No one seems to know who Roman Arkadyerich Abramovich was. It was announced in 2003 that the Russian Billionaire bought Chelsea Fc.
No one knows the real reason why he bought Chelsea FC. It is also true that buying Chelsea wasn’t his first choice. Then why did he buy Chelsea FC?
WHO IS ROMAN ABRAMOVICH?
Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich is a Russian Billionaire businessman, investor, and politician.
Abramovich is the primary owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC and is best known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea Football Club, a Premier League football club.
According to Forbes 2016 billionaire list, Abramovich’s net worth was US$7.6 billion, making him the 13th-richest person in Russia, and the 151st-richest person in the world. The same year, The Sunday Times estimated his net worth at ₤6.40 billion.
By 1996, at the age of 30, Abramovich had become so rich and politically well-connected that he had become close to President Boris Yeltsin, and had moved into an apartment in the Kremlin at the invitation of the Yeltsin family. In 1999, and now a tycoon, Abramovich was elected governor of Russia’s remote, far eastern province of Chukotka, and has since lavished £112 million (€132 million) on charity to rebuild the impoverished region. The identikit image being pieced together for us was a self-made man who was not only powerful and wealthy but acutely aware of those who had done less well in the tumultuous 1990s when the Soviet Union fell.
WHY DID HE BUY CHELSEA?
No one seems to know him when he bought Chelsea in 2003. He was young, publicity-shy, and a Governor of a faraway frozen province in Russia and made a lot of money in oil and gas.
He gave an interview to BBC saying that he wanted to buy a football club because he was ‘bored and wanted a new challenge’. Chelsea FC was never his first choice. His super agent and fixer had offered him a number of options including Portsmouth FC, Manchester United, etc.
But Chelsea offered something attractive to him. The club was in London, where Abramovich had made his second home amongst the wealthy Russian Elite. Chelsea was also having some financial stress.
In 2003, Chelsea had a huge debt and was struggling to pay the $23,000,000 interest. Then Abramovich entered and he took over after concluding the deal in just 15 minutes.
ABRAMOVICH’S CHELSEA ERA:
Chelsea finished their first season after the takeover in second place in the Premier League, up from fourth the previous year. They also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, which was eventually won by surprise contender Porto, managed by José Mourinho. For Abramovich’s second season at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho was recruited as the new manager, replacing the incumbent Claudio Ranieri.
Chelsea ended the 2004–05 season as league champions for the first time in 50 years and only the second time in their history. Since the takeover, the club has won 13 major trophies – the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, the Premier League five times, the FA Cup four times (with 2010 providing the club’s first ever league and FA Cup double), and the League Cup three times, making Chelsea the second most successful English trophy winning team in the decade with 15 honours, behind only Manchester United with 17 honours in the same time span.
After the 2012–13 season, Benítez left Chelsea, whereupon José Mourinho returned as manager, signing a four-year deal. On 1 July 2013, Chelsea celebrated ten years under Abramovich’s ownership.
Before the first game of the 2013–14 season against Hull City on 18 August 2013, the Russian thanked Chelsea supporters for ten years of support in a short message on the front cover of the match programme, saying, “We have had a great decade together and the club could not have achieved it all without you,” “Thanks for your support and here’s to many more years of success.”
Football gave Abramovich a non-threatening International profile and buying Chelsea always made sense for him.
Even if he bought Chelsea because he was bored, buying the club always made sense to him and gave him a good profile. Also, the club made great progress under his ownership. The Blues became one of the top clubs in Europe. An owner like Abramovich was all Chelsea needed when they were in trouble and were struggling to pay the debts and interests in the year of 2003.