Derby County Ladies Football Club

“Massive Loss to the Ewe Rams and Women’s Game” Jeffo Retires

Members of Derby County Ladies have expressed their sadness after it was confirmed that centre-back Emily Jeffery had announced her retirement from the game calling her departure a ‘massive loss to the club’.

Club Chief Executive Duncan Gibbs told DCLFC Media that coming into the club, to have her support meant so much to him as he looked to take the Ewe Rams forward. Gibb said “From the moment that I walked into club in October 2013, Jeffo made me feel welcome.

“Given that she was one of the more established players this meant a great deal and over the proceeding years I’ve come to regard her as a friend. The club has come quite a long way in that time and Jeffo has never been shy in either supporting various projects that we have delivered or passing positive comment on them.

“Coming from a player that has been at the club since she was a kid, securing her seal of approval certainly provided me with the conviction that we are on the right track.

“As a player her record in terms of both appearances and goals speaks for itself and I was absolutely gutted when she sustained the injury that has subsequently gone on to draw her career to a premature conclusion.

“The biggest disappointment in all of this, was that in my view she was playing the best football that I had seen since coming into the club and was a natural fit at centre half, with her reading of the game, positional sense and distribution.

“It’s great that she still remains a fixture on match days and I hope that continues. I always say to people that for me “Sheila Rollinson is Derby County Ladies” ; however the likes of Jeffo and Lorna Abbey come into the category of ‘Club Legends’ and as we know, the memory of legends live forever.”

The word legend is not bandied around often but it is a word that describes Jeffery without a shadow of a doubt according to Coach Jenny Simpson, a former teammate of the defender for a number of years.

Simpson said “Ive played with Jeffo for multiple years and she is a massive loss to Derby County Ladies, on and off the pitch. Complete professional and leader on the pitch, whether from midfield or centre-half, you could always guarantee she would pop up a couple of times a season with an absolute worldy goal.

“Off the pitch she was a real centre point for the girls to have fun with. I personally always enjoyed my after match pints and jokes with Jeffo, and I know some of the others will miss their after training picnics in the car park.

“There’s been some long standing players that have played a massive part in the club for a number of years but for me Jeffo has been the go too player in my eyes and deserves her place as a club legend.”

 

Coming up through the ranks just a few years after Jeffo is current Club Captain Hannah Ward and it was inevitable that these two would hit it off and for the skipper, she will never forget how much she did for her when she stepped up to senior level.

Ward said “Jeffo was one of the first people to make me feel comfortable when I made the step up from the youth system to the senior set up. Right from the off she showed me what it required and meant to play for Derby at a First Team level and along with others she helped set the standards for players to aspire to.

“For many years she has been a role model for me as I played alongside her and she will continue to do so for the rest of my career and life. I am devastated that she has had to retire due to injury but through the whole process she has shown strength and determination which I always knew would happen.

“I don’t think she knows the impact she has had on some people but I hope she will do in time. I’ve missed having my partner in crime around and will continue to do so. Over the years I didn’t just gain a fantastic teammate and role model, I made a best friend for life.”

With one of the longest appearance records with the club and often comparisons of their time with the Ewe Rams, club founder and current secretary Sheila Rollinson was there that first season that she joined the club as a junior and knew she was destined for great things.

Rollinson said “From the moment Jeffo nutmegged me at her first training session (I think she was about 8 at the time) I knew she was going to be an amazing footballer. Steve (Hall) and I signed her for the juniors in 2000 when DCLFC first started to run junior teams and she moved up through u16 to the First team with him as manager.

“We won the East Midlands League Cup in 2005 with Jeffo in the team. Although she is right up there in terms of appearances, I’m still going, so she’d better watch out haha! Or join me in the Foundation team, please ;).”

Though they were teammates for years, and did huge things together for the Ewe Rams, when one got injured perhaps it was a case of poetic injustice that saw them both have their careers cut short between them and for Derby Manager Sam Griffiths, the loss of Jeffery is a bitter blow to her first season at the helm.

Griffiths said “I’m gutted that Jeffo has had to retire, I always felt she had much more to give and had black and white running through her veins. She just had that presence that made you respect her and she was a damn good player to boot.

“When you have someone like Em, you really want them to be with you to give you that kick up the backside that was needed and she was always so influential. I hope she is not lost to not only the game but more importantly, Derby County Ladies.

“We all wish her the best in her retirement and i’m sure she will always be on the end of the phone or barking at me from the sidelines to pass on her knowledge, I wouldn’t have it any other way. She is a Ewe Rams Legend if ever I saw one!”