My London: Emma Hayes

·3-min read
 (UEFA via Getty Images)
(UEFA via Getty Images)

Home is…

I was born and bred in Camden but now live up in Muswell Hill with my three-year-old bubba, Harry. It’s just the pair of us in a lovely little house, full of his toys and my tactics boards. Harry always says it’s his house, not mine. I’m just renting a room off him.

Best meal you’ve had?

Any trip to Barrafina. I went for tapas at the King’s Cross one the other day. And you can’t beat Castle’s pie and mash in Camden for proper comfort food.

Castle’s pie and mash (Alamy Stock Photo)
Castle’s pie and mash (Alamy Stock Photo)

Which shops do you rely on?

Smyths toy shop, Planet Organic and I love Covent Garden. My dad just turned 80 but still gets the Tube every day to work at our family currency business, Covent Garden FX. I love hanging out there with my papa. We’ll have a cappuccino outside The Ivy or on the piazza.

If you could buy any building in London and live there, which would it be?

One of those houses on The Grove in Highgate, where Kate Moss and Jamie Oliver live. I’d be opposite The Flask pub, I could walk on Hampstead Heath and feel a bit posh.

The Flask (Alamy Stock Photo)
The Flask (Alamy Stock Photo)

Where would you like to be buried?

With the rest of my family in East Finchley Cemetery. I drive past it on the way to work and it’s comforting that it will always be my home.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

Bring youth clubs back. Places to talk to teenagers, give them opportunities and show them another way. I’d also put outreach workers on the streets to reduce knife crime. My youth workers were amazing for me.

Best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?

‘Are you Emma Watson?’ I pretended I was. She asked what Daniel Radcliffe was like and I said he was a lovely guy.

Where do you go to let your hair down?

The Jazz Cafe. My heart and soul are in Camden. I used to love the Camden Crawl. Listening to music in any pub around there — The Good Mixer, The Hawley Arms or Oxford Arms — whisks me back. Even though they all smelt of feet and farts.

Most iconic Londoner?

Alfred Hitchcock. Rear Window is one of my all-time favourite films.

What’s your London secret?

In Tube stations, walk the way you’re not supposed to. Going against the flow is always the quickest route.

Where would you recommend for a first date?

Walk from St Paul’s Cathedral across the Millennium Bridge, go to Tate Modern, then stroll down the South Bank, have cocktails in Sea Containers and finish up on the London Eye.

St Paul’s Cathedral (Alamy Stock Photo)
St Paul’s Cathedral (Alamy Stock Photo)

What makes someone a Londoner?

A sense of humour and a streetwise attitude. We know when we’re being conned.

What’s your fondest memory of watching England?

In Euro 96, we’d just beaten Spain on penalties and I went to a Madness concert in Finsbury Park with my mates. That was a glorious day.

Who are your footballing heroes?

Maradona, Paul Gascoigne and Glenn Hoddle. I love aesthetically pleasing No10s. They’re the reason we pay money to watch football. Some would argue I’ve got a team of 10s.

Most important thing you learnt during the lockdowns?

That we all need to slow down. The constant pursuit of being busy isn’t healthy. Put your health, family and friends first. Everything else is irrelevant.

Emma Hayes is manager of Chelsea Women’s FC and part of ITV’s coverage of the Euros

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