Assumptions were often made about Lisa Fallon when she worked in men’s football. She tells SSN’s Paul Gilmour she’s in the right job at the right time with London City Lionesses
By Paul Gilmour, Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 06/07/20 2:28pm
As part of the scouting team at Cork City, Lisa Fallon was at a Europa League tie when she received an unexpected comment.
The opposition team manager asked if she was the travel agent representing the Irish side – and it wasn’t the only assumption on her journey into football management.
The new London City Lionesses boss was often mistaken for the physio, despite being involved in over 25 Champions League and Europa League qualifiers in the men’s game.
There have been no such issues with those she has impressed along the way, including Chelsea manager Emma Hayes and Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill.
“It genuinely hasn’t been an issue with those I’ve worked with. They’ve all judged me on being able to bring value to the set-up,” Fallon tells Sky Sports News.
“I’ve loved every part of the journey. Every part has challenged me in different ways. Working in various environments has been brilliant because you experience different cultures.”
The Lionesses have appointed a manager with an impressive CV. In the early days, Fallon became the first woman to manage an Irish men’s side when amateur club Lakelands offered her the job.
“It was football. I met the players, took a training session and the players were great,” she adds.
“Maybe they didn’t know what to expect but I know they enjoyed it because they were all there for the next one!”
Spells at Bohemians and Cork City followed. Part of her role at the latter was penalty-kick analysis.
Cork scored all five penalties in the final as they lifted the FAI Cup in November 2017 and completed a domestic double at the expense of Dundalk.
Working with the Northern Ireland senior men’s side, she produced motivational videos for the players as Michael O’Neill’s side qualified for a first European Championships.
She was also part of the Dublin GAA set-up as they won a prestigious All-Ireland title in 2018.
Zoom chats, Chelsea, and challenges ahead
Now UEFA pro licence holder Fallon has taken on her first management job as London City Lionesses prepare to kick off their Women’s Super League 2 season in the coming months.
The Lionesses finished fourth when the Championship season was curtailed.
“I’m delighted,” Fallon said of her appointment.
“Once I had the chance to speak to chairwoman Diane Culligan, I could see there was an opportunity to build something at the club. The timing felt right.”
Thank you so much for all the messages & good wishes! I’m so genuinely happy to have this opportunity and can’t wait to get working with the players. Very, very grateful to all the people who have helped & supported me. Am really looking forward to this exciting new chapter ⚽️🦁 https://t.co/mr8S9kbnqR
— Lisa Fallon (@lisafallonsport) May 27, 2020
The early days in the job involved hours of video conferencing – so what’s it like meeting your players via Zoom?
“It’s different, but the key is being able to adapt and adjust,” she says.
“You are getting to see people at home and see their dogs! It’s been great to see people face to face rather than over the phone.”
Her last role was working as an analyst and strategy coach under Emma Hayes at Chelsea.
“It’s an incredible club with incredible infrastructure,” she adds. “The work Emma has done for the women’s game has got to be lauded. She is fantastic.”
Fallon is not expecting the game to suffer drastically from the impact of coronavirus.
“I think there’s a great passion for women’s football and the growth has been significant over the last few years. I just don’t see that stopping,” she says.
“The women’s game has encountered many challenges through its journey and I don’t see this being a challenge that will knock it too far back.
“There are too many people who believe in the game for anything other than the development to continue.”
Her track record points to progress and ultimately success. The Lionesses are going places under Fallon, and that should be the only travel agent comparison.