Thank you, Emma Hayes, for your honesty, sensitivity, and trophies

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By Creative Media News

  • Emma Hayes transforms Chelsea, from underdog to European contender
  • Hayes’s dedication to women’s football goes beyond on-field success
  • Chelsea’s rise under Hayes fueled by resource allocation and patience

A few weeks ago, on a wet Saturday evening, Chelsea was in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. From east to west London, I traveled to Fulham Broadway station, where I met up with my companions in front of the Kona Kai cocktail bar, which was situated in direct opposition to the bustling Stamford Bridge.

As soon as we ascended to our perch in the Matthew Harding Stand, squeezing past a few spectators, it dawned on me that I was sitting in a sold-out stadium. In my vicinity, admirers were hoisting blue flags and chanting in support of Emma Hayes and the Chelsea team that she had meticulously assembled. That was the moment in time when I realized her influence in its entirety.

Over the course of a decade and a half, Hayes transformed Chelsea from an underdog to a domestic powerhouse that made an impact in Europe. While many will primarily remember her on-field prowess in leading Chelsea to 15 titles in 12 years, her broader dedication to the professionalization of women’s football will also leave a lasting impression on me.

Hayes initially traveled from Camden to Cobham on a moped. The women’s training complex lacked the opulent grounds, dedicated coaching staff, and elite players of today. The majority of the participants were still in their spare time, and none of the league games were broadcast on television.

“At the time, our workspace was devoid of physical infrastructure, including a desk and any sort of building.” “We probably didn’t even possess a bag of balls,” the speaker said. The women’s team’s lack of investment would have disheartened the majority of individuals, but Hayes could not help but exclaim, “Oh my goodness, consider the potential here.” It contains every item. Could I possibly assemble everything in order to form a team of international caliber?” That’s exactly what she did.

I was ecstatic about Chelsea’s ascent after 2015, during which they challenged Arsenal’s dominance and surpassed them at the summit of the standings. However, in recent times, my focus has shifted towards contemplating the process of acquiring that knowledge. Hayes propelled the organization forward by promoting resource allocation for women’s infrastructure development. They gradually acquired a stronger general manager, players, and equipment.

Her tireless work in the background laid the groundwork for the current advancements in women’s football. For the greater good, Chelsea endured a challenging couple of seasons, coming perilously close to relegation in Hayes’s first complete season, through an uncommon display of patience.

Despite her success, Hayes’s long-term perspective is what has earned her my admiration, not only as a coach but also as an individual. Although her primary objective has been to achieve success with Chelsea, she has developed into a leader who strives to enhance the overall state of domestic women’s football. She frequently uses her platform to address the issues that plague the sport.

Her methodology for tracking the menstrual cycles of athletes was especially revolutionary. Hayes and her backroom personnel began monitoring the squad’s menstrual and sleep patterns in August 2019, with the intention of customizing training sessions. In light of the fact that menstruation can induce appetites and impair dexterity, monitoring each player’s period status can not only enhance their physical performance but also their well-being. She stated, “We must assist them,” in the DAZN documentary One Team, One Dream.

As usual, Hayes acted with compassion, given that she was a former player and sufferer of endometriosis. Chelsea fans honor her because she is one of the most “human” managers I’ve ever encountered.

Her chronic endometriosis necessitated an emergency hysterectomy in October 2022, prompting a tremendous show of support from both players and supporters, demonstrating the club’s inclusive affection for her. Chelsea welcomed her back into the fold with a sold-out Stamford Bridge match against Tottenham, having won all six of the games she missed.

Despite enduring such adversity, she utilized her platform to reestablish her concentration on the greater scheme of things. “Prior to that Spurs game, I realized that my privilege had alleviated my suffering,” she declared. However, her suffering and pain were no different from those of every other individual, as a half-million women have endured an extended wait to see a gynecologist.

Her views have not always been my own. In recent months, her remarks regarding male aggression and inter-player relationships have failed to resonate with certain individuals. However, she readily acknowledges that she is not immune to making mistakes. “Because they are human, all leaders will inevitably make poor decisions at some stage in their careers,” she wrote in her book Kill the Unicorn. “Everyone else lacks a crystal ball.” Possibly the best course of action is to not heed the hype.”

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However, because of my faith in Hayes, I cannot help but believe the hoopla surrounding her. While her track record provides support, it is the minor details that ultimately determine the outcome. Her mic drops and mid-press conference poetry exemplify her unwavering dedication to authenticity. Her candidness, peculiarities, and flaws are the things that draw me to her.

By establishing a model for future administrators entering women’s football, she has paved the way for an individual to further develop domestic women’s soccer. She once expressed her desire for every women’s match to fill the venue [Stamford Bridge] to capacity. That is my objective. “I will potentially perish while attempting to get there all at once; that much is certain.”

Emma Hayes, thanks to your diligent efforts, we are making significant progress towards realizing your aspiration.

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