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18 hours ago, NikkiCFC said:

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has net worth plunge down by enormous £2.4bn as coronavirus ravages financial markets

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-8118529/Chelsea-owner-Roman-Abramovich-net-worth-plunge-enormous-2-4bn.html#comments

Damn, there goes our stadium...

Bernard Arnault (LVMH) has lost (this is jaw-dropping) lost 41 BILLION USD in net worth YTD. He was tracking, at one time, to pass up Bezos as the richest person (publically reported, I still say there are others with hidden wealth that dwarf these people) on the planet.

.https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/

:blink:

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Im going to go on a bit of an out of character rant here because tbh i am sickened by some of the stuff i have read about Roman these past 48 hours. Now do i agree with his decision to sack Roberto Di

The three last games show how much wrong was the decision to sack our manager, how much wrong was the choice of personel, and especially how much the timing was wrong. Roberto Di Matteo was sacked whe

We needed world class manager in 2004 - we got him. We didn't need world class manager in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. We could use one, of course, but the core of the team in Terry, Lampard, Cole, Essien,

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4 hours ago, Fulham Broadway said:

They haven't lost anything unless they offload. My shares are down 38k but its all bollox. There are only two prices that matter what you buy at and what you sell at.

Not unlikely that Roman, and all of these uber sophisticated money people, actually make money out of this situation.

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Just now, OhForAGreavsie said:

Well played Roman. I hope I'm not wrong in thinking that the other Premier League billionaires are probably doing their bit too.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/gary-neville-ryan-giggs-close-17945541

Giggs and Neville are doing the same with their hotels. 

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5 minutes ago, OhForAGreavsie said:

Not unlikely that Roman, and all of these uber sophisticated money people, actually make money out of this situation.

Very true OFAG - rare that the very rich take a hit without invert investing

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On 18/03/2020 at 8:05 PM, Fulham Broadway said:

Neville has previous - he let homeless squat his hotel - top man 

I like Gary Neville (I think he is one of the best football pundits in the world, although that positing will surely get me stick here), but I still hate Giggs lolol

although he is doing a good thing atm

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1 hour ago, Vesper said:

I like Gary Neville (I think he is one of the best football pundits in the world, although that positing will surely get me stick here), but I still hate Giggs lolol

although he is doing a good thing atm

Agree Neville knows his football and his punditry is neutral -Giggs , well anyone that goes behind his brothers back and fucks his wife for 10 years - nuff said

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9 minutes ago, Fulham Broadway said:

Agree Neville knows his football and his punditry is neutral -Giggs , well anyone that goes behind his brothers back and fucks his wife for 10 years - nuff said

yes, Giggs is an absolute shitehawk of a human being on a moral level

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On 18/03/2020 at 3:16 PM, Fulham Broadway said:

They haven't lost anything unless they offload. My shares are down 38k but its all bollox. There are only two prices that matter what you buy at and what you sell at.

well, that is why it is called net worth

it presupposes a pure liquidation (which is impossible at these levels of assets) versus an immediate servicing in full of all debts and liabilities

but yes, it is all entirely speculative 

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  • 1 month later...

a month old, but I just saw this

Abramovich-Built Stadium in Russia Slated for Demolition Over Safety Concerns

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/03/29/abramovich-built-stadium-in-russia-slated-for-demolition-over-safety-concerns-a65006

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An ice hockey stadium built in Siberia by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for an estimated $150 million will now be demolished over safety concerns, 12 years after it was first opened to the public.

First inaugurated in 2007 in the Siberian city of Omsk, the arena was donated by Abramovich to the local Avangard Hockey Club in 2012. Last September, an evaluation of Omsk Arena’s structure determined the building was in “emergency condition,” with specialists finding structural defects in 90 percent of surveyed areas, including large cracks in its columns.

“It’s clear that what’s here now will be demolished,” Avangard’s chairman Alexander Krylov told journalists Thursday.

