THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ABOUT THE COUNTLESS, ALTHOUGH UNPROVEN (YEAH, RIGHT) CORRUPTION/ BRIBERY / FRAUD / BLACK-MAIL CHARGES AGAINST ABRAMOVICH. For that, all you need to do is wiki Abramovich. This is about something that is more important than even the Pope’s election, this is about the management of a football club, namely the Chelsea Football Club.
Now if you think I have no right to criticize Abramovich or his zany antics, Ha I’m a United fan, I care more about the Pope’s election than about Chelsea fans. Roman Abramovich is a sacrosanct for Chelsea fans. With the money Abramovich has spent as the owner of Chelsea, he has practically built the club. The logic basically works like this, You-Talk-Bad-About–Papa-You-A-Plastic. NOBODY is beyond fair criticism, not even Sir Alex Ferguson.
Now it’s time for some Football History recap. It was 2003, Bush was the President of America, America was engaged in war with Iraq and consequently Saddam Hussein was killed. Concurrently, in the footballing world a Russian “businessman” by the name of Roman Abramovich took over the companies that controlled Chelsea FC. Being the “businessman” that he was, Abramovich decided he would make Chelsea FC as big and relevant a brand as Manchester United and Real Madrid. What followed was unprecedented. Abramovich bought 14 PLAYERS!!!!! He spent £121,150,000, while letting go 5 players, 4 of them for FREE, and the fifth one for £500,000. That totals to a net spending of £120,650,000. To give you a little perspective, Petrol in India in 2003 would’ve cost you Rs. 32 per litre, now it will cost you Rs. 75+. Among the many toys Abramovich bought to play with, there were some proven World Class players. Claude Makelele, undoubtedly the best of the crop. Chelsea, even after so much investment couldn’t win a single trophy that season.
Papa Abramovich got mad and sacked Claudio Ranieri. His eyes were set on the shiny Portuguese Manager Jose Mourinho, who had won just the trophy Papa Abramovich was obsessed with, the Champions League. Since Papa Abramovich was mad, he essentially let go of 14 PLAYERS!!! Ironic, how he bought 14 players in his first season and let go of 14 in the next. I use the phrase ‘let go’ because only 1 of the 14 was actually sold for money, the others were either loaned, released, their contracts ran out or they retired. He bought another 9 players including Drogba, Robben, Cech, Ferreira and Carvalho for an estimated £95,000,000. That was £200mil+ invested ONLY in transfer fees in 2 years. Wages and other expenses ARE NOT being calculated. Chelsea won the Premier League 2 years in a row along with a League Cup in the following 2 seasons.
Then came the signing of Andriev Shevchenko for the then British record transfer fee of £30mil. Shevchenko was Papa’s favourite toy. But unfortunately, Shevchenko wasn’t the sensation every one hoped he would be. Mourinho began playing Drogba as a lone-striker with Joe Cole and Salomon Kalou for support. Papa Abramovich got mad (surprise surprise) resulting in Mourinho “leaving by mutual consent”.
Since then Chelsea has seen 8 different managers (Ray Wilkins managed the team for a game before Hiddink’s appointment), with the impending appointment of a probable 9th at the end of the season, in 6 years.
World-Cup winning, Champions League winning, Europa League winning managers have fallen prey to the whims and fancies of a Stubborn-Russian-Billionaire-Dictator.
Chelsea fans consider Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking the most unfair. I disagree. Let’s be realistic for a minute, RDM’s appointment was out of compulsion and not choice. This was corroborated by Abramovich when he offered RDM only a 2-year contract. Someone who wins you the Champions League in the capacity of a Caretaker Manager cannot be sacked. Andre Villas-Boas is the guy I thought was the most ill-treated of the lot. “The lot”, it’s a shame one can be given the opportunity to use such a degrading phrase to quantify the number of managers of a football club in half a decade. AVB was a guy trying to change the fundamental values of a club. Taking the hard decisions. And more often than not, when you choose the path less travelled by, the destination might not be close or even comfortable to reach. AVB was sacked after only 40 games. I sincerely believe, had Chelsea stuck with AVB, they probably wouldn’t have won the Champions League last year, BUT they’d have finished in the Top-4(FACT: Chelsea were 6th in the League last year). They wouldn’t be fighting for a Champions League qualifying spot in the league right now, and probably would still be in the Champions League (okay maybe not, but they wouldn’t have crashed out in the Group Stage). Also, the whole Benitez-saga could’ve been avoided. But, Papa wanted his new favourite toy “Torres” to be played week in and week out.
Now I’ve read articles that illustrate with neatly drawn tables and just as many numbers as I’ve used in this article to prove their point – how Abramovich’s instinctual decisions to sack managers has actually helped Chelsea. To those people I say only one thing
“There are lies, there are damned lies, and then there are statistics”.
So long story short, Abramovich is not inviolable. Direct your hate about Rafa towards him. RAFA DID NOT APPOINT HIMSELF AS THE “INTERIM MANAGER”.
Also, for spoiling Chelsea FC, I have 2 words for you Abramovich,