Football FanCast columnist Mike Harvey feels that no one can ever question Roman Abramovich’s passion and
commitment for Chelsea football club.
owner Roman Abramovich is very often accused of losing interest in Chelsea FC.
Every time he misses a game or looks stoic when the cameras pan to him in the
stands, the media throws out the idea that Roman may be looking to sell the
club. A close look at Abramovich’s actions and a little thought about what he
may be planning for the future will show how farfetched that idea is.
All club supporters are different. Some go to every match, sing, yell and
cringe with every mistake and jump for joy at every goal. For every one of
those supporters there is also one who watches the game so intently that he or
she can’t be bothered with anything else once the ball is in play. Roman Abramovich
definitely falls into this category. Abramovich has a good football brain when
it comes to tactics on the pitch. In fact part of the bust up with Mourinho was
when Roman came down to the changing room and lectured Essien on tactics before
Jose had gotten there. If the rumours of what was said are correct Abramovich
was spot on with what he was saying, Essien did need to get the ball out to the
Abramovich overstepped his bounds but at least his analysis of the game was
right. He is a multi billionaire, and no one gets to that point without being
aggressive and working hard. As a result Abramovich has a lot going on.
Attending every game would be nice but doing the things necessary to keep his
fortune and hopefully keep the club moving forward HAS to come first. Mike
Ashley, the Newcastle owner, is at every game, wearing his shirt, drinking his
beer, and cheering his heart out. Newcastle is battling to avoid relegation,
while Chelsea is challenging for an FA Cup and Champions League double. Roman
seems to have his eye on the ball.
In the off season, Chelsea hired World Cup winning manager Luis Felipe Scolari,
widely considered one of the best managers in the world. This very positive
feeling at the club was that this move would bring Chelsea to the top. The move
seemed to be brilliant. The opening game saw Chelsea come flying out of the
gates with a 4-0 win over Portsmouth. New arrival Deco played great and Chelsea
displayed the attractive football that people said was lacking under Mourinho.
The honeymoon did not last long. As the season progressed Chelsea began
dropping points at the Bridge and eventually the unthinkable happened as the
Blues lost a home game. The Blues, however, were still progressing in the
Champions League and winning enough to maintain their Champions League spot for
next year and keep them in the money. Pundits said it was just growing pains as
Scolari learned the English game and that Chelsea would be fine.
Abramovich had other ideas. A Chelsea team that does not play consistently at its
best is not good enough for Roman. Abramovich sacked Scolari and brought in
Guus Hiddink on an interim basis to try and get the club back to its top form.
The timing of the move came under fire as it was a week prior to a Champions League
tie against Juventus and an important Premier League match against a strong
Aston Villa side. Abramovich acted like a fan. The club was not doing as well
as he wanted them to do so he did something about it. There was no thought
about the timing or the media opinions; it was about Abramovich wanting the
club to be at the top of everything. Just like every other Chelsea supporter.
A disinterested manager would have just let Chelsea maintain their CL spot and
the money that comes from that, especially considering the cost of buying out
Scolari. Looking at the results of the change in manager once again Abramovich
seems to have his eye on the ball.
Guus Hiddink, at this moment, is not planning to stay with the club past this
season. Carlos Ancelotti is rumoured to be the next choice. Abramovich is also
rumoured to be preparing to bankroll a summer spending spree to bring in new
players. On the surface this seems to be a knee jerk reaction to a subpar
season in which some players did not play up to their ability. A closer
examination reveals that this may be a very shrewd business decision.
The current Premier League table has Middlesbrough and Newcastle being
relegated. The rosters of these two clubs are littered with talented players.
The other factor, which is not as well known, is that Real Madrid is having
presidential elections over the summer. The candidates always make promises as
to which players they are going to bring into the club. Real Madrid has great
players throughout the roster. If the new president follows through on his
promises and brings in new blood that means some of these players are going to
be on the market. It is quite possible that Roman did his homework and decided
it would be a good summer to spend some money, especially since the Chelsea
side isn’t getting any younger. The Chelsea owner seems to have it right again.
Roman is often looked at like a child with a new toy when it comes to Chelsea.
Everyone has seen the kid at Christmas who gets a shiny new toy and then spends
hours playing with the cardboard box. Pundits appear to be waiting for the time
when Roman decides he prefers a different toy. Nothing Abramovich has done
suggests his devotion to Chelsea is a passing fancy. In fact when it comes to
Mourinho maybe he was too involved.
When and how Roman became a supporter is irrelevant as many people “find” a
club later in life and become lifelong dedicated supporters. Roman Abramovich
is a Chelsea supporter, he may not be as expressive as some but there can be no
doubt about the effort and thought he puts in to everything he does regarding