Gilly Flaherty

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Gilly Flaherty
Flaherty in 2018 playing for West Ham United Women
Personal information
Full name Gilly Louise Scarlett Flaherty
Date of birth (1991-08-24) 24 August 1991 (age 32)
Place of birth London, England
Height 1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
Position(s) Centre Back
Youth career
2000–2003 Millwall Lionesses
2003–2006 Arsenal
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2006–2013 Arsenal 76 (4)
2014–2018 Chelsea 57 (8)
2018–2022 West Ham United 63 (1)
2022–2023 Liverpool 8 (0)
International career
2015–2017 England 9 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 21:00, 21 January 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 18:33, 9 June 2017 (UTC+1)

Gilly Louise Scarlett Flaherty (born 24 August 1991) is an English former footballer who last played for FA WSL club Liverpool.[1] Flaherty is a former Arsenal Ladies player who began her career in Millwall Lionesses' youth teams. She usually plays in the centre back position and represented England at youth level before making her senior debut in October 2015.

Flaherty holds the record for the most appearances in the Women's Super League, playing in her record-breaking 176th game in November 2022 to overtake previous holder Jill Scott.[2] She announced her retirement from football halfway through the 2022-23 WSL season.[3]

Early life[edit]

Born in Rotherhithe / Bermondsey, Flaherty grew up in the London Borough of Southwark, located directly south of the River Thames. She was educated at Addey and Stanhope School, a secondary school located in New Cross, London, where she was a Head Girl.[4]

In September 2007, Flaherty joined the Arsenal Ladies Academy, which combines academic studies with football coaching. The Academy is based at Oaklands Colleges Smallford Campus, St Albans, Hertfordshire. She gained a BTEC National Sport and Exercise Science qualification on successfully attaining a pass in the course.

Flaherty took part in a white-collar boxing match in August 2013, to raise money for Millwall FC's Girls' Centre of Excellence. She was stopped halfway through the second round.[5]

Club career[edit]

Millwall Lionesses[edit]

Flaherty started playing football with her father as a nine-year-old. She joined her first club, Millwall Lionesses, where she played for the youth teams until the age of thirteen.

Arsenal Ladies[edit]

Flaherty (right) with Kim Little, May 2009

Flaherty joined Arsenal following a successful trial with the club in 2003,[6] she was part of its youth programme, playing for the Under-14s team. Flaherty worked her way through the club, coming off the bench to make her senior debut in October 2006 against Birmingham City, in a League Cup match, when only 15 years old.

Flaherty was part of the Arsenal squad that won a quadruple in the 2006–07 season; comprising the UEFA Women's Cup, FA Women's National Premier League, FA Women's Cup and the FA Women's Premier League Cup.[7][8][9] She was part of the Arsenal squad that made history by being the first team outside Germany or Scandinavia to win the UEFA Women's Cup.[10] She was also in the team that won the 2006–07 season London County FA Women's Cup.[11][12]

In April 2011, Flaherty scored the first goal of the FA WSL season – the winner in an away match at Chelsea, in front of 2,510 supporters.[13]

Chelsea Ladies[edit]

Flaherty (right) playing for Chelsea in 2015

In January 2014, Chelsea announced the double transfer of Flaherty and Katie Chapman from Arsenal.[14] The move reunited both players with coach Emma Hayes, who previously worked at Arsenal. Hayes said of Flaherty: "Gilly is the best uncapped player in the country. She will become a bedrock for club and country as she has all the hallmarks of a top class player."[15] Flaherty's first season with the team ended in disappointment, as they lost the league title to Liverpool on the final day of the campaign. 2015 proved much more successful, yielding the club's first ever major trophy – won at Wembley Stadium in the 2015 FA Women's Cup Final. In October 2015 Chelsea's 4–0 win over Sunderland secured the FA WSL title and a League and Cup "double".[16]

West Ham United Ladies[edit]

In June 2018, Flaherty joined West Ham United Ladies, who had successfully applied to join the WSL for the 2018–19 season. She followed former Chelsea teammates Rebecca Spencer and Claire Rafferty, both of whom had moved to the east London club during the close-season.[17][18]

Liverpool Women[edit]

In July 2022, Flaherty signed for Liverpool Women.[19][20] On 12 January 2023, Flaherty announced her retirement from football citing family reasons following the passing of her father in late 2022.[21]

International career[edit]

Flaherty is a former England Under-19 and Under-20 international.[22] She has previously represented her country at Under-15 and 17 levels and made her debut for the Under-23 team against Germany in September 2010.[22]

