Ahead of the Barclays Women's Super League 2019 season kick off, which is set to see Chelsea women talking on Tottenham Hotspur women at Stamford Bridge, we’ve been speaking several of the Blues players to get their stories from their own perspectives, along with their thoughts ahead of playing at the Bridge.

Last up in our exclusive interviews before the big kick off on Sunday is Hannah Blundell, and we sat down with the forward thinking, attacking fullback to listen to her story and get her views on the prospect of playing at Stamford Bridge, what it will mean to the women’s game going forward and the team’s relationship with the fans.

What goes through your head when you think of playing at Stamford Bridge?

I’d say excitement. It’s obviously the first time for us going to Stamford Bridge, and with it being sold out so quickly, it’s exciting for the women’s game, it’s exciting for Chelsea and for Spurs as well. I just can’t wait for the eighth of September now!

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Does it feel like a personal milestone in your career?

Yeah, for me and for the club as well I think. Selling out Stamford Bridge is massive and it just shows how far the women’s game has come, because a few years ago that wouldn’t have happened. What we need to make sure now is that we put on a good performance, get a good result and then get people down to Kingsmeadow.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey from your perspective, from when you were as a kid to where you are now?

I was in the under eights, playing locally with the boys. I was quite lucky to get scouted by Brighton when I was about 10. Back then it was known as the centre of excellence, so I was with them, and then I had a spell at Chelsea for a year, but I actually got told that they thought that I’d struggle on the big pitches when I went to go up to 11-a-side, so that was a bit of a blow for me personally, because you obviously can’t do anything about your height. So then I went to Charlton for four years and then ended up back at Chelsea.

So no Leo Messi growth implants…

[Laughs] No, I don’t think I’d heard of him back then.

That was obviously a hurdle you had to overcome and you did so successfully. Have you faced any other barriers in your career?

For me when I was younger it was a height issue. I was always a small player, but I thought technically I was still as good as everyone else. So for that reason it was hard for me because it wasn’t just Chelsea, Brighton sort of did the same as well. But it was something that I couldn’t control. More recently I get ankle injuries, basically I sprain my ankles really easily, so I have to have them strapped every training session and every game, but even then I still seem to roll them. For me it’s quite hard, because I try and do everything I can to strengthen them, but even then they still seem to go, so then I’m missing out on two or three days of training and in a season that’s not ideal.

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Selling out Stamford Bridge is massive and it just shows how far the women’s game has come."

How have you seen the game as a whole change in your time?

I think the fact that we’re set to play at Stamford Bridge is a sign of how far it’s come. I think it’s so good to see so many young girls getting involved. I wouldn’t say that this applies to me personally, but nowadays some players are walking down the street and they’re getting the “oh my god, it’s…” and a few years ago that wouldn’t have happened. So it’s nice for young girls to look at us as role models.

How about from a personal perspective, how’s life changed for you in that time?

I think with playing at such a big club like Chelsea it's mainly the sponsors and that sort of thing. I also feel like media-wise it’s come a long way. Even like today for instance. We’ve got so much media attention around the game and us as players. It’s such a good thing for the game and hopefully it continues to progress. Just because we’ve played at Stamford Bridge once and sold it out doesn’t mean we should leave it there for the rest of the season; hopefully it continues to grow year by year.

I feel that with playing at Stamford Bridge in front of a sell-out crowd, yes they get to come to Stamford Bridge, but we need that support to come to Kingsmeadow as well. It’s not going to be the same as Stamford Bridge, but the football’s still going to be the same, so we need to keep everyone interested and still wanting to come.

Do you feel like Chelsea is quite a progressive club to be at?

Massively. I’ve been here since the beginning, basically, when Emma [Hayes] first came in and we didn’t have relegation back then, but we would be struggling in the league. We were finishing quite low down. But since Emma has come in she has been very specific about what she wants, bringing in world-class players and it’s obviously lifted the profile of the women’s team, so we’ve progressed massively. Our building and training pitch that we used to have used to be split, but now we’ve got it and it’s ours only. We’ve progressed so far. Getting into the Champions League consistently and with the players she’s brought in, she’s built that.

