Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes has revealed that legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson gave her a call to congratulate her on her new role – cutting off Mauricio Pochettino in the process.
The 47-year-old was named the next head coach of the United States women’s national team, a job she will take up once the current campaign has concluded.
“Sir Alex and I had a chat last week, he phoned me out there [at Cobham] but I was in the middle of talking to Poch. So I was torn. Unfortunately, I had to tell Poch ‘wait’,” Hayes said.
“There’s not many people you’re going to ask Poch to wait for but I did say to him it was Sir Alex. He calls me from time to time so I wasn’t surprised, I was waiting for his call. Anything he says to me I’ll always take with such pride, he’s a legend of the game and someone whose opinion I value.
“He has a love of America so we talked a little bit about that, talked a little about legacy, talked a little about leaving at the top so I got some wise words from him. I’m sure it won’t be the last phone call I get from him this season.”
Hayes, who has guided Chelsea to 13 major trophies since joining the club in 2012, says part of her decision to leave was to avoid overstaying her welcome.
“My family are devastated – they are Chelsea,” the Blues boss said.
“It’s not every day that opportunity is going to come up in life and I never saw it coming, I never thought it was necessarily something I was going to do.
“The timing and the opportunity is never going to come around again, plus where I am with everything in life, plus not wanting to outstay my welcome. It’s all of those things that were the deciding factors.”
Hayes continued: “I feel guilty, I feel like I’m abandoning my family. It’s in my heart. Any moment I have with the fans I always enjoy, but every moment I have with them until the end will feel special,” she said.
“I’ve given fans and the community a team that people can identify with, and they can enjoy watching. I’m not done yet, there’s a lot of winning to do this year.”
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