Not favoured by England coach Hope Powell, in December 2013 Flaherty was named in the first senior squad to be named by Powell's successor Mark Sampson.[23] She won her first senior cap in October 2015, starting England's 2–1 defeat by China in Yongchuan.[24] In total she made 9 appearances for England.[25]

Flaherty was allotted 191 when the FA announced their legacy numbers scheme to honour the 50th anniversary of England’s inaugural international.[26][27]

Media appearances[edit]

In 2008 and 2009, Flaherty appeared on the Channel 4 television programme Yeardot.[28] In 2023, Flaherty made numerous appearances as a football commentator including for the BBC and contributor to the football podcast Counter Pressed.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Flaherty was a P.E. teacher at John Donne Primary school sporadically throughout her career.

In December 2018, Flaherty revealed that she is a lesbian and living with her partner Lily.[30] In an interview in February 2020, Flaherty disclosed that she attempted suicide when she was 17 years old, due to mental health issues.[31] She is a supporter of the Time to Talk day campaign, run by Time to Change.[32]




West Ham United

  • FA Women's Cup Runners-up 2019


  1. ^ "Gilly Flaherty". Liverpool FC. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  2. ^ "Gilly Flaherty becomes record WSL appearance holder". Liverpool F.C. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  3. ^ "Gilly Flaherty: Liverpool defender and WSL record appearance holder retires from professional football due to family reasons". Sky Sports. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
  4. ^ "Former Pupil wins League with Arsenal Ladies". Addey and Stanhope Technology School. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  5. ^ Flaherty, Gilly (13 August 2013). "Gilly's Knockout Nine she then went to work at john donne primary school in peckham along with her mother.she left the school to get a professional life as a football player for Chelsea ladies. Days". The #WFBlog. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  6. ^ "5. Gilly Flaherty". Arsenal official website. Arsenal F.C. Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  7. ^ Mawhinney, Stuart (7 May 2007). "Arsenal clinch quadruple". FA women's cup. The Football Association. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Arsenal complete unique feat". Latest news. UEFA. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Arsenal Ladies Honours". Arsenal Official website. Arsenal F.C. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  10. ^ Chris Harris (29 April 2007). "Match Report". Arsenal Official website. Arsenal F.C. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  11. ^ "Match Report". Arsenal Official website. Arsenal F.C. 18 April 2007. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  12. ^ "Statement of Accounts and Annual Report 2006/2007" (PDF). Arsenal F.C. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Arsenal win Super League opener". 13 April 2011.
  14. ^ "Chapman and Flaherty join Chelsea". Arsenal F.C. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  15. ^ Magowan, Alistair (9 January 2014). "Katie Chapman has England hopes after sealing Chelsea switch". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  16. ^ Garry, Tom (4 October 2015). "WSL 1: Chelsea Ladies 4–0 Sunderland Ladies". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Gilly Flaherty: West ham ladies sign Chelsea and England Defender". BBC Sport. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Gilly Flaherty". West Ham United. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Gilly Flaherty". Liverpool F.C. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  20. ^ "Liverpool FC Women Sign Defender Gilly Flaherty". The Liverpool Offside. 12 July 2022. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  21. ^ "Gilly Flaherty announces retirement from football". Liverpool FC. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
  22. ^ a b "Gilly Flaherty". The Football Association. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  23. ^ "Lianne Sanderson recalled to England training squad". BBC Sport. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  24. ^ "England women beaten by China despite Eniola Aluko goal". BBC Sport. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  25. ^ "England women's senior team Legacy". England Football. Retrieved 19 June 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ Gerty, David (31 May 2023). "England squad named for 2023 Women's World Cup". England Football. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  27. ^ Lacey-Hatton, Jack (18 November 2022). "Lionesses introduce 'legacy numbers' for players past and present". mirror. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  28. ^ "Year Dot Series 1". Channel 4. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  29. ^ "Counter Pressed - The Ringer". Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  30. ^ Kelleher, Patrick (6 December 2018). "Lesbian footballer Gilly Flaherty opens up about sexuality". PinkNews. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  31. ^ Daly, Charlotte (7 February 2020). "West Ham Women's Captain Opens Up About Her Mental Health Struggles". Women's Health. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  32. ^ Wrack, Suzanne (6 February 2020). "West Ham's Gilly Flaherty: 'People will be shocked because I'm always happy'". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 October 2020.

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