“A modern arena will be built on this site,” he added.

Avangard was forced to relocate three time zones away from its hometown to a stadium near Moscow after structural defects were discovered at Omsk Arena last summer. The club did not reveal the extent and nature of the damage but hinted the decision to move was linked to safety.

With the new facility still in the design stage, reports suggest the team is unlikely to return to Omsk before 2021.

 

snip

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Russian Billionaire Bosov Dies by Suicide

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/05/07/forbes-billionaire-bosov-dies-by-suicide-a70205

Russian billionaire and coal baron Dmitry Bosov has died by suicide at his home in a Moscow suburb, authorities said Wednesday.

Relatives discovered Bosov’s body with gunshot wounds at his home in the luxury village of Usovo in Moscow’s elite suburb of Rublyovka, the country’s Investigative Committee said in a statement. A Glock pistol was found nearby.

Bosov didn’t leave a suicide note, the Kommersant business daily reported.

Bosov, 52, ranked 86th in Forbes’ list of the richest Russian billionaires with a $1.1 billion net worth. He was a principal shareholder and chairman of the board of Alltech Group, an investment firm that manages anthracite, coal and other energy and real estate companies.

Alltech’s Siberian Anthracite, the world’s top anthracite coal exporter, is the general sponsor of Russia’s Night Hockey League, a tournament founded by President Vladimir Putin.

Alltech expressed condolences to Bosov’s family and close ones.

An unnamed source close to Bosov told the RBC news website that the businessman had been “on edge” recently.

“Since the start of the year, he began transferring all assets to himself [and] laying off employees,” the person was quoted as saying. “It got worse in May, everyone thought he was preparing to sell the assets.”

 

snip

 

related background

 

BLIND TRUST — SIBERIAN ANTHRACITE TRIES SELLING ITS SHARES FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME, WITHOUT AUDITED FINANCIAL REPORTS, CONSOLIDATION OF TRADING SCHEMES, OR DISCLOSURE OF OWNERSHIP

http://johnhelmer.net/blind-trust-siberian-anthracite-tries-selling-its-shares-for-the-umpteenth-time-without-audited-financial-reports-consolidation-of-trading-schemes-or-disclosure-of-ownership/

snip

Siberian Anthracite was asked to identify its auditor; to provide copies of audited financial reports for the past three years; and to clarify the shareholding structure of the company. The disclosures are required for the company to issue a prospectus and sell shares on the London Stock Exchange. The company identified Ernst & Young as its auditor. It refused to provide financial reports or identify the names of its beneficial shareholders.

It did identify the Alltech Group as holding 75% of Siberian Anthracite. Alltech says little about itself, and appears to be controlled by Dmitry Bosov. He is a figure who moves in and out of the Russian aluminium story documented during the London High Court trial of Boris Berezovsky’s claims against Roman Abramovich.  According to the evidence in that case, Bosov was a partner of Lev and Mikhail Chernoy, and one of the original shareholders of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminium Plant forced into selling to Abramovich, and ultimately Oleg Deripaska. Alltech was asked to confirm who its shareholders are, and what stakes they hold in Siberian Anthracite. Alltech refused.

snip

 

Boris Berezovsky, Russian Oligarch and Critic of Putin Dies in Britain

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/world/europe/boris-a-berezovsky-a-putin-critic-dies-at-67.html

MOSCOW — Boris A. Berezovsky, once the richest and most powerful of the so-called oligarchs who dominated post-Soviet Russia, and a close ally of Boris N. Yeltsin who helped install Vladimir V. Putin as president but later exiled himself to London after a bitter falling out with the Kremlin, died Saturday.

