Ladies reaction: Touching night; comfortable win
news Thu 7 Dec 2017
Claire Rafferty reflected on 10 years with Chelsea Ladies after the milestone was celebrated with a 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Continental Tyres Cup.
Our final group game of this season’s competition was dedicated to the long-serving left-back, who joined the club in 2007, and she also captained the side for the evening.
Following an emotional speech in the dressing room after arriving at Kingsmeadow, Rafferty received a guard of honour from both sets of players upon entering the pitch and was presented with a bouquet of flowers by manager Emma Hayes.
However, with this being Chelsea versus Tottenham, albeit for the first time in the Women’s Super League era, that was the fun ended for Raff.
‘It actually wasn't,’ she replied when asked if it was one of her more enjoyable games. ‘I was a little bit nervous and I had quite a lot of family and friends here.
‘In the end it was quite a comfortable victory and it's great to progress to the quarter-finals, but I can't tell you what the manager said at half-time without swearing!
‘I said to everyone: “This is my day, you're ruining it!” No, I didn't really! But I did say a few words about how it wasn't good enough and we talked about the high standards we set in training and in matches.
‘In the second half we picked it up a bit and in the end it was quite a comfortable win.’
Two goals were scored in either half as a brace from Fran Kirby and goals from Hannah Blundell (pictured below) and Drew Spence secured a win which meant we finished top of our group, but the day truly belonged to a player who has given 10 years of wonderful service to the club.
‘I'm very grateful for what Chelsea have put on for me,’ she said. ‘There was a lot of stuff behind the scenes with family and friends which has been very touching.
‘This is my home. I've not really had any thoughts about what's going on in the future, but I'd like to carry on my time at Chelsea and hopefully carry on the journey.
‘I don't know how many years are left in my legs, but people are already putting me in the coffin – I'm only 28! I've had three ACL injuries, so I've probably not got as long as most players, but maybe a couple more years – we'll see.
‘But I don't want it to be all about me – I just want to go on and win all the trophies. Then at the end of it maybe we can have a little party.’
Our quest for silverware continues on Sunday with a vital game against Manchester City in our final Women’s Super League 1 game of the calendar year. City are currently two points clear at the top of the standings, but a win for the Blues will ensure we are top at Christmas.
‘We want to bring our momentum into the Man City game,’ said Raff. ‘In the past they've been a bit of a mental game for us; we know we've been as good as them or better, but it's about putting that into practice.
‘I expect it to be feisty, a match of talent with very good, experienced players and it will be tactical. Hopefully we will prevail.’
- Chelsea Ladies v Manchester City Women at Kingsmeadow is on Sunday at 6.30pm. The game is live on BT Sport.