Lifelong Motherwell supporter Amy Anderson is loving life after making her dream move to join the women of steel.
The former Hamilton captain has been decked out in claret and amber for as long as she can remember and is now living the dream on a weekly basis – turning out for the club she loves in SWPL1.
She is playing a big role, too. On Sunday she captained the side for the second time since arriving last summer, as they recorded a 2-1 victory at Accies to move back into the top half of the table – keeping the women of steel on course for their highest ever league finish.
“I’ve loved every minute of being here, I’d not worked with Paul (Brownlie) or Leanne (Crichton) before signing for Motherwell, but had played with some of the girls,” Anderson said. “I feel in the six months I have been here, I’ve become a better player.
“Paul sold me on joining the club, I’d heard a lot of good things about him and a number of players that he has coached are now playing for the national team.
“I felt Motherwell was a step up from Accies and the calibre of the players they were signing showed that. I wanted the chance to play with quality players like Leanne Crichton – I’m a midfielder as well and was looking for the opportunity to be playing beside her, which I’m lucky enough to do so at the moment.”
Sunday’s victory was Motherwell’s first of 2022, having drawn twice with Partick Thistle 2-2 in the space of seven days earlier this month. The first meeting with the Jags came in the Scottish Cup and in the end Brownlie’s side suffered an agonising penalty shootout defeat to exit the competition at the first hurdle.
Anderson admits their cup defeat came as a big disappointment and demonstrated there is still room for improvement in the latter stages of the season.
“Obviously the cup was disappointing, but as soon as it happened, we focused on putting it right in training,” she reflected. “Against Partick the following week we put in an improved performance although we were denied the win by an unfortunate mistake.”
During her brief time with Motherwell, Anderson has already experienced a few bucket-list moments, including her first goal in claret and amber and captaining the side, though she still has one more target in her sights.
This season Motherwell have put down roots at Alliance Park, the home of Lowland League side Caledonian Braves after years of flitting between various venues in the local area.
Anderson hopes that having a settled home ground will bring more consistent results, but admits the opportunity to play at Fir Park would be a dream come true.
“The manager has made me one of the vice captains this season, and I didn’t actually realise Gill (Inglis) was missing the game,” she recalled. “He phoned me on the morning of the game and said ‘you are captain today’, that was for the game against Celtic – I was quite taken aback, but it felt amazing to be fair.
“Getting the chance to wear the armband again for the Accies game at the weekend was brilliant, it was a big game against my former club and we were buzzing to get the win.
“I hope the chance to play at Fir Park is not too far away, I think with what Paul is doing behind the scenes and the support from Alan Burrows, that day might not be too far away – it would be a dream to walk out on to the pitch for a match.
“The only time I have stepped on the grass was with the Under 13s, we came on at half-time after we’d won a trophy, to do it with the first team would be amazing.”
As a youth player, Anderson was involved with Motherwell’s Under 13s team, before moving on to Glasgow City in a move which she felt best suited her football development.
On returning to the club, she has been impressed by the changes that have been implemented to the women’s setup, with young players having a clear pathway to the first team.
The Motherwell Girls’ Academy recently hosted an academy trial session at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility and a glowing endorsement for the progress being made followed as Ciara Duff, Jemma Hughes, Paige McAllister and London Pollard were all called up for the Scotland Under 19s women’s training camp.
“I was with the academy until Under 13s, though at that time Motherwell didn’t have a structure in place and that meant I had to move away,” she added. “Moving to Glasgow City allowed me to come on as a player and I got a few Scotland caps at Under 17s.
“It’s good to see some of the younger players receive recognition at Under 19s and hopefully they will be selected for the games as well, it would be great for Motherwell players to represent Scotland again.
“The four players that got selected deserve it, a lot of them only came to Motherwell this season and it shows the level of ambition they feel the club can give them, as well as a belief that the club can help them keep progressing through the international setup as well.”
In recent years, the success of the Scottish national team and increased coverage of the domestic game has helped increase the focus on the women’s game in Scotland.
Crowds continue to slowly rise, while the misconceptions and negative stereotypes are being more and more eroded from the game.
However, it comes as Stenhousemuir players were targeted for abuse following their Scottish Cup tie with Rangers.
Anderson admits these stories are frustrating to read, and believes they come from a place of ignorance.
“The people that make these comments tend to never have watched a game,” she said. “To comment on something as pathetic as that is really embarrassing.”
Sat alongside her dad Gary, Amy takes her usual seat in the Davie Cooper Stand.
The midfielder has been obsessed with all things ‘Well for as long as she remembers and credits her dad for his influence.
That is not to say it has always been as straightforward however, during her five seasons with Hamilton, Gary was faced with a predicament – could he bring himself to cheer on the Accies?
“The club means everything to me, as soon as I was old enough my dad had me in a Motherwell strip,” she added. “Not long after my first shirt, I had one with my name on the back and then I got my first season ticket – I’ve sat in the Davie Cooper Stand ever since.
“I think Motherwell might be punching above their weight again, but the quality we have middle to front can definitely hurt teams – if we can keep up the form we are in then we can certainly challenge for a European spot.
“My dad is a diehard ‘Well fan, he can be a bit cringy sometimes, but he’s really enjoying watching me play for the club.
“He used to say he didn’t like shouting ‘Come on Accies’, but felt like he had to because I was in the team. When I joined Motherwell he got the home strip with my name on the back – he was delighted.”
A huge influence on her career, Anderson will be forever grateful for her dad’s support.
Whether it be a home game at Alliance Park or long away trip, he is sure to be there to support his daughter and afterwards he will share his critique of her performance, focusing on both the positives and the negatives.
“My dad showed massive support to me, if we are playing Aberdeen he’ll try get the day off work to come, if it is a midweek in Edinburgh, he’ll do everything he can to be there,” she smiled.
“I appreciate his support so much, he doesn’t miss a game for me.
“When I come home he’ll tell me what I did well and tells me what he thinks I could improve on – he wants me to be the best version of myself – that drives me on every time I play.”