A lot of negative press is directed towards Roman Abramovich and the mistakes he has made whilst in charge at Chelsea. In fact, we wrote an article just a few weeks ago describing some of the worst decisions he has made whilst in charge of the Blues.
Many of these mistakes, such as the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti and the signing of Fernando Torres had ramifications at the club for years afterwards; and Abramovich has been rightly retrospectively criticised for his role in the decisions since.
However, lost amongst these shocking events are a wealth of business decisions that have been huge for the club; things that fans might not have even really that Abramovich has had a part in. It is of course down to Abramovich himself that the club are still around to this very day.
It’s time to separate the bad from the good and recognise that during his tenure in charge of Chelsea; Roman Abramovich has actually done a very good job.
Here are the FIVE of the BEST decisions made by Roman Abramovich whilst in charge of Chelsea FC.
The biggest decision of them all.
What many Chelsea fans don’t realise is that without investment from the Russian oligarch; the club simply wouldn’t be around today.
Jasper Gronkjaer’s infamous goal against Liverpool on the final day of the season all those years ago, which got the Blues into the Champion’s League, would have allowed the club to stay afloat on the short term; but huge investment was needed for the long-term financial security of the club.
Step in Roman Abramovich; who reportedly cleared somewhere between £50 and £150 million worth of debt within the first few years of his tenure in charge of the Blues. Without that, the club would almost certainly have been forced into administration.
And of course, his investment hasn’t just been utilised off the field…
Much has been discussed with regards to Roman Abramovich’s ‘reckless’ spending whilst in charge of The Blues; but without the near £1billion investment that the Russian has poured into Chelsea’s transfer fund, they would likely still be struggling as a mid table side.
Over £100 million was spent in the opening year of his tenure alone, and since then a number of huge aqcuistions like Eden Hazard and Didier Drogba have gone on to shape the clubs past, present, and future.
The spending continues today, and whilst it is now largely funded by the club itself; Abramovich still invests heavily in the playing staff at the club.
Without investment in a string of world-class stars; where would Chelsea be now?
Roman Abramovich is often criticised over his approach to youth policy, with many fans pointing towards his outlandish spending habits preventing the development of young Chelsea players.
Whilst Chelsea have become a haven for underdeveloped and misused youngsters; it is once again Roman Abramovich who is giving them the opportunity to train and work with some of the best facilities in world football.
Opened between 2007 and 2008, the £20 million facility offers state of the art equiptment and training for some of the best young players in world football. There’s no doubting that it works; with many of Chelsea’s youth sides the best in the world in there respected age groups.
Abramovich has invested in youth and done his part; the blame for the lack of opportunity given to players rests solely on the feet of the Chelsea managers.
Whilst the Chelsea owner is often given stick over his hire-and-fire approach to management; the one thing that has remained constant over the last decade is himself. You cannot underestimate the importance of stability at the top levels of football clubs.
You only have to look at clubs like Newcastle, who under the leadership of Mike Ashley have now fallen to the Championship and haven’t shown any signs of looking to improve.
Not only has Abramovich’s leadership style brought results and trophies to the club, but it has allowed the club to grow, with a consistent level headed chairman in charge.
Perhaps Abramovich’s personal highlight surrounds the gold that Roberto Di Matteo brought to the club, in that he was the first and only manager to bring the Russian’s golden jewel; the Champions League.
With Abramovich getting a wealth of criticism for his approach to hiring managers, he deserves endless amounts of credit for giving Di Matteo an interim role for half a season, when he could have quite easily gone out and paid someone millions to fill in following the sacking of Andre Villas Boas.
His persistence paid off in the form of a Champion’s League win; and things could have turned out very different if he chose a different direction.