Gilly aims to say cheers to a tre­ble

GILLY Fla­herty spent her teenage years work­ing three jobs just to pay her way in the game but this year the de­fender is tar­get­ing a tre­ble of a very dif­fer­ent kind at Chelsea.

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Jamie Holt

The one-time PE teacher, football coach and busi­ness­woman started the FA Cup fi­nal at Wem­b­ley last week­end as the Blues won the first tro­phy in the club’s history against Notts County.

Yet Fla­herty, who only joined Chelsea last sea­son, in­sists she will not stop there. Dur­ing her seven-year stint with Ar­se­nal she won it all, in­clud­ing the fa­mous quadru­ple of 2007.

Suc­cess

And the 23-year-old be­lieves more suc­cess is in the pipeline with the Blues well-placed in the Women’s Su­per League and Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Cup.

“I’ve come here to win tro­phies, I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think win­ning ev­ery­thing was pos­si­ble,” said Fla­herty. “We can 100 per cent repli­cate the suc­cess that Ar­se­nal have had over the years and achieve great things.

“I want to win for the play­ers who were al­ready here who haven’t had the chance to win sil­ver­ware be­fore, and for the staff at the club who are amaz­ing.

“We need to re­pay the faith and trust that has been shown in us, from the staff right through to the men’s se­nior team – ev­ery­one has been great to the squad and given us the best chance.

“We feel like a part of the club, and I think com­ing so close last sea­son made peo­ple all over the club sit up and take no­tice of what we are do­ing and re­ally get on board.”

Chelsea were within touch­ing dis­tance of win­ning WSL 1 last term but lost out to Liver­pool on a thrilling fi­nal day.

It would have been the per­fect end to Fla­herty’s first sea­son at Wheat­sheaf Park but when the for­mer Mill­wall Lionesses academy star pon­ders her stun­ning ca­reer there is lit­tle to com­plain about.

In 2008 and 2009, Fla­herty ap­peared on the Chan­nel 4 re­al­ity TV show ‘Yeardot’, which fol­lowed the lives of 15 young peo­ple from across the UK, and ad­mits a pro­fes­sional football ca­reer was far from her mind.

“I wanted to set up my own coach­ing com­pany be­cause I wasn’t sure what the fu­ture held in terms of be­ing a pro­fes­sional foot­baller, I never once thought it would ac­tu­ally hap­pen,” added Fla­herty.

“I was in Ar­se­nal’s academy at the time and we went through a year of film­ing, it was a very in­ter­ac­tive in­sight ac­tu­ally.

“I was work­ing three jobs, it was manic.

“I was a pri­mary school PE teacher, a coach at Mill­wall’s cen­tre of ex­cel­lence and I opened a fran­chise with Her­bal­ife while in Ar­se­nal’s academy just to make a de­cent in­come, which I still do now. I feel blessed that I’m now liv­ing ev­ery lit­tle girl’s dream.”

Praise

Re­mark­ably, an Eng­land callup has never come for Fla­herty. Upon her sign­ing in 2014, Chelsea boss Emma Hayes de­scribed her as “the best un­capped player in the coun­try” and in­sisted “she will be­come a bedrock for club and coun­try”.

Hayes’ first pre­dic­tion has cer­tainly come true; the sec­ond is still a work in progress.

“I’m so for­tu­nate that I have a man­ager in Emma who is prob­a­bly my big­gest fan. She re­ally cares about me, and I take her praise over any­body else’s,” con­tin­ued Fla­herty.

“She of­fered me the chance to play full-time, pro­fes­sional, when that was a rar­ity a cou­ple of years ago un­less you were on a cen­tral con­tract with Eng­land.

“I’ve al­ways said that I want to play for Eng­land, I’ve just got to be pa­tient and keep do­ing well for Chelsea.”

PIC­TURES: The FA PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

OH YES! Ji So-Yun is mobbed af­ter scor­ing Chelsea’s FA Cup win­ner and, right, Gilly Fla­herty in ac­tion PARTY TIME: Chelsea celebrate with the FA Cup af­ter beat­ing Notts County at Wem­b­ley last week­end

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