He was 67 and lived near London, where last year he lost one of the largest private lawsuits in history — an epic tug-of-war over more than $5 billion with another Russian oligarch, Roman A. Abramovich, in which legal and other costs were estimated to be about $250 million.

snip

The lawsuit, in which Mr. Berezovsky brought a claim against Mr. Abramovich in a dispute over the sale of shares in Sibneft, an oil company, and other assets, ended in a spectacular defeat.

snip

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Berezovsky_(businessman)#Death

On 23 March 2013, Berezovsky was found dead at his home,[199] Titness Park, at Sunninghill, near Ascot in Berkshire.[22] His body was found by a bodyguard in a locked bathroom, with a ligature around his neck.[200][201][202] His death was announced in a post on Facebook by his son-in-law. Alexander Dobrovinsky, a lawyer who had represented Berezovsky, wrote that he may have committed suicide,[203] adding that Berezovsky had fallen into debt after losing the lawsuit against Abramovich, and had spent the final few months of his life selling his possessions to cover his court costs.[204] Berezovsky was also said to have recently been depressed and to have isolated himself from friends.[205][206] He reportedly suffered from depression and was taking antidepressant drugs; a day prior to his death he told a reporter in London that he had nothing left to live for.[207]

When Berezovsky's death became known, there was speculation by mainstream British news media that the Russian government may have been involved.[208] The Thames Valley Police classified his death as "unexplained" and launched a formal investigation into the circumstances behind it. Specialists in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials were deployed to Berezovsky's home as a "precaution".[204] These specialists later "found nothing of concern".[209]

A post-mortem examination carried out by the Home Office pathologist found the cause of death was consistent with hanging and there was nothing pointing to a violent struggle.[23][210] At the March 2014 inquest into the death, however, Berezovsky's daughter Elizaveta introduced a report by German pathologist Bernd Brinkmann, with whom she had shared the autopsy photos, noting that the ligature mark on her father's neck was circular rather than V-shaped as is commonly the case with hanging victims, and called the coroner's attention to a statement by one of the responding paramedics who found it strange that Berezovsky's face was purple, rather than pale as hanging victims usually are. The body also had a fresh wound on the back of the head and a fractured rib (injuries police believed Berezovsky could have suffered in the process of falling as he hanged himself). Elsewhere in the house, an unidentified fingerprint was found on the shower, and one paramedic's radiation alarm sounded as he entered.[211]

Following the inquest the coroner, Peter Bedford, recorded an open verdict commenting, "I am not saying Mr Berezovsky took his own life, I am not saying Mr Berezovsky was unlawfully killed. What I am saying is that the burden of proof sets such a high standard it is impossible for me to say." He specifically cited the Brinkmann report as casting reasonable doubt on the suicide theory, even though Brinkmann had not been able to personally examine the body and could not be considered impartial.[24]

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  • 3 weeks later...

Abramovich’s Chelsea takeover: ‘We’d never heard of Roman but he seemed viable’

https://theathletic.com/1839077/2020/05/28/chelsea-roman-abramovich-takeover/

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Chelsea have claimed 16 major trophies during Roman Abramovich’s 17-year ownership. This spectacular run of success has helped to define English football in the 21st century. Only Manchester United can match the tally of five Premier League titles celebrated at Stamford Bridge since 2003 while the Miracle of Munich made Chelsea the first — and only — London club to lift the Champions League or European Cup.

A string of historic triumphs made legends of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and others. All of it came at vast expense — just under £1.5 billion of Abramovich’s wealth, according to the most recent accounts, with £247 million pumped in during the 12 months from June 2018 to June 2019. More than £100 million of the total investment has been spent sacking some of the 12 different managers who have worked under Abramovich.

There has been plenty of ignominy to accompany the glory, of course, and the success has been punctuated, at times, with scandal. Chelsea’s golden era has often been chaotic but rarely dull. None of it would have been possible but for a chain of remarkable events in a wild summer 17 years ago that resulted in a mysterious Russian billionaire transforming one aspirational Premier League club — and the landscape of English football — forever.

This, told in the words of those who were there, is the story of how Abramovich took over Chelsea.


