Gilly Flaherty says a West Ham win at Wembley on Saturday would top the lot

Seven-time FA Cup winner Gilly Flaherty admits lifting the trophy with West Ham would trump the lot.

Flaherty, five times a winner with Arsenal and twice with Chelsea, joined a fledgling Hammers team which had only just turned professional last summer.

Manager Matt Beard had to hastily assemble together an entire squad, and the sum total of their ambition was to survive in their first season in the Women’s Super League.

Yet somehow West Ham are not only comfortably mid-table, they also reached a first-ever Women’s FA Cup final.

They will be huge underdogs when they take on mighty Manchester City on Saturday evening at Wembley in front of what will be a record crowd of around 50,000.

Despite her vast experience defender Flaherty, 27, will be captaining a side at Wembley for the first time – and she is dreaming of lifting the trophy.

“It would be the pinnacle of my career,” she said.

“I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a few successful teams but to come here, there was some eyebrows raised when I left Chelsea to come to a club that was brand new, but I trusted Matt and his vision for the club.

“Us getting to the final in our first year proves it was the right decision.”

City are unbeaten domestically this season and thrashed West Ham 7-1 earlier in the campaign, but Beard feels they will be the ones under pressure.

“We’re delighted to be there and we’re looking forward to the occasion,” he said.

“Obviously it’s a big game and a game we want to win. It’s a big occasion but we’ve got a job to do.

“I said at the semi-final stage to get there would probably be like a fairy tale with everything we’ve been through, as a group, having six weeks to build a team and build this club.

“I think it puts more pressure on them. Someone sent me the odds and Manchester City were 5-1 on, and we’re 11-1. But it’s the cup final!

“If we can pull it off on Saturday it would be an unbelievable achievement.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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