The unseen Emma Hayes: swears like a sailor but the kindest person in football

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Emma Hayes, Manager of Chelsea Women gives instructions to their side during the Vitality Women's FA Cup Final match between Chelsea Women and Manchester City Women at Wembley Stadium on May 15, 2022 in London, England. - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Hayes, Manager of Chelsea Women gives instructions to their side during the Vitality Women's FA Cup Final match between Chelsea Women and Manchester City Women at Wembley Stadium on May 15, 2022 in London, England. - GETTY IMAGES

Downbeat faces in the Chelsea Women squad glance up at their unhappy manager and a warning shot is fired: "This is f------ Chelsea - we give you everything - get better or I'll get someone else in."

This is Emma Hayes as you have never seen her before: Swearing like a sailor, but also caring like an NHS worker at times, as two very different sides to Women's Super League's most successful manager are revealed in a new behind-the-scenes documentary series.

In previously unseen footage, the inner workings of the WSL champions and Hayes are laid bare in 'One Team, One Dream', a new series set to launch on DAZN. The film crew follow the team over a two-year spell from summer 2019 to 2021, a period which will see Chelsea win five major domestic trophies. And, not forgetting, there's a global pandemic to navigate.

But it is the opening of a door into the world of a surprisingly foul-mouthed yet kind-hearted Hayes that will raise fans' eyebrows most.

Chelsea players listen to an Emma Hayes team-talk.
Chelsea players listen to an Emma Hayes team-talk.

Over 10 years in charge at Chelsea, Hayes has built a strong reputation for how she comes across in the media, well-spoken and engaging, and more recently with her punditry work on ITV at last summer's men's Euros - but fans have never seen her like this on-screen.

The first episode, which will be released on Sunday, May 29, opens with shots of a fiery Hayes appearing to direct expletives towards match officials - "f------ w------". That's at the end of a trophyless 2018-19 campaign, and the intensity of the language in team or staff meetings rarely seems to drop. To her players, ahead of a semi-final, she roars: "You don't get opportunities like this very often, so give it an almighty f------ fight inside of you, sacrifice on a level you have never done."

However, the compassionate side of the 2021 Fifa best women's coach award winner also shines through with fine detail.

In pre-season ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, striker Beth England, recently handed the club's number-nine shirt, is struggling. She suffers from Endometriosis, a painful, long-term condition that can affect women of any age.

As England's training levels drop, instead of criticising the player, Hayes shows her compassionate side and poses a question to her staff: "Is the failure with her or is the failure with us?"

A plan to help treat England's condition is promptly mapped out. Unbeknown to the production crew or Chelsea at the time of filming, England would go on to win the WSL Player of the Year award and the Players' Player of the Year award that season, as well as finishing as the league's second-highest scorer behind only Vivianne Miedema.

Emma Hayes' management of Beth England stood out in the documentary. - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Hayes' management of Beth England stood out in the documentary. - GETTY IMAGES

England herself admits that Hayes "has been very hard on me in certain parts of my career" but the squad know it's for a good reason.

Other players' personal journeys are also followed closely too, not least that of defender Jess Carter - who has since established herself in the England national team squad. Carter meets with Hayes and the staff ahead of the 2019-20 season admitting she does not yet feel ready for a Lionesses call-up. Hayes wants the then-21-year-old to prioritise herself more, instructing her: "I want you to show every f------ day that you give a f--- about yourself. It's up to you to decide your future."

The team's ethos and mentality, with phrases such as "winning is everything" and "no cutting corners", all feature, at a time in the summer of 2019 when Hayes reveals their goal of winning the Champions League in two years time. Spoiler alert: They almost do, but not quite, instead becoming the first British women's team to reach a European final in 14 years when they reach the 2021 final, but losing to Barcelona.

Emma Hayes following Champions League final defeat. - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Hayes following Champions League final defeat. - GETTY IMAGES

"This series is about so much more than football. It shines a light on the powerful, human stories at the heart of the club," said Leo Pearlman from Fulwell 73, who put together the documentary series. "It’s about leadership at a pivotal time for women’s sport and how you win against all odds with a multinational team against the backdrop of a global pandemic."

Fans are also offered a glimpse into the mind of Hayes, who calls complacency "the mother of all devils". Fortunately for the videographers, three WSL titles later, there appears to be no sign of that creeping in yet for Chelsea.

Acquired via DAZN Studios, One Team, One Dream will land on DAZN and DAZN’s UEFA Women’s Champions League YouTube channel on May 29 2022.

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