The story begins the night before the final day of the 2002-03 Premier League season. Chelsea, level on points with Liverpool for the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot, were due to host their rivals at Stamford Bridge. A superior goal difference meant they only needed a draw to emerge on top but years of ambitious transfer spending in an attempt to compete with Manchester United and Arsenal meant the consequences of losing would be serious.

Graeme Le Saux: “The night before the game we stayed at the Royal Lancaster hotel rather than doing our normal routine. We went down for dinner and Trevor Birch had arranged for this American Vietnam War veteran to do a talk for us. He did this speech about his little group capturing this point and setting up some sort of weapon, and the people who died trying to get there.

“It was incredible, proper action-hero-type stuff, and he was a fantastic speaker, but the problem was it was the night before the game. I went to my room to go to bed and felt like I’d had 83 expressos. I wanted to go straight into battle there and then, and we were joking that we’d end up in Hyde Park across the road doing military manoeuvres. No one could sleep. We ended up going for a walk (around the park) the next morning and talking about it all, but we were all exhausted.”

Birch also took the opportunity to hammer home to the players the consequences of losing against Liverpool. Chelsea, he claimed, would be in danger of going out of business if they did not qualify for the Champions League – and at the very least, there would be player sales and significant cutbacks. But was the scenario, so bleak when outlined to the players, really that desperate?

Mark Taylor (Chelsea director from 1996 to 2003): “It wasn’t as dramatic as people were saying. We weren’t on the verge of bankruptcy, as everyone seemed to think we were.

“The Champions League money meant we’d be debt-free by the following April, other than our secured bond issue, which was a long-term security. It was very important that we won that game against Liverpool, or drew it, to get into the Champions League because of the additional revenue. If we hadn’t got into the Champions League, we wouldn’t have gone to the wall but we probably would have had to sell some players. It wouldn’t have been Leeds-esque.”

Le Saux: “When we were in the tunnel about to go out onto the pitch, Birch came up to me and said, ‘You’re the leader of this team. If you play well, the team plays well. Go and have an amazing performance’. I was thinking, ‘Oh great. We’re just about to go into administration if we lose this game and you’ve just put it on me’. Because I played so well he probably thought it was down to him, but it wasn’t.

“Gianfranco (Zola) didn’t start the game and he was really upset. It was his last match for Chelsea and mine too, though I didn’t know it at the time.”

Taylor: “Ken Bates, the owner, and I were OK but Trevor was a bit stressed. He was a Liverpool fan, funnily enough, and played for the club. We joked with him that if we’d already qualified for the Champions League before the final day, we were going to register him as a player so he could come on against them at Stamford Bridge.”

BIRCH-AND-BATES.jpg

Anxiety rippled around Stamford Bridge when Sami Hyypia headed Liverpool in front on 11 minutes but Marcel Desailly equalised less than two minutes later and Jesper Gronkjaer curled a left-footed shot into the far corner before half-time to give Chelsea a cushion they never relinquished. Steven Gerrard was sent off for a rash lunge on Le Saux, who was named man of the match, and a 36-year-old Zola wowed Stamford Bridge with a scintillating 18-minute cameo.

Gronkjaer (speaking to Dominic Fifield in 2011): “It was a massive game for Chelsea at the time. It had been three years since we’d been in the Champions League. I remember the goal very well. I was on the right wing when we got a throw-in but instead of passing, I cut in from the right and beat a defender before sticking it in the other corner. It was a nice feeling and a good reward for a great season. There were lots of stories going around about the financial situation. We all knew what we were playing for.”

Le Saux: “It was billed as the most high-stakes game in the history of English football. It was estimated that £20 million was on offer for the winners because of the prize money and the attendance benefits the Champions League brought. In fact, we know now that the stakes were a whole lot higher even than that for Chelsea.”


