Conference South Outfit Appoint A Woman Manager

Fisher Athletic have rewarded a turnstile operator's fund-raising skills with a chance to manager the team for the day. The decision has caused controversy in some sectors...
A south London club in the Conference South will make history on Wednesday evening when the division's first female manager will take control of managerial duties as a reward for raising £500 for the cash-strapped club who are also struggling for form.

Donna Powell, 27, is usually a turnstile operator, but club higher-ups decided to hand the wannabe coach a shot at first-team coaching when Fisher Athletic host Eastleigh on February 18. 

Fisher Athletic's regular manager Dave Mehmet will step down for the game, and Powell insists that she will be playing the way she wants to play, which will emphasis on-the-floor football, as opposed to route one.

The decision has been met with controversy from some quarters though, as one opponent feels the appointment "devalues the league."

Powell though is delighted to be offered the chance, and will draw on her experience of coaching kids football in order to see her through the 90 minutes.

"I am confident I can do well - I already run a boys' football team," Powell explained to the club's website. "I am no shrinking violet and do not suffer fools lightly.

"I'll be picking the team and they'll be playing my way, none of this long ball nonsense - we'll be passing the ball on the floor, playing the game the right way.

"Sure, I'll be nervous - I realise there's a difference between kids' football and the Conference South but I see it as football is football no matter how old they are - and I know my stuff," she confidently claimed.

Joe Arif - the club's press officer - said: "If Donna can turn things round, then maybe there's a permanent position in future."

Athletic have gone ten games without recording a single point, and are languishing at the basement of the division.

David Malone, who is the director of football for Eastleigh - the club whom Fisher will be competing against on Wednesday evening, believes the club's decision to appoint Powell belittles the league.

"I'm not particularly happy about it, simply because what they've done is unprofessional," he told BBC Radio Solent.

"Fisher have done it for financial reasons, but I don't think being manager of a Blue Square South team is a saleable commodity,"

He stressed: "I don't want to sound like a grumpy old man but at this stage of the season we're working extremely hard to get our side up into the Blue Square Premier, and I think the whole thing is just badly timed."

Alan Dawson,