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How would you describe yourself as a player for anyone who has not seen you play before?

I’m a very modern fullback, very attacking, I like to get forward, I like to contribute to goals. Yeah, very front foot player really. Quick. I wish I was tricky, but I’m not that! [laughs]. But yeah, a very attacking fullback.

What would you like to achieve more than anything this season?

This season, definitely to win all three trophies. I think the disappointment of last season, not winning anything, I think everyone took it hard, because we’re at a club like Chelsea and you expect to win things. It’s the mentality now. So I think definitely to win all three trophies. Anything less than that will be a bit hard to take.

Do you learn as much from the lows as you do from the highs?

I think so, yeah. You can’t get too high with the highs, or too low with the lows. It’s good in that sense because one week you could lose a game but then the next week you can go and win, so you’ve always got to think ahead. I think as a team we’re used to winning and we’ve all got the same mentality, and we all push each other. We’re all confident in our abilities. We’re just a winning club now. Anything less is not good.


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We’re all confident in our abilities. We’re just a winning club now. Anything less is not good."

Can you tell us about the Chelsea fans that currently come and watch you?

They’re really good actually. They’re slowly growing but we’ve got a really good following. They came to our preseason trip, which I don’t think we’ve ever had before. They come up and down the country, which is great. You can always hear them, they’re always singing and chanting and everything. They’re great. I think they feel quite close to us as well because we interact with them and hopefully that can build over the seasons as well.

Do you think that relationship with the fans is something that’s quite refreshing with the women’s game?

Yeah, I think so. There’s always going to be a barrier because of professionalism, but I think it’s nice to see how many fans come to games, especially away. On the pitch you can hear them, so it does push you on more. If I hear them chanting my name it gives me a boost.

You’ve got a decent amount of experience in the game now. Do you see yourself as a mentor to the younger players?

I hope so, yeah. With my story growing up as well maybe some players can relate. I think I was quite lucky in a sense getting into the Chelsea first team. I feel like nowadays it’s harder for young English players to get into the first team because the club’s got the money to bring in overseas players. I like to think that I’m an example of the fact that it can still happen though.

Do you like the idea of using your voice off the pitch to change the game?

For sure. It’s nice to be that person for young players to look up to. It’s nice that if we tell a story, they can relate to it. They can understand and realise that they can still make it. It’s down to us to get our stories out there.

What would it mean to you to see a kid wearing your shirt at Stamford Bridge?

It would obviously be nice. I have seen it a couple of times when we went to Wembley. My family saw someone with Blundell on the back and for them it was weird, and for me, it's still a bit weird, because I still don’t see myself as a high profile player yet. Obviously I want to get to that, but hopefully with the match at Stamford Bridge, that will prompt little kids, or even adults to get our names on the back rather than the men.

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Who are you role models, inside and outside of the game?

For me growing up it was definitely Casey Stoney. When I was at the Chelsea academy she was coaching. She was playing here and she was such a good role model. She gave me so much confidence and always believed in me. She gave me that chance at Chelsea, which really helped me get to where I am today. Off the pitch it’s my family, like my mum. I can’t say enough about her; I think she’s an incredible woman and I’d just love to repay her in anyway that I can. I think what she’s done for the family is incredible. To make her proud is my one thing in life.

Did she have to sacrifice a lot early on in your career?

Yeah, when I was younger she was driving up and down the country. I have two brothers and before I started they were playing. I remember when a coach came round to see if I could play football my mum was just not sure because of my brothers, but they continued to ask and she eventually said yes. Ever since she’s driven me to Brighton, Charlton, which is an hour and 45 minutes each way, so that was twice a week, three times for games. The mileage on her car must’ve been racking up!

Sure she’ll be immensely proud when she sees you at Stamford Bridge.

Hopefully. That’s all I want. After the sacrifices she made I feel like now it’s my turn to repay her. It wasn’t all for nothing.

Photography by Madison Phipps for SoccerBible.