Despite the relief of that supposedly pivotal win, Chelsea still found themselves in a troubled summer. Revenue from Champions League participation would be a welcome boost to the coffers but the club’s transfer plans were heavily hampered by financial constraints. Six weeks after the win over Liverpool, the only two signings were two back-up goalkeepers, Jurgen Macho and Marco Ambrosio, on free transfers.

Winston Bogarde was languishing on an expensive contract in the reserves and Birch was locked in increasingly tense negotiations with Zola, who had become a free agent, and Le Saux. Ranieri’s squad did not look capable of mounting challenges in the Premier League and Champions League campaigns ahead. But everything was about to change.

Birch fielded two calls that alerted him to the potential interest of a wealthy individual in buying Chelsea, though he was not told his name. Within a few days he met Abramovich along with several of his closest advisors – Eugene Tenenbaum, Richard Creitzman and German Tkachenko – in one of the Millennium Boxes at Stamford Bridge. It quickly became clear that the Russian was very serious about buying the club.

Taylor: “Pini Zahavi (an influential football agent and associate of Abramovich) rang Trevor on a Tuesday afternoon. Trevor had a meeting with Zahavi the following day, the Wednesday, and then Ken met Roman and Eugene Tenenbaum at the Dorchester hotel on the Thursday. He rang me Thursday evening and told me what was happening. I met him the next morning and discussed whether he definitely wanted to proceed with this. And he said ‘yes’, so we did.

“It was very, very swift. Chelsea had been looking for investors for probably about 18 months and we’d had a lot of time-wasters, as you can imagine. Roman seemed viable. Of course, nobody knew who he was. We’d never heard of him. So actually, on the Friday morning, his lawyers brought in Forbes magazine from America and he was No 15 on the list, with billions of dollars, which seemed to be quite a good starting point.”

Chelsea’s hierarchy knew nothing about Abramovich but he knew plenty about Chelsea. His passion for football had been sparked only two months earlier by a visit to Old Trafford to watch Real Madrid eliminate United from the Champions League in a seven-goal thriller that featured a hat-trick from Brazilian superstar Ronaldo. Blackburn Rovers manager Graeme Souness had apparently acted as his chauffeur that night, picking up Abramovich from Manchester airport at the bequest of a friend.

The oligarch quickly decided he wanted to own a club. Investment bank UBS and Bruce Buck, a London-based senior lawyer with American firm Skadden Arps, were enlisted to help make it happen. Creitzman and others in his circle prepared detailed information on a number of potential clubs, and Abramovich narrowed them to a shortlist that also included Manchester United and Tottenham. They flew from Moscow to England in late June with meetings already arranged – the first of which was with Chelsea.

Taylor: “The key point was when Ken met Roman and Eugene Tenenbaum, they made it very clear that they wanted to buy control. They wanted control.

“I think Ken has said on record since that he felt he had done all he could for Chelsea. He’d saved the club from being evicted from Stamford Bridge. By this time, we’d redeveloped the whole stadium — the West Stand was finished, the hotels were there, the sports club was there. That was one of the big reasons that Roman liked Chelsea. Although there’s been talk since about redeveloping the stadium, it was in good condition — fairly new with nice facilities — and I think that was important to him. Ken thought that he had taken it as far as he could. That’s why he decided to sell it.

“After we did the deal, Eugene Tenenbaum said he was flying up with Roman in a helicopter from Farnborough, where he’d landed on arrival in England, and they flew over Craven Cottage. Roman thought it was Stamford Bridge. It was in July and the pitch was dug up. ‘What? You want me to buy that?’ and Eugene went, ‘No, no, no, it’s this one over here’ as they got into Chelsea. A slightly different stadium.”

BATES-SALE-scaled.jpg

The takeover was formally completed around 8:30pm on Tuesday, July 1, with Buck and Taylor finalising the mechanics of the transaction. Bates had already left.

