It will never be the end of an era. Roman Abramovich saw it.
It is the end of his era. The era when money was no object in the pursuit of glory for Chelsea.
Managers may get more time, the search for profits and value may be more straightforward, but Chelsea will never collapse.
Roman Abramovich’s reign as owner of Chelsea is officially over after he sold the club on Monday
Todd Boley (centre), in the presence of Stamford Bridge, has been confirmed as the new majority owner of Chelsea along with Clearlake Capital after a massive £4.25 billion takeover.
The first day of Todd Buehle’s era is still Abramović’s day as well; Because the club he created is the one that was bought. Those who had hoped that Chelsea would collapse without Abramovich or at least shrink will be disappointed.
Abramovich was a billionaire and created a football club that could only care about other billionaires if they were sold. This does not mean that it cannot fail from here. That’s not to say the Boehly consortium could be any less talented than the talented goalkeepers than, say, Liverpool’s Fenway Sports Group.
Not every billionaire runs a successful football club. Stan Kroenke is a very wealthy owner as well, but Arsenal are still struggling. When was the last time Glazer got it right at Manchester United?
However, Abramovich FC, for now at least, will remain the way it used to. Buhli spent the first day pledging to continue investing in Chelsea. He promised to make fans proud. “We’re 100 percent, we’re all in,” he said. And what would the goal be otherwise, really? Chelsea is not the London club with its shiny new stadium. While it is limited to a capacity of just over 40,000 at Stamford Bridge, it remains a large and expensive project.
In addition, unlike any other American investor, Boehly buys with the knowledge that the Super League project is dead.
Bohli inherits a European power that has succeeded under Abramovich’s massive spending
Who knows where the rest of the venture capitalists thought English football was headed. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus all blamed it, but despite everything we know about the Premier League teams – Fenway, Glazers and Kroenex – they have been eyeing it all along.
Perhaps they saw it coming, one day there will be a breakup, a coup, a conspiracy to maximize revenue, and they could be there, from the inside. Take possession of the English game, steal it, and craft it to its massive advantage and profit.
But Bohli is different. He arrives knowing that that moment is over. When he says he’s all in, he’s all in a system that won’t change at any point in the foreseeable future.
Chelsea will play in the English Premier League, and Chelsea will play in the UEFA competitions. Yes, elite clubs will always try to turn the nail on those below. Chelsea will remain party to the schemes, schemes to make more money from the broadcasting cycle, and the competitive European tournament. Historic venues, safety nets and guaranteed revenue streams whether good, bad or indifferent, Chelsea and Boley will be a party to it, as was Abramovich.
But the Premier League is dead and this could have been the big win. All parties looking to buy Chelsea have gone to great lengths to attract fans who have turned amazingly and successfully over their proposed split a year ago.
Boley buys Chelsea knowing the chance to join a separate Super League is over
Buhli knows that Chelsea’s fan base would be lost if he came up with the idea, and new regulations would soon make any such separation legally impossible, without destroying the club.
So he’s buying what Chelsea is now. He’s buying a domestic league, two domestic cups and, fortunately, a European competition. Perhaps if FIFA expands the Club World Cup, Chelsea will participate in that as well.
Chelsea also has another excellent revenue stream through their successful academy, and if Boehly redevelops Stamford Bridge, there is money to be made there. But the fear of him joining other American owners in the Premier League is wrong. The ship has sailed.
Boehly, buy into Chelsea as is. That was the greatest gift Abramovich gave. He created a club he didn’t need to make him attractive.