What's Next For Emma Hayes Once She Leaves Chelsea?

Published on 6 November 2023 at 20:00

When it comes to the men's side of Chelsea football club, the words "long term" and "manager" aren't often used in the same sentence. A revolving door of some of the best managers of the 21st century (coupled with a few too many disastrous appointments in the eyes of many a fan), it's a genuine surprise that Chelsea's women's side has gone on a completely different trajectory to the men's, sticking their support behind one woman and one woman alone over a decade, to great success and acclaim. 


This weekend saw longstanding Chelsea Women's manager Emma Hayes announce that she would be leaving the Blues at the end of the current season, with the 47-year-old looking to "pursue a new opportunity outside of the WSL and club football." Hayes leaves an almost insurmountable on the women's game at club level, having won six WSL titles, five FA Cups, reached the Champions League final, and was awarded 'The Best FIFA Women's Coach' honour in 2021 after leading the Blues to domestic dominance and almost continental glory.


Finding a worthy replacement for Hayes will be a headache of its own for Chelsea, particularly as Manchester City and Arsenal have become two domestic powerhouses in their own right and they can't afford to slip up with such a talented squad including the likes of Sam Kerr and Lauren James. 


But what for Hayes' own future as a manager? It's being widely reported that the Englishwoman is set to become the manager of the US Women's National Team: after their disastrous defence of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where the USWNT crashed out in a tense penalty shootout, their squad looks to desperately be in need of a rebuild and a calm, composed figure to take them back to glory. Whilst Hayes would almost certainly succeed in the position, is it also arguably a position beneath Hayes, and that she should instead be aiming higher or transcending her skills and experience to the men's game?


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Currently, Montserrat Tome is serving as Head Coach of Spain's Women's National Team, who had won the World Cup during the controversial tenure of Jorge Vilda. Tome, who served as Vilda's assistant between 2018 and 2023, does have familiarity with the elite Spanish squad, and is no doubt seen as a safe and 'comfortable' choice after what's been a newsworthy few months for women's football in the country. But the quality of Spain doesn't properly reflect the strong Barcelona and Liga F core which has developed a stranglehold on the European football scene in the last few years.


Hayes, in spite of the obvious language barrier albeit one that hasn't affected the likes of Lucy Bronze to further their legacy in Spain, would be a sensible choice if the Spanish FA are looking to cement a dynasty in the women's game like their men's team did between 2008 to 2012.


With over a decade of managerial experience under her belt, and being a well-known game in the sport in general, would it perhaps be a better move for Hayes' career to pursue a role within the men's game? At the time of writing, there's only been one female coach in charge of a men's professional team, when Hannah Dingley was given the caretaker role at Forest Green following on from Duncan Ferguson's sacking however. Despite her experience within the club however, she was replaced just under two weeks later. 


As the women's game continues to grow at an exponential rate, making headlines and drawing record-breaking crowds in England, now would seem like the perfect time for Hayes to instil herself in the game's folklore as the manager of a men's team and actually coach some games and a team to some success. Whilst clubs like Forest Green would be the obvious starting point, perhaps a position with Chelsea's acclaimed academy, similar to what many coaches are doing at Manchester City before moving elsewhere, would allow Hayes to further earn her credentials and attract interest thanks to her developing young talent and going on a good run of results with some of the best male youngsters in the country would be a fantastic decision.


What Do You Think Emma Hayes Should Do After She Leaves Chelsea At The End Of The Season? Let Us Know Your Thoughts Now!


Image Credit: Flickr User Lee Fraser


By Jaspar Shepherdson 

(@jasparshepmedia on Instagram and X/Twitter)

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