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‘There’s no use waiting around. You need to speak directly to people and push for equality.

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Tommy Docherty once said he had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus.

uesha littlejohn might boast similarly; If you separate her four stays at Glasgow City, she had 17 in total; The pros in Augusta are only allowed 14 this week.

Their roaming is a function of a sport that was once a ramshackle amateur operation where its players were paupers.

As she surveys the scene now, at 31, and plunges into a multi-million pound competition that has made her the envy of the world, she could be forgiven for wryly recalling what could have been.

Instead, she’s full of energy to make the best of what’s coming.

Last summer was a case in point as she pondered her next move. Disappointed with the sordid treatment in Birmingham City, she looked for an exit.

Aston Villa, whose lavish decor on Bodymoor Heath includes both men and women, proved the perfect home.

“I said earlier about last season in Birmingham that maybe the treatment and mentoring for the women’s team wasn’t there,” says the talented playmaker, who has returned to Ireland’s center after recent Achilles difficulties.

“It’s getting better, of course there’s still work to be done, but at the moment I think we’re a bit ahead of Birmingham in that regard.

“They take care of players in the women’s team, the care and way they take care of us is better. So it’s easier to work and do your job when you have the support of the club.

“It starts with training pitches, you can go training and not be pushed off the pitch. Access to your gym, you can go in at any time.

“We’re not in the men’s gym at the moment, but we have our own gym and I think they want to improve that a bit too.

“Last season you had to leave the training ground and go to another gym, stuff like that, trouble you don’t need.

“Locker rooms, we have our own facility, we have our own space. All of that helps.

“It’s just a little bit of respect. Literally the basics you need to run and get your job done.”

The way she sees it, she doesn’t have time to mess with people who want to mess with her.

“Exactly,” she trills in her familiar Scottish accent.

“I remember talking to a couple of younger players a while back about how you want things to get better because I’m not getting younger.

“So if things need to be sorted or you need to talk to clubs about things that need to get better, there’s no point in waiting.

“You used to say nothing, you accepted it, but the way the game is going you realize how short careers are.

“You have to nip it in the bud and talk to people directly and really push for equality, that’s all.”

She has come the long way. From pay to play to pay to play.

“You had maybe one game a month and got paid for that game. So it was £250 a game and that was it.

“I was still working back then and that should have been us in a professional league back then. But it’s a long way, everyone in WSL is professional, some of the championship clubs are professional.

“You see Liverpool rising again now but when they went down they came out that the treatment they received back then was shocking.

“Jürgen Klopp spoke about it. It’s nice to see that they care now and support the women’s team and do well, they gave them the platform.”

Professionalism is accepted as an athlete’s mindset, but it may not always be reflected by those in charge.

“I can maybe return to teams in Scotland and they are professional but I don’t know what they are like because they don’t have everything they need.

“But they have a professional name because they train five days a week.”

The comfortable paradox of vast improvement in fortunes and conditions in the WSL means the next generation has never had it so good.

Maybe too good?

“It’s actually funny, but that’s true,” she muses.

“I would say not here because the league isn’t professional in Ireland, but moving to England gives people a lot too soon.

“And when things get a little bit difficult, they don’t really know how to react, they feel sorry for themselves instead of interfering.

“To have to fight for his place and maybe – I don’t want to sound too harsh – but they might have a little bit of entitlement.

“But it’s because of how the game is gone. But hopefully people are learning and the support is there for them to deal with these situations and not think ‘poor me’.”

Littlejohn’s wealth of experience will never allow her to take anything for granted.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/international-soccer/there-is-no-point-waiting-about-you-need-to-speak-to-people-directly-and-push-for-equality-41527805.html ‘There’s no use waiting around. You need to speak directly to people and push for equality.

Fry Electronics Team

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