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International Women's Day: Interview with Hayley McQueen

International Women's Day: Interview with Hayley McQueen

Date published: 08/03/2019
TV presenter Hayley McQueen opens West London sports hub
Hayley McQueen opens a new community sports hub at William Perkin High School in West London

Today marks the annual celebration of International Women's Day

To celebrate this year’s event, we wanted to shine the spotlight on some of the inspirational women working to change perceptions, break down barriers and make our national game more inclusive for the next generation. 

Hayley McQueen is one of these Women. A Football Foundation Ambassador, Hayley has worked as a TV sports presenter for Middlesbrough FC, Manchester United FC, FOX Sports and Sky Sports (a position she still holds to this day). She is heavily involved with community sports projects and is one-third of the award-winning podcast, The Offside Rule — an all-female-fronted football podcast and website. 

Ahead of International Women’s Day, we caught up with Hayley to ask her about her early football memories, her journey in the game and aboutthe women who inspire her most.  


Q. What are your early memories of watching/playing football? 

A. I never played football as a kid  it was just something the boys did in the playground in break-time. There were just no opportunities for females in the '80s where I grew up in Scotland sadly. I actually wasn't interested in football at all until around the age of ten, Italia 90 was the first real tournament I'd watched & loved. 

I was born in Manchester when dad played for the club but never saw him play — mum had her hands full with three kids all close in age so we stayed home. My favourite song as a child though was 'Glory Glory Man United' and I have footage of me, my sister and my brother dancing around a table to the song on repeat — it was a nice easy one to sing along too as well haha. I did watch Middlesbrough fairly regularly when we moved to Teesside and saw them through some amazing times in the 1990s as most weekends, I'd go to Ayresome Park or the Riverside.


Q. How important is it that we continue to increase media coverage and exposure of women’s sporting events such as the upcoming Women’s World Cup? 

A. It’s obviously hugely important to make sure Women's sport gets the coverage and headlines it deserves. The more the coverage, the more interest and the more help with sponsorship etc... which will help grow the sport. It’s also important to let the women and everyone involved with all the home nations at the World Cup that there is support behind them back home and that we are watching and willing them on. We should also be showing as much woman’s sport as possible to normalise it  I'd love young girls to have female sports role models and have plenty to choose from. 


Q. Did you always want to be a presenter in football? Did you experience any barriers trying to achieve this? 

A. I always wanted to work in the media, but I never knew what I wanted to do. I don't think I felt that I had the confidence to be a presenter so never set out to be one. Luckily, I worked behind the scenes for a fair few years before venturing in front of the camera and kind of fell into it. I did work for Sky for 9 months in my first real presenting job but didn't feel all that comfortable doing it and yes, I did get a lot of negative comments, mainly from men on twitter and a lot about appearance which was cruel. I am thick skinned now but not so much then. I actually left and went to MUTV to work in a few roles and grow in confidence and experience. Four years later I returned to Sky Sports.


Q. You’re organising a parade for International Women’s Day – who would you put on the main float?

A. Gosh, that is tough, I wouldn't have a headline float. There are obvious names like Jess Ennis-Hill, Tracey Neville, Serena Williams and Jo Pavey — these are the first names that spring to mind. But, there are so many unsung heroes in the world of sport from physios and doctors, TV producers, sport in the community volunteers, journalists, tea-ladies & receptionists etc... all should be celebrated on a day like this. It's about highlighting inclusion so I’d like to include as many people as I can from a wide cross-section. 

To find out more about Hayley's role with the Football Foundation, check out our Ambassadors page by clicking here



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"I'd love young girls to have female sports role models and have plenty to choose from" - Hayley McQueen

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