Stoney among five candidates to succeed Hayes as Chelsea boss
With legendary manager Emma Hayes leaving at the end of the season, Chelsea are looking for a boss to lead them into a new era.
United States-bound Hayes will end a trophy-laden 12 years with the Blues when she departs — leaving huge shoes for her successor to fill.
We look at the current frontrunners to take over from the 47-year-old tactician at Kingsmeadow.
Formerly of Manchester United and now working wonders in the States with San Diego Wave, Casey Stoney is the early favourite.
Stoney, 41, was named National Women's Soccer League Coach of the Year in 2022 after guiding the Californian side to the play-offs in her first season before topping the division a year later.
She spent four years with the Blues as a player and was even briefly player-manager in 2009, making the 130-cap former Lioness a logical choice for the Women's Super League champions.
Elsewhere in the NWSL, Nuneaton-born Laura Harvey could potentially be tempted with a move back to England's top flight.
Harvey, 43, began her managerial journey with Birmingham before going onto enjoy a two-year stint in charge of Arsenal, where she won the league and Women's FA Cup.
She has amassed a wealth of experience coaching in the United States in the years since, narrowly missing out on the NWSL title with OL Reign this term after losing to Gotham City in Sunday's final.
Given Hayes' unprecedented success in West London, Chelsea may feel they can keep change to a minimum by promoting her No2 to the top job.
American coach Denise Reddy has helped the Blues win three WSL titles since arriving in 2020 and already knows the club and squad inside out.
The 53-year-old appears unlikely to follow Hayes to her own native country despite their strong working relationship — opening the door for her to take the top job in West London.
If Chelsea wanted to hand an up-and-coming manager from the WSL a chance, Carla Ward would surely be a prime choice.
Ward, 39, did a fine job on a shoestring budget at Birmingham before switching to arch-rivals Aston Villa, who she guided to a record fifth place and the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time last term.
The Villans have endured a more difficult start to the current campaign but there are few doubts Ward has an extremely bright future.
Barcelona are one of the few clubs in women's football that can boast a similar level of success to Chelsea in recent years — which could see the Blues move for their former boss Lluis Cortes.
Cortes, 37, led Barca to their first ever Women's Champions League triumph in 2020-21 before deciding to step down that summer.
He is currently available after leaving his role as Ukraine boss in August and could well be tempted to chance his arm in the WSL.