Chelsea manager Emma Hayes is well-versed in dealing with the media. For someone who handles incredibly pressurised moments with relative ease, answering a few questions from the press isn’t a problem. But, after her team beat Manchester United in the 2022-23 Women’s FA Cup final on May 14, she was left a little lost at how to respond a particular thought put to her in her post-match press conference.
“You don't see many dynasties in world sport,” was the musing at the start of the journalist’s question. Before it could continue, Hayes interrupted with almost an embarrassed giggle, almost reluctant to associate herself with such a huge thing.
“Sometimes managers are not given that opportunity, but also not all of them have the stamina to know how to do it,” the journalist added, before asking: “Do you think this is what you're building now?”
Hayes pondered and let out a sigh. “That’s a good question,” she replied, before reflecting on the work that goes into building a winning team like Chelsea’s. She talked about not seeing her son as much as she might like and how she’s given everything to this club to win 14 trophies in the last eight years.
That number is now 15. Chelsea’s successful defence of their Women’s Super League title is their fourth league triumph in a row. It’s a feat that’s not been done since the greatest dynasty in English women’s football, that of Arsenal’s incredible women’s team under Vic Akers – where Hayes was his assistant.
The Chelsea boss might’ve been tentative to describe the success she has enjoyed on the blue side of London in the same grand terms you might relate to that team - but make no mistake, the achievements of her and her Chelsea team are well and truly remarkable.
And this WSL title, which the Blues won on the final day of an enthralling 2022-23 season, is their most impressive to date.