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By Faye Hackwell Brighton and Hove Albion are the latest club to become a Her Game Too partner, committing to being a welcoming and inclusive place for all.

The Seagulls are the 74th Premier League and English Football League club to pledge support for our campaign, and Albion fan Alice Botting has stepped forward into the role of Her Game Too’s Brighton and Hove Albion Ambassador.

Sarah Gould, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Brighton and Hove Albion, said: “We are delighted to be working with Her Game Too on ensuring our matchday experience at both the Amex and Broadfield stadium is truly inclusive for our female supporters. 

“As an organisation we pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming for everyone.”

With a men’s side competing in the Premier League and Europa League knockout stages and a women’s team in the Women’s Super League, Alice is looking forward to working in partnership with the club she has supported since childhood to promote Her Game Too’s aims at the Albion and in the surrounding area.

Last week, she represented Her Game Too at the Amex when Brighton and Hove Albion invited female school, college and university students to hear from women working at the club about the range of career opportunities in football.

As well as spreading the word about the campaign among the attending students at the Finding Your Feet in Football careers event, Alice will speak about the new partnership and her ambassador role on the pitch at half-time when the men’s team host Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Sunday.

Football has always been a passion of Alice’s - from her reaction as a three-year old to becoming a big sister being “Yay, someone to play football with!” to hiding behind the sofa with her mum five years later, watching England lose to Argentina on penalties at France 98.

She began going to watch Brighton with her mum and remembers chilly afternoons at The Withdean, where Brighton played temporarily between 1999 and 2011 while The Amex at Falmer was being built, walking around the athletics track to keep warm.

“I’m not really sure I had much of a choice but to go at that age, but as I became a teenager I was already hooked,” Alice recalls.

In the years that have followed, she’s seen her fair share of ups and downs - quite literally - as a Seagulls fan.

“Being regularly relegated is tough, we’ve been in the bottom league and we’ve been homeless!

“One of my best memories is when we beat Manchester City on penalties in 2008 in the League Cup - that was huge for us and I would say even more so than winning play-offs and promotions.

“Promotion to the Premier League was amazing, although I was in Peru when it happened which was a one-off experience!

“But most obviously would be the end of last season and qualifying for Europe.

“That really was a ‘we made it’ moment.”

Alice has only missed a handful of Brighton and Hove Albion games, home and away, in the last five years and she has overall had a positive experience as a fan.

“I think I have been quite lucky in that I haven’t recently experienced sexism at games, other than one instance at West Ham away when a man next to me found it appropriate to make comments like ‘does your boyfriend know you’re here?’ and ‘oh, I’m surprised you understand the rules’ throughout the whole game.

“Other than that it’s not something I’ve really noticed since I was a lot younger.”

Alice wants other supporters to have the same positive experience of following their team that she’s had, which is why she decided to become a Her Game Too Ambassador.

“Everyone deserves to have a positive footballing experience, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, religion or race.

“I honestly think I’m lucky to be a Brighton fan, as we do have an inclusive club, but that doesn’t mean everyone has had the positive experiences I’ve had and I want to help them have them.”

Among her hopes and ambitions in her role for this season are building relationships with others involved in the club and getting information about the campaign put up around the ground.

“It would be great to be in a society where no-one sees gender differences when it comes to football - from the supporters up to the management and commentators.

“As someone who goes to football with her mum and other female fans, I think it’s so important that we all feel equal.”


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