Emma Hayes frustrated that ‘private conversations’ with Chelsea were leaked

Emma Hayes has expressed frustration at private conversations with Chelsea being leaked to the media after the announcement that she would leave at the end of the season.

In the past few days the Evening Standard claimed Chelsea had been desperate to keep Hayes and were willing to quadruple her wages, while the Daily Mail suggested Chelsea had delayed discussions over a new contract, but the manager, heavily linked with the vacant US women’s national team role, would not be drawn on whether those reports were true.

“I believe in private conversations,” Hayes said. “Of course I’m disappointed to hear things are being said in the press. I want to make sure I maintain my own professionalism in everything I do. I have a team to focus on, games to win and I don’t think anything will come between me and the players, and me and the fans. I understand Chelsea. This is my club, and it will always be my club. While I’m sad on many, many levels, I have said to the fans there will be a moment where I’m sat with them in the crowd, and I look forward to that come the end of the season.”

Related: Emma Hayes’ replacement has huge shoes to fill but her departure spices up the WSL | Karen Carney

Hayes, asked whether she felt valued by Chelsea, said: “I work every day with a group of people – some I’ve worked with the entire time – and what we have created in that building is magical. It’s something I know every player appreciates being a part of.

“As far as I’m concerned, the people I have worked with in that period have made me feel the best coach I can feel. That’s not always easy when you’re dropping players and they are not playing week in, week out. So I leave at the end of the season knowing I have given everything and have done everything. Things and conversations that are private between myself and the club will remain private at my end. I will maintain that.”

The Manchester City Women manager, Gareth Taylor, has stressed the need to ‘own our actions’ and be respectful as he sought to draw a line under his spat with Arsenal counterpart Jonas Eidevall.

Taylor, in a post-match interview following City’s 2-1 WSL loss to Arsenal last Sunday, said Eidevall ‘is constantly at the fourth official’, adding ‘I think it is bullying’. The Gunners manager responded by calling the claim ‘borderline slander’.

‘I would expect him [Taylor] to reach out with an apology but I’m not sure that will happen,’ Eidevall said on Wednesday, and confirmed he had not received an apology when asked again on Friday, adding: ‘It doesn’t take a lot of my thought process at the moment.’

When asked if managers have a responsibility to stay within the guidelines of respect, Eidevall, whose side visit Leicester on Sunday, replied: ‘I do that. I think you have a huge responsibility as a manager with how you act and what you say.’

Speaking before City’s home game against Brighton on Sunday, Taylor moved to clarify his comments. ‘I’ve always stated that we need to be respectful, we need to be respectful of each other,’ he said. ‘Sometimes the passions overrun of course, I understand that.’

‘But I think ultimately we need to own our actions and I think being respectful is the main one. Nothing changes on my thought process with that, Taylor continued. ‘I think as long as we’re all working together to make the game better for everyone, that’s what we’re looking at.’

When it was put to him that Eidevall was still waiting for an apology, Taylor said: ‘That’s not something I want to share. I think it’s time to move on. We’ve spoken about it, I made comments, he’s made comments, it’s time to move on and draw a line under it.’ PA Media

Hayes would not comment on links to the US job. On her decision to leave, she pointed to the exhausting routine she has lived for more than a decade. “I’ve driven four hours to and from this place six days a week for 12 years,” she said. “I have a five-year-old that needs more of his mummy. That’s important. Family matters.

“It was my decision. When you coach at an elite level and you have to perform at an elite level, and you have the standards and expectations that I have, anything less than the best is not acceptable and maintaining that, on a daily grind, is a lot. It takes a lot of work.

“It is important that I’m a mum. Not many football managers sit up here and talk about that in the same way. My little boy has been extraordinary to allow me to do this, but it’s challenging for him.

“This weekend is a good example: we’ve got a game away at Everton, then away at Real Madrid. There’s still a lot of work to be done in the women’s game for people with children. We have lives – this is not a selfish decision, this is a selfless decision. This is about putting some other things first in my life and I’m ready for that.”

Hayes said her son, Harry, was “so happy” she is stepping down at Chelsea. “I don’t think he has a healthy relationship with football because he sees the unhealthy aspect of it. So, I think of it like this: he’s five, I’ve got until about the age of 12 to really maximise that. Of course, I plan to keep on working, but I want to make sure I don’t look back on my life and regret that part.”

On whether a move to the US would be an incredible opportunity, Hayes shifted back to Harry. “Picking someone up from school would be incredible, taking him to after-school club or doing some other bits, just having that flexibility would be incredible,” she said.

Hayes has been an important driver of change and growth in women’s football in England, being outspoken on areas that need improving. The WSL will miss that but Hayes said she was just one voice of many.

“It’s down to us – not me. Collectively, we have applied pressure, challenged and raised standards. Everyone who has worked with me or for me knows I have only ever had the game’s best interests at heart. I love the women’s game. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. I know my personality and I’m not afraid to do the tough things even though sometimes I’m the one who takes the battering for it. I’m all right with that, because whether that’s getting more prize money or to get better facilities – I still think there’s ways to go – I know I’ve played my part. I accept that role and I’m grateful for all those people who have done the same.”


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