The curtain-raiser has been delayed a week, but the desire to celebrate their manager, who has won 11 major trophies in that time, has not been dampened.
It is not just on the pitch where Hayes’s star-studded teams have become the talk of women’s football but also off it, where she has been a driving force behind the progression of the sport.
Hayes has been an Alex Ferguson-type figure, who is also involved in the transfers that have seen superstars Sam Kerr and Pernille Harder arrive at the club.
“She knows which people she needs, which is a really good quality to know who you need around you to have the best team,” Chelsea’s record-signing Harder told Standard Sport.
Defender Niamh Charles added: “She is a pioneer for the game, both for Chelsea and the English game as a whole. It’s something that we are proud of that she is there, flying the flag and pushing us forward.”
Behind the scenes, she has pushed for investment from former owner Roman Abramovich and new owners Boehly-Clearlake to run her side like a men’s Premier League team, leaving others in the division lagging. With a base at AFC Wimbledon’s former stadium Kingsmeadow now secured, the Blues have a home for Hayes and her squad.
“The most important thing about Emma is that she cares,” Chelsea Women’s executive manager Adrian Jacob told Standard Sport. “She cares about her players, her staff, about Chelsea, the league and the future of women’s football. Nothing is left to chance but she does things for the benefit of others as much as for herself.
“It has been an incredible journey so far and to be where we are now is testament to her foresight and skills as a manager and person.”
There will be a presentation for Hayes at Chelsea’s first home game — and no one deserves it more than her.