Abramovich, Chelsea, and the broken Bridge

What has transpired between Ukraine and Russia over the past week or so – has been dreadful. And its ramifications have reached far and wide –football, being no different. Many players have openly protested against the war going on between the countries. Meanwhile, many countries have refused to play the Russian team for the foreseeable future. Russian National Teams (male and female) have been suspended from all FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice. And finally, the aftermath has reached Premier League – Roman Abramovich being the latest casualty. Roman’s origin and his ties with certain someone have led him to cut ties with Chelsea Football Club as the owner for the sake of the well-being of the club.

Chelsea Players & staff celebrating the FA Cup win Image source: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

Chelsea before Abramovich

The Blues were slowly getting into the thick of things without any substantial achievement before Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 for £140m ($233m). Long before the Russian billionaire’s takeover, Chelsea FC was bought by Ken Bates for £1m. Since then, the Club had made gradual progress over the years. But the debts also were going south and Ken latched into the opening the moment he got. Chelsea Football Club before Abramovich was always grinding, but Abramovich was the ‘oomph’ they needed for their ‘try’. In the 98 years of the club’s history before the takeover, Chelsea had won only 15 titles. If one had to be honest, that is not the most impressive trophy collection. But things were about to change with Abramovich at the helm of affairs.

Image source: Reuters

Chelsea under Abramovich

In just his second season after taking over, he recruited the special one – Jose Mourinho. It was the advent of the club to eternal glory. Chelsea won the Premier League handsomely in 2004/05 bagging 95 points and conceding only 15 goals in 38 matches. And they did that again defending the title the following season. So, Abramovich had arrived and so did Chelsea as a top dog. Chelsea’s win percentage of 67 under Jose Mourinho in his first stint, is still the best for any manager who has managed more than 25 games for the club. Over the course of 19 years under Roman, Chelsea has stamped themselves as a European giant. They have won 5 Premier League titles, 2 Champions League titles (including the most recent), and 2 Europa Leagues. All in all, Chelsea have won 21 titles with Roman Abramovich, winning everything there is to be won by an English Club. From taking over a Club that was in debt of about £80m (then) to making them self-sufficient and profitable, they have come a long way.

Chelsea after Abramovich

Abramovich was utterly passionate about the club and it was there for everyone to see. And so, the decision of selling the Club is not one that he would have taken if it was not for the current situation. He always looked out for the best interests of the club and so is this one – because of the pressure on the Club left, right, and center. Hence it seems unfair that he has to rid himself of something he so dearly loves. His investment in the club, emotionally more than anything else made him a fan favorite. It was never only about the money for him. The fans concurred with most of the things he did. His relationship with the players, managers, the staff, and the fans garnered him recognition as one of the best owners of Football Clubs, if not the best. So, whoever decides to buy the club has some massive shoes to fill. The standard he has set for the fans and the club is so high that it will be interesting to see if they live up to it or crumble.