Beth England’s transfer to rivals Tottenham for a record £250,000 between two Women’s Super League sides has brought to a close a long career at Chelsea… and finally resolved a situation that was increasingly exasperating. In the wake of Prince Harry’s book Spare, the word seems equally appropriate for Beth’s marginalised role at Kingsmeadow. For
Beth England’s transfer to rivals Tottenham for a record £250,000 between two Women’s Super League sides has brought to a close a long career at Chelsea… and finally resolved a situation that was increasingly exasperating.
In the wake of Prince Harry’s book Spare, the word seems equally appropriate for Beth’s marginalised role at Kingsmeadow.
For months behind the scenes, colleagues and friends have been urging her to leave Chelsea and restart her playing career while the 28-year-old forward still has so much to give. It’s a change that your humble correspondent has been predicting.
Although manager Emma Hayes has always publicly sung the praises of her long-serving striker, whose seven years at the club have yielded 163 appearances and 74 goals, the paucity of starts and the drastic reduction in playing minutes in the past two years tells its own story.
The signings of Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder and Lauren James, and the re-emergence of Fran Kirby after long-term illness, pushed England further down the pecking order, and has threatened to undermine her international prospects.
Now, at Spurs, she has the chance to rebuild. She has always been, and will remain, a Blues’ fans’ favourite, but even they have been encouraging her to find new pastures rather than sit frustratedly on the bench waiting and hoping for substitute appearances. The chant of ‘Oh Bethany England’ to the tune of White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army will still ring out any time she returns to Chelsea.
She has already proved she can prosper in other clubs having spent time on loan at Liverpool in 2017/18, where she was the joint-third highest scorer in the top flight with 10 goals in 16 matches.
A high point at Chelsea was scoring a brace in the Blues’ Conti Cup final win against Arsenal in 2020. She has also been a past Chelsea Women’s Player of the Year, Women’s Super League Player of the Season and PFA Players’ Player of the Year.
She was also in the winning squad of the Lionesses’ European Championship side last summer, though her appearances were limited.
“Beth has given tremendous service to the club,” said Hayes. “She has contributed to all of our success over the past seven years and she leaves a winner and a Chelsea legend. We wish her the very best for the next stage of her career.”
England herself described playing for Chelsea as “the biggest honour”, and – tellingly – stated that “every time I’ve stepped out onto the pitch I’ve given my all for Chelsea”… interpreted by many as a little dig at Hayes for underusing her talents.
Sunday 5 February is the date when England can show Hayes what she’s missing, when Chelsea travel to Brisbane Road to play Tottenham in a WSL cruncher.