We sit down with Emma Hayes to look back at some of her proudest moments at Chelsea and how much it means to be bestowed her OBE title.
We rang in 2022 with the news that Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes had been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours. Previously receiving an MBE for her services to football in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours in 2016, the Blues manager speaks now of the moment she opened the letter and realised the news.
‘Truthfully, I had to read it again because I thought I’ve been given an MBE, so there must have been a mistake! To meet the Queen at Windsor Castle with my parents, it really doesn’t get much better than that.
‘I didn’t realise you could actually be given something else, so it was a shock but also scepticism. I had to phone to say is this real as I think they might have made a mistake.
‘It’s an amazing honour and a privilege for me.’
Hayes has been vocal about her family's support throughout her career and touches on the preparations they have been making for her next royal visit.
‘At Christmas they brought me a huge cut-out of the Queen which they left around the house to remind me how to curtsy again as I didn’t do very well last time!
‘They are very proud, my son Harry even said to me, the Queen’s going to give you a medal Mummy.
‘I want him to grow up seeing his mummy working hard. Nothing comes free in life; you have to earn it. ‘
The last season has been the most successful to date for the Blues with an impressive domestic quadruple win, taking home the Barclays WSL league title, Continental Cup and Community Shield, and most recently winning the rescheduled Vitality FA Cup in front of over 40,000 people at Wembley, as well as making it to the Champions League final for the first time.
‘This last year was the best year in my tenure in terms of success on the pitch,' she comments. 'Qualifying for the Champions League final is a moment I will never forget and I’m very proud that we made that. Yes, we lost in the final and yes, we were disappointed about that, but I also know that not everybody makes a Champions League final and that was a major step for us.
‘Also going back to Wembley in front of a huge crowd for the FA Cup final. Having the crowd there and to be with our fans to actually celebrate just one of our trophies was a big highlight.’
Reflecting on the people who have helped her achieve the successes, Hayes added: ‘I’ve been blessed in that I have so many different mentors or inspirations that could range from my team in America to my schools' teachers, there’s so many including my family.
‘I’ve never hidden from the fact that I love this football club. Every day I come here I wear the badge with pride and honour.
‘I’m blessed to build a relationship with everybody across the club and all departments. I’m proud of those relationships because each one of those departments has helped build the team to where it is.
‘We’ve got a part of history; we built a legacy and we built a team that the club can be proud of. That for me is beyond the medals, it’s a team that the club and the fans can identify with and I think for me, this is my greatest achievement.’