Skip to main content

‘Do as geese do’: Hayes wants to see solidarity and loyalty as Chelsea bid to retain WSL title

Manager deploys unusual analogy to encourage team spirit before final tie tomorrow

CHELSEA boss Emma Hayes wants to see solidarity and loyalty from her team tomorrow as they bid to retain the Women’s Super League title, deploying an unusual avian analogy to drive home her point.

The Blues, two points clear of second-placed Manchester City at the top of the table, host Reading in the final round of WSL fixtures.

At a press conference ahead of the game, Hayes was asked what about her current group had put them so close to retaining the title.

The 44-year-old cited their experience and strength in depth, then spoke about Beth England, the 2019-20 PFA women’s player of the year, saying it was “a testament to the squad” how they had fared despite the striker’s challenging season.

Hayes expressed her confidence that “in this last part of the season [England] could have a huge role to play in pushing the team over the line.”

And then she said: “I think it’s important that some different geese lead the formation and they take the wind resistance for the rest.

“Changing leaders is something that’s pretty normal in our environment, and as we always know with geese, they’re extremely loyal to their cause.

“Importantly, they support each other — if you didn’t already know, when a goose gets injured, two birds always accompany them to the ground.”

She said her message to the team would be, “just like geese do, honk hard at the person in front of you. Because if you didn’t know, honking, in geese culture, is to make the person in front of you speed up.

“So yeah, there’s a few ‘v’ formations I want to see on Sunday.”

As well as last season, Hayes guided Chelsea to the WSL title in 2015 and 2017-18.

Asked where this title would rank for her, she said that the strength of this season’s opposition would make it probably the best.

“I think we’ve looked the dominant team. I think Man City have had a tremendous season, pushing us the whole way. I just hope we do enough on Sunday to cross the line.”


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 12,563
We need:£ 5,437
7 Days remaining
Donate today