Taylor: “My bank went into all sorts of worry when £60 million hit my client account, because they weren’t expecting it. But then I rang Ken – he was in his penthouse at Chelsea at the time. I said: ‘Hi Ken, I’m just ringing to say goodbye’. He said: ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘I’ve just got £60 million in my client account and I’m in a taxi going to the airport’, which initially he didn’t find very funny, but then he did. It was an interesting time for us all.”


By the time the transaction was finalised, Abramovich had agreed to pay around £140 million — £60 million to buy the club and a further £80 million to cover its debts. That figure would be dwarfed by the scale of his investment in the months and years to come but his first attempt to wield his financial might as Chelsea owner failed; Zola, having failed to agree to a new contract, had agreed to return to Italy and join hometown club Cagliari on a free transfer.

Zola: “One day, I spoke to Cagliari and I agreed to go there. After I agreed, I got a call from Ken Bates and he said, ‘Franco, tomorrow, the club is going to be bought by an important person’. I said, ‘Sorry chairman, I have already agreed to go there’. The day after, I saw Roman had bought the club. I don’t think he knew I was leaving.

“It was a painful decision for me to leave. When Chelsea came back in, it was a very difficult couple of hours for me. He tried to somehow convince Cagliari to sell me back — that’s what they told me — but the decision was already made.”

Abramovich’s sudden takeover also left Zola’s former Chelsea team-mates feeling uncertain. Many were on holiday when they heard the news, which prompted a wide range of emotions.

Gronkjaer: “I was on holiday in Denmark in my summer house when I heard about the takeover. I thought it was just a normal takeover, and didn’t imagine he would have so much money and everything would change. No one did.”

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink: “I was very excited by it. Roman Abramovich comes in, saying that he wants to become champions and saying good players — the best players — were going to come but you just think, ‘OK, let’s see first. Is he telling the truth?’”

Before that, Abramovich had a decision to make about his manager. Ranieri had been in the post since September 2000, guiding Chelsea to the FA Cup final in 2002 and securing a fourth-place finish the following season, despite being granted only one new signing — Spanish midfielder Enrique de Lucas — on a free transfer. Yet the widespread expectation was that he would be immediately replaced by the ambitious new owner.

Ranieri: “On July 8, I was called into the office. I was to meet Mr Abramovich for the first time and I did not know what to expect. We met in the boardroom at Stamford Bridge. Those present were Mr Abramovich, three of his close associates, me, and Trevor Birch.

“Instinctively, I spoke up first because I felt I had to make a clear statement concerning my situation. I said that I had been around long enough in the world of football to realise that a change of ownership might mean a change in approach or new objectives, and the direct consequence can be the decision to replace the coach. ‘Tell me straight away’, I insisted, ‘or else you risk wasting your time and money, and I could be wasting time as well’.

“I was happy where I was and I wanted to finish the job. But in these situations, things needed to be made clear. ‘No,’ he said firmly, ‘I want you to go on managing the team’. For me, that simple declaration was enough.”


At their meeting, Abramovich and Ranieri had agreed that Chelsea’s squad needed two quality players for every position to mount an immediate charge for domestic and European honours. Working to that brief, the recruitment drive quickly gathered pace: Glen Johnson, Geremi, Wayne Bridge and Damien Duff arrived in the space of six days at a combined cost of £37 million, and by the middle of August, the same amount had been spent again to acquire Joe Cole, Juan Sebastian Veron and Adrian Mutu.

The first four joined up with the squad in Malaysia for the inaugural FA Premier League Asia Cup, which they claimed after beating Newcastle on penalties. English football was stunned by the mind-boggling expenditure, with Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein famously claiming that Abramovich had “parked his Russian tanks on the lawn and is firing £50 notes at us”.

Barry Silkman (the agent who represented Geremi): “Chelsea had been looking at Geremi for a while but didn’t have the funds to back it up. They’d been speaking with his solicitor in Spain for a long time. The minute Roman Abramovich took over, I spoke to Pini Zahavi and said, ‘How about a deal for Geremi?’ He came back and it was done.”

