Chelsea Football Club is not solely the men’s first team. It includes the youth teams, from U23 all the way to U8, and it also includes the women’s team, who are so often overlooked. But the reality is, they have been contributing to the trophy cabinet just as much as the men’s team, and are definitely on the up. Youth teams are sometimes given attention, due to the scouting of future stars and watching recovering players who feature while regaining their fitness, but the women’s team is completely ignored by most. If you are a Chelsea fan who wishes to relive the glorious days when we dominated the league as well as Europe, then look no further.
Chelsea Ladies Football Club- as it was once called, was formed in the year 1992. It was established as an independent organisation, and became affiliated to Chelsea Football Club in June 2004. In the same season, the team won the Southern Division and got promoted to the Premier League National Division, which was the first tier of women’s football in England. In March 2011, they joined seven other teams as the founding members of the new FA Women’s Super League. In 2012, they reached the Women’s FA Cup final, losing out on penalties to Birmingham City. Following this, they appointed Emma Hayes as the manager of the team, and success has followed ever since.
We really pushed for the title in 2014, but unfortunately finished second to Liverpool on goal difference, after losing to Manchester City 2-1 on the penultimate day. Despite not winning the trophy, we qualified for the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the first time. Competing on all fronts is a must for a top club, and Chelsea Ladies Football Club exemplified this by reaching the semi finals of the Continental Cup and the FA Cup, but losing out to both eventual champions Arsenal and Manchester City respectively. Instead of being brokenhearted, Emma Hayes and the players used this as foundation for their future successes.
On 1st August 2015, our wait for the maiden trophy ended as we clinched the Women’s FA Cup, beating Notts County. A short while after, we also won the FA WSL, completing the double. This feat was repeated in 2018. Following domestic domination, the next aim was to conquer all of Europe, and we managed to reach the semi finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League in that season and the following one as well. In 2019, we narrowly lost to eventual champions Lyon 3-2 on aggregate, in a game where we did not take our chances. Our ambitions did not end there, as we signed highly-acclaimed Australian international Samantha Kerr in January. Currently, we sit one point off the top in the FA WSL with a game in hand, and boast an unbeaten record. Chelsea recently won the Continental Cup, beating Arsenal 2-1 in dramatic fashion, scoring a 91-minute winner courtesy of Bethany England.
The women’s team are not only breaking barriers of the orthodox society and sexists, but doing so in an inspiring manner as well. Our most successful manager Emma Hayes- winning six trophies- is truly an inspiration to everyone. In an interview she has revealed how one of her twins was expected to be stillborn, and had received this news in a crucial period of the season. Determined to win the trophy, she did not mention this to any of her players, and continued to be focused on her work as usual. This was rewarded with the league and FA Cup double in 2018, after which she broke the news to the players, who were shell-shocked to hear it. Now in her eighth year as the manager of Chelsea Football Club Women, Emma Hayes has revealed that her secret to success has been pursuing her coaching badges gradually. She also shared how it is applicable in life- to tackle the problem as we face it, and not worry about it in advance. She is also one of the most respected figures in Women’s football, and holds an MBE on top of it all.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup which was held in 2019 attracted huge viewership, and is the first step towards the promotion and development of women’s football. While certain demands such as “equal pay” are currently unrealistic solely due to the principles of economics, it might not be long before we witness it. Our job is to encourage those who have taken this bold step of pursuing a career that society often frowns upon, as “it is not a woman’s job”. The least we can do is support Chelsea Football Club Women, after all, they represent our crest, our symbol, and are players just as much as anyone else who has donned the Royal Blue.