Gemma Davison has left Chelsea Women at the end of her contract, bringing to a close her trophy-laden four-year spell with the Blues.
The 31-year-old leaves Emma Hayes’s squad after scoring 14 goals in 78 appearances and playing a part in bringing five pieces of silverware to the club, the first two of which were won in a campaign when the fans selected her as their Player of the Season.
Although her role in recent seasons was slightly diminished, the impact the winger made in that maiden campaign cannot be underestimated.
Having started her career with Arsenal, where she was part of their quadruple-winning squad which included the UEFA Women’s Cup (now the Champions League), and experienced the Women’s Professional Soccer League in the USA, Davison helped Liverpool to back-to-back WSL1 titles.
The second of those came at the expense of Chelsea on goal difference, despite the Blues leading the league going into the final day, so when she subsequently joined the club ahead of the 2015 season it was a massive statement.
As well as adding pace and trickery to either flank, which brought another touch of fantasy to the side, her experience in getting over the line in major competitions was also crucial for a side which had let the WSL1 title slip through its grasp.
She provided six more goals and many assists in her squad-high 26 appearances in 2015 as we lifted the Women’s Super League and the Women’s FA Cup. Davison was integral throughout, often from a position wide on the right as she linked up to devastating effect with the likes of Eni Aluko, Ji So-Yun and Fran Kirby. A big FA Cup winner at her former club Arsenal stands out from our path to glory.
Although her performances were not sufficient to book her spot on the plane to Canada for the Women’s World Cup, when England famously finished third, Davison was soon back in the international fold.
She was a regular throughout the Lionesses’ Euro 2017 qualification campaign, scoring her first goal for her country at the 12th time of asking in a 7-0 win over Serbia. Five minutes later it was followed by a second and only a dubiously awarded own-goal denied her an international hat-trick.
However, at club level the dazzling displays of the previous season were not seen as regularly throughout 2016, although her individual goal at Reading as the season approached its conclusion was a reminder of the quality she possesses when committing defenders.
A new contract was agreed taking her through to this summer and a change of formation meant she was now used almost exclusively as a wing-back, primarily on the right-hand side. It was from this position that she was involved in Kirby’s goal in the final-day win over Birmingham in the Spring Series which earned her a fourth league championship in the past five years.
That became five at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, although only 14 of her 24 appearances were starts, and she did not make the bench for the 3-1 victory over former club Arsenal in the Women’s FA Cup final.
Davison’s final appearance for the Blues came against another of her ex-sides, Liverpool, as we completed an unbeaten season in the top flight.
Chelsea thanks Gemma enormously for her contribution to the club and wishes her well for the next stage of her career.