Gronkjaer: “New players were arriving all the time, which was funny. We were in Malaysia and one day, Wayne Bridge would arrive and someone would leave. The next day, Damien Duff turned up, then Geremi, Joe Cole, Veron. He bought a whole new team in the space of a few weeks.”

VERON-COLE-CHELSEA.jpg

Duff: “I spoke to Manchester United a few times. I wanted it to happen but the fee back then was for £17 million. I don’t know what the equivalent fee is now but in 2003, that was a massive deal. What happened was this: Roman Abramovich had bought Chelsea that summer. They had the money. The deal was done. I remember lying in bed in the summer, dying with a hangover, when I got the call that they wanted me. I thought about it for a week and when I saw the squad they were building, I just knew I had to go there to further my career.”

Dan Johnson (former communications director of the Premier League): “Malaysia was the first time the Premier League had done an international tour. The press pack sent everyone, crawling all over Chelsea. We had a daily press briefing twice a day with manager and captain written into the contract, so Ranieri and Terry fronted up the press every day.

“Chelsea didn’t send a press officer, so I ended up being a de facto press officer. I’d talk to the guys beforehand about what they wanted to ask and at the time, any big player in Europe was being linked with Chelsea. The one that sticks in my mind was Raul from Real Madrid for €100 million. I remember putting this to Ranieri and Terry — the two of them just looked at each other and burst out laughing. Ranieri put his head in his hands and was kind of saying, ‘Oh my god, what next?’”

Before the transfer window closed in August, two more marquee names arrived in the form of Hernan Crespo and Claude Makelele. By that time, Chelsea had booked their place in the Champions League group stage with a 5-0 aggregate win over Slovakian side Zilina and taken seven points from their first three Premier League matches of the new season, including a 2-1 opening day victory against Liverpool at Anfield in which Veron scored the opening goal. The initial signs suggested they were capable of living up to the expectations swollen by the unprecedented spending spree.

Hasselbaink: We all know about Juan Seba Veron: one of the best players, technically, in world football. Suddenly, you realise Chelsea mean business. When you saw that, you thought it was a great signing for the club. And, as a footballer, you want to play with the best players. He was going to supply me.

“You see all these players coming through the door and then one of the most expensive ones, and one of the best ones, scores and we win away at Liverpool. All of a sudden, everyone sees you as contenders in the blink of an eye, and it’s a whole different ball game playing with that pressure on your shoulders every week. That’s different to being underdogs and under the radar.”

The raft of illustrious new faces drastically changed the dynamic of the Chelsea squad. Abramovich’s investment was bad news for some of the younger players in the reserves and academy, who were previously hopeful on the fringes of Ranieri’s first-team plans. But for the likes of  Terry and Lampard, it also presented a unique challenge: to step up and make themselves indispensable in the club’s new era of ruthless ambition. Robert Huth, the centre-back, had joined from Union Berlin two years previously but was still only 18 years old when Abramovich completed his takeover.

Huth: “I’d lived through Chelsea undertaking major cutbacks in terms of travel, players having to share rooms on trips, just to keep the club going one day to the next. To go from that to the other extreme, signing players for ridiculous money and on ridiculous contracts… from a young player’s point of view, I was scared.

“You know enough about football that, the more money that’s involved, the youth tend to get left behind. That was the case. It was what we were all fearing. I’d played a lot more games under Claudio Ranieri and I had been hoping to play more still but then Chelsea signed something like 10 players — all elite players, too — and you feel yourself being pushed further and further out of contention.”

Phil Younghusband (Chelsea academy player at the time): “We went through the whole transition when Roman came in. You’d see new faces all the time, in different departments of the club. It educated us because we were able to see how the club was run before and how it was moving forward in all different areas. It was a really interesting time, and it all happened so fast.

