Not all fairytales have happy endings, and so it is with Chelsea after the club announced early Saturday that it had been bought by a group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter, and Hansjoerg Wyss.
How it all changed for the club and Abramovich after almost two decades of fruitful union started in Ukraine, thousands of kilometers from England, when Vladimir Putin sent his ‘invaders’ to its neighbor’s territory on February 24 without provocation; of which even if there was, the anger should have been directed to NATO and the United States, who were using the East European nation to bully Kremlin.
Russia’s expectation to overturn Ukraine ‘within’ 10 days has dragged on and as it was in the early days of the invasion, the human catastrophe has continued to pile monumentally, prompting the United Kingdom government to, as part of sanctions on Russian oligarchs, a clique Abramovich belongs, seize Chelsea, which the billionaire bought in 2003 for £140million.
The ban on the Russian temporarily affected the club’s sale of tickets for matches, and barred the club from discussing contracts with any player, forcing Chelsea to lose a few of its best players; Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, both of whom now have agreements with Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, as they would run out of existing deals this summer.
Chelsea was not less than a mediocre club until the 55-year-old bought the club 19 years ago. The London club won 21 titles under the former owner, averaging one trophy per season–the five league titles, five FA Cup, two FA Community Shield, three EFL Cup, two Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup, and two UEFA Europa League, under Abramovic, headline The Blues’ succeeded as a club as far as many are concerned.
He gave the English side a different identity and a place among Europe’s bigwigs, changing their status from Premier League whipping team. The club is the only London club to have won the European club, of which they are still the current holders, the first of which they won in 2012.
On many accounts, Abramovich never left anyone guessing as to why he bought the club. Unlike United, which has become the cash cow for the Glazers family. Abramovich borrowed the club more than £1billion which was never repaid and recently speculated as to the reason the club had not been sold.
Thirteen managers have managed the Stamford Bridge dugout during the Abramovich era, including Carlo Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte, and enigmatic Jose Mourinho, and made the club attractive to the world’s best footballers who believed in his project at Chelsea.
The former Chelsea owner has maintained the £2.5billion paid by the new owners for the acquisition will be donated to the Ukraine Relief Fund and appropriately disbursed in partnership with reputable global charity bodies and the United Nations, once the UK government gives the required approval for the proceeds to be transferred from the frozen UK bank account.
It is left to be seen if the consortium will light the torch of passion and success that had just been put out in the South-west of the city of Westminster and make it come alive again from next season.
The new owners must be ready to do more than it is expected of them to match or beat Abramovich’s passion and record at Chelsea, as they have proposed to commit £1.75billion in further investment for the benefit of the Club–vis-a-vis investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team, Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation
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Femi is a creative writer with 8 years of experience. He has written for publications including Daily Trust Newspapers, Business Insider and Swedish Music site Vibbidi among others. He enjoys watching/playing football, reading and writing.