Emma Hayes becomes first woman to receive Football Writers’ Tribute award

Chelsea coach Emma Hayes poses upon arrival at The Best FIFA Football Awards
Chelsea coach Emma Hayes poses upon arrival at The Best FIFA Football Awards 2023 ceremony in London on January 15, 2024. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Emma Hayes became the first woman to be presented with the Football Writers’ Tribute award by the Football Writers Association (FWA) on Sunday. The Chelsea manager has been honoured for her outstanding contribution to English football.

Shortly after a 3-1 victory over Manchester United earlier that afternoon at Stamford Bridge, Hayes attended the Gala Dinner held at the Landmark Hotel in London.

Speaking about the recognition, Hayes said: “It’s an unbelievable honour. We know we all work as part of industry, which on my end is delivering results on the pitch, but for everyone else delivering those results off the pitch.

“I have always viewed those relationships as interwoven and necessary or each other. To be here, down the road from where I grew up at a hotel I used to come to with my dad, it is a great honour.”

FWA chair John Cross, added: “Emma Hayes’ achievements demand more respect because of what she has done for the women’s game overall. She has completely transformed the landscape not just for Chelsea, the WSL, the England national team, but for football in general.”

Under her leadership, the West London club have won six Women’s Super League titles, five FA Cups, two League Cups, one Spring Series trophy, and one Community Shield.

Hayes also led the team to a historic double on two occasions, and has also achieved one domestic treble.

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The end of a Chelsea era

Despite her success, Hayes has announced she will be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season. Hayes will become the new head coach of the US Women’s National Team, following the side’s official announcement in November.

During the FWA Awards evening, she admitted she will be ‘absolutely distraught’ when her time with Chelsea finally comes to an end.

“I think I’ll cry my eyes out for the last few weeks. I think I’m now at a point where I’m looking forward to being in the crowd, coming back and hopefully watching Chelsea in many finals. I’ve done my bit and I certainly hope they welcome me back as a fan because that’s how I see myself.”

Reigning champions Chelsea currently lead the WSL table with 28 points, three ahead of Manchester City.

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