“As a footballer, you have the attitude that you’re not going to let challenges affect you. Maybe in hindsight I think it affected our chances of making the first team, but at the time you just think, ‘I’m going to be the best player I can be’. I remember watching Veron in his first training session just popping the ball everywhere. You’re exposed to that constantly and just learning from that. At the time you’re thinking you’re going to train with those players and they’re going to make you better.”

James Younghusband (Chelsea academy player at the time): “I remember Veron was trying to get his fitness back and I was chosen to do a one-on-one session with him. I was so young and those things are so valuable. He was a really nice guy. I remember one time he nutmegged me. I tried to get him back and he saw it coming and laughed. I beat him in the one-on-one game with one goalkeeper, but in his mind he was only trying to get his fitness back. I had something to prove.

“We talked afterwards about his time in Manchester. He was a really nice guy. You don’t realise until afterwards how lucky you are to be in those situations.”

Terry: “That first pre-season, we were all texting each other about what players were going to come in and stuff like that. That was probably the first thing the fans thought of. However, from our point of view, it was a case of, ‘Who are they going to bring in and is your place in jeopardy?’ Then, we came back to training, with all the new signings there, and we realised how good they were. The standard of training went from good to very good.”

Lampard: “I remember (Abramovich) landing at Harlington, coming and speaking to us and for me the landscape of the club changed in an instant because of the desire for excellence. A desire for excellence in training facilities at the time, standards on the pitch at the time, and I don’t think the levels have dropped since.”


Chelsea finished the 2003-04 season second in the Premier League, 11 points adrift of Arsenal’s Invincibles, and bowed out of the Champions League to Monaco in the semi-finals after beating Arsene Wenger’s greatest side in the previous round. Ranieri did not survive the trophyless campaign, establishing a trend of managerial change at Stamford Bridge that has largely endured since. The club’s new trajectory was well and truly set.

The subsequent Champions League final between Porto and Monaco became a de facto audition for Ranieri’s replacement, which Jose Mourinho convincingly won over Didier Deschamps. Another wave of Abramovich spending followed in the summer of 2004 but the core of the squad that would win Chelsea’s first league title for 50 years the following season was already largely in place: Lampard and Terry both made huge strides in Ranieri’s final season while, of the headline-grabbing 2003 signings, only Veron and Mutu played no role in the successes to come.

Abramovich’s takeover of Chelsea in 2003 always felt seismic and the passage of time has only underlined its significance. In one frantic summer, one man changed English football forever.

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lol, I have some CUNT yank spuds fan who is trying to be me banned from a US Democratic political chatboard that I have been on for close to 10 years simply because I am a Chels fan (the Roman/Putin angle)

The fucker keeps alerting on me, calling me a crypto-Trump voter!!! <<<<<< LOLOLOLOLOL

He went fucking mental when I posted this (after he had started attacking me in post after post)

69cdeee5faac60051d3791a809cf57c2.png

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16 hours ago, Vesper said:

lol, I have some CUNT yank spuds fan who is trying to be me banned from a US Democratic political chatboard that I have been on for close to 10 years simply because I am a Chels fan (the Roman/Putin angle)

The fucker keeps alerting on me, calling me a crypto-Trump voter!!! <<<<<< LOLOLOLOLOL

He went fucking mental when I posted this (after he had started attacking me in post after post)

69cdeee5faac60051d3791a809cf57c2.png

happy ending (I hope!)

they banned that fucking twat for a month (now perm after what happened below)

he logged on a sockpuppet account and PM'ed me and said he was going to kill me and my wife and semi-doxxed me (no clue how he knew so much)!!

so now the owner of the site just emailed me and said they are forwarding the info to the Scranton, Pennsylvania (were that pussy ass bitch is from) police

what a fucking nutter

the bloke had been on that board for like 17 years too!

I cannot believe he snapped over me being a Bluegirl and defending my beloved Chels

wtf

:(

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