• By Paul Lagan

10 years ago today, Chelsea got the WSL ball rolling - literally


By Paul Lagan

It’s 10 years today since the Women’s Super League (WSL) kicked off when Chelsea lost 1-0 to Arsenal at Tooting & Mitcham FC’s ground.

The Blues’ Helen Ward kicked the first ball in the competition, but it was Arsenal’s Gilly Flaherty who scored the first goal.

It was all in front of 2,510 fans.

Flaherty went on to play for the Blues and is still plying her trade as skipper of West Ham United.

To mark the decade of football development at the top level, when eight teams started in a semi-professional league to the 12, fully professional division we have today, the FA is creating a Women’s Super League Hall of Fame.

FA director of the women’s professional game, Kelly Simmons said: “The launch of the Barclays FA WSL Hall of Fame is designed to recognise those who have made a major contribution to the league over the last 10 years. I am delighted that Barclays will be supporting it.

“I want to say thank you to all those who have been on the journey with us over the last ten years. Without your support, we wouldn’t be where we are now. Rest assured, we still have huge ambitions for this league, with the ultimate goal to have the best professional women’s competition in the worl

An induction event will take place later in the year and an panel of experts will create a shortlist of nominees before determining who will be the first inductees.

There are too many statistics thrown around dissecting the league over the decade, but there are a few which Chelsea fans will be delighted to know.

For instance the Blues have won the WSL title the most times - four.

Up to the recent international break, Chelsea had played 166 matches, winning 101, drawing 28, losing 37. They have scored 378 goals, while letting in 161- that gives then a winning percentage of 60.8%.

Of those 166 matches, Emma Hayes has been in charge of 143 of them - a WSL record. She’s overseen 94 victories - another record, 26 defeats with 23 drawn. Half of those defeats, 13 came in her first 19 games in charge during the 2012/13 season.

The Blues go in search of their second trophy of the season when they take on London City Lionesses on Friday in the FA Cup 4th round. Should they win, they will face the winners of Everton v Durham in the next round.