Chelsea womenâ€™s manager Emma Hayes has changed the perception of what it means to be a woman in football in recent years. How has she done it?
Chloe Beresford: Hi, Iâ€™m Chloe and this is the Playmaker
One story every day to make sense of the world of football.Â
Today, Emma Hayes, the elite Coach changing perceptions of women in football.
â€śI kind of feel like with Emma, gender is quite irrelevant because she is just brilliant in her own right. Iâ€™ve worked with her quite a lot on Sky, and sheâ€™s come in and done punditry for us as well, and Iâ€™m always really impressed by her and I really enjoy listening to her and ermâ€¦ Off screen as well, listen to the way that she has a real forensic fascination with tactics, with all that sort of stuff behind closed doors between her and her players. And I just always find that quite interesting to listen to.â€ťLaura Woods, talkSPORT
It seems like Emma Hayes was always destined to do something important in football.Â
Her sister would sing the Chelsea anthem â€śBlue is the Colourâ€ť to her from the age of one, and as soon as Emma could walk, she had a ball at her feet.Â
Growing up, she studied the best teams in the game. Brian Cloughâ€™s legendary double European cup win as Nottingham Forest manager made a huge impression on her.Â
Emma is an example of how, in order to be truly successful in any field, you need to be obsessed, almost consumed with enthusiasm for it.Â
But you need talent, and resilience too. Her sister says that Emma showed real intelligence as well as a true passion for football, and helped to build their Dadâ€™s family business after an injury brought her playing career to a premature end.Â
And this summer, the general public saw just how accomplished Emma Hayes really is.
â€śI think it was because of Modricâ€™s position. I think he started high in the first half and almost as a second striker, but actually, as he started to drift a little bit lower, I felt that England then struggled a little bit to get pressure on the ball with him. Because heâ€™s that type of player â€“ both of you said it â€“ he needs a yard, half a second, and his quality in possession is so outstanding that you have to nullify him and I thought in the second half, thatâ€™s what England did, they nullified and played Mase higher along with Phillips and I think they started to build [Croatia] in the second half, there was much better pressure in the midfield.â€ťEmma Hayes, ITV Sport
Her detailed tactical analysis during the Euros took co-commentary to another level.Â
Fellow pundit Ian Wright said that she was â€śfeeding us insight and knowledgeâ€ť and that she was â€śeliteâ€ť.Â
And itâ€™s really hard to argue with that.Â
Itâ€™s not just the depth of her knowledge of the game, but her leadership skills too.Â
Emma Hayes was appointed Chelsea Womenâ€™s manager in 2012, and recognises that there are extra things that need to be taken into account with female players. â€śShe believes that the best psychologist is the Coachâ€ť.
Sheâ€™s studied menstrual cycles and the effects of pregnancy on the body so that she can turn her players into elite athletes.Â
She takes time to understand the individual issues of each player, and calls her group â€śmentality monstersâ€ť.Â
Emma Hayes is there to increase the mental resilience of every one of them.Â
And she understands from personal experience that life can throw up the most unexpected of circumstances, having sadly lost one of her twins while 28 weeks pregnant in 2018.
Sheâ€™s taken Chelsea womenâ€™s team to what they are today from a part-time club playing in front of what the chairman says was â€ś100 people and a dog.â€ť In her first season nine years ago, Chelsea finished third from bottom of the Womenâ€™s Super League.Â
Since then, theyâ€™ve won four WSL titles and were Womenâ€™s Champions League runners-up last season.
Ian Wright: â€śYouâ€™ve got some awesome players, talent.
Emma Hayes: â€śGreat people though, Ian.â€ť
Ian Wright: â€śYes.â€ť
Emma Hayes: â€śThatâ€™s the main thing, you know, because Iâ€™ve got a lot of top players sat on the bench and thatâ€™s not easy. But theyâ€™re top people, and they understand what the team is all about. They put the team first. And you know how hard that is, to find players to do that. So weâ€™ll, like for me, when I win awards like this itâ€™s because of them, because of the people they are. And Iâ€™m grateful for that.â€ť
Ian Wright: â€śListen, itâ€™s been a magnificent season for you, and I can only congratulate you. Youâ€™re someone I admire immensely. Your team is great, yes, but youâ€™ve got to take some of the love, so congratulations Emma, on being Barclays Manager of the Season.
Emma Hayes: â€śI appreciate it, even though youâ€™re a gooner!â€ťBarclays
With such experience and expertise, Emma Hayes has been linked with vacant manager roles at Football League clubs in the menâ€™s game, for example at AFC Wimbledon.Â
But sheâ€™s rejected those suggestions out of hand and says she finds it â€śinsultingâ€ť that others regard a position in the menâ€™s game as a step up. When asked if Wimbledon could afford her, she replied â€śabsolutely not!â€ť
And before women are given head coaching jobs in the menâ€™s game, thereâ€™s still some way to go yet, even in the Womenâ€™s Super League.Â
Only five from 12 of the teams due to start the new season have a female boss.Â
When you look at the US, the last NFL Superbowl had female Coaches on both of the opposing teams, while there are fourteen women that coach basketball to men in the NBA.
But Emma Hayes doesnâ€™t need to go over to the menâ€™s game to prove that she has what it takes.Â
Her stint on TV during the Euros showed the nation that she has encyclopedic knowledge as a tactician and her players regularly go on record to say that sheâ€™s just brilliant to work for.Â
What she ultimately provides is a beacon of light to follow for women who want to be involved in the game. This summer she has single handedly changed so many perceptions of women in football.
Todayâ€™s episode was written by me Chloe Beresford and produced by Klong.