we could pull off the 1 in 18 chance to get drawn in the opening match against France at the Parc des Princes.

“It would be such a special event if we could play France again in the venue where James McFadden score his famous goal in 2007, and repeat our France ’98 opening match appearance.”

Matt Noble, Scotland fan

In the end, the draw partly satisfied Matt.

Scotland did not draw France in the opening game, but he does get to visit the scene of one of Scotland’s greatest moments ever, as the Dark Blues will face Argentina in Paris on June 19th in their third game.

As well as Argentina, Scotland will face neighbours England in Nice on June 9 and Japan in Rennes on June 14.

Although it’s not an easy group, it is far from impossible. Japan came out of Pot 2, a pot which also included the dangerous Netherlands, Sweden, Brazil, Spain and Norway .

Argentina were one of the stronger sides from Pot 4 however, which also included Chile, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa and Jamaica.

Matt is a loyal supporter of Scotland for both the men’s and women’s game

Matt is looking forward to it and anticipates the Tartan Army will travel to France in huge numbers.

“I’d guess it might be around 1,000-2,000. This is based on what felt like around 500 in the Netherlands in 2017, and on the growth in support for the women’s team since then added to the greater prominence of the World Cup compared to the Euros.”

Matt Noble, Scotland fan

He is not a recent recruit to supporting the women’s team but now sees the opportunity to narrow the disparity in the support between the men’s and the women’s games.

“I have been attending Scotland women’s matches since 2013. As a big football fan and a big Scotland fan, I will eagerly support any successful Scotland football team – and it has been clear for a number of years that the women’s team has the potential to achieve the kind of success that the men’s team hasn’t enjoyed for decades.”

“With that in mind, it has been frustrating to see the disparity in support between the men’s and women’s teams. While the men’s team can get 50,000 fans at Hampden for a big game, the record attendance for the women’s team is under 5,000.

“The disparity is even bigger between the financial investment in men’s and women’s football in Scotland, and women’s football is still very much viewed as a lesser sport. Over the past few years I have been doing everything I can to promote the women’s team among my friends, and I am hopeful that I can get a few of them to come along to France next year.”

Matt Noble, Scotland fan

If the upsurge in chat on the Facebook Page for fans of the Scotland Women’s team is anything to go by,  Shelley Kerr and her side will not be short of support when they run out to face the Lionesses in Nice.


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