Chelsea may struggle to find another Abramovich in a different world | Jonathan Wilson

The departing owner transformed them into an indisputable superclub but the game he changed may be about to shift again

Zilina is a pretty town of squares and churches with a population of a little more than 80,000 that sits at the confluence of three rivers in the mountains of north-west Slovakia. It was, frankly, an incongruous place for a revolution in English football to begin, but it was there in 2003 that Chelsea played their first game under Roman Abramovich, a routine 2-0 win over MSK in a Champions League qualifier. Their last may come at Norwich in a couple of weeks, or perhaps at home to Brentford a fortnight after that, depending how soon a buyer emerges and how quickly the deal can be finalised. But it will be soon and, a couple of months after completing the full set of possible trophies by winning the Club World Cup, the Abramovich era at Chelsea will be over.

The legacy he leaves is complex, not least because it is very hard to assess when it is still not clear why he bought the club. From a purely footballing point of view though, he brought Chelsea huge success. The temptation to point out that he took on a club that were fourth in the league, spent £1.5bn and leaves them third is strong, but Chelsea now are a very different club from the one he bought. They are no longer the flaky mavericks of the Kings Road, but an indisputable superclub. They had won the league only once before he arrived but he brought them five further championships, along with two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups and three League Cups. Might they have won more with more patience? Perhaps, but that is an enviable amount of silverware.

Continue reading…The departing owner transformed them into an indisputable superclub but the game he changed may be about to shift againZilina is a pretty town of squares and churches with a population of a little more than 80,000 that sits at the confluence of three rivers in the mountains of north-west Slovakia. It was, frankly, an incongruous place for a revolution in English football to begin, but it was there in 2003 that Chelsea played their first game under Roman Abramovich, a routine 2-0 win over MSK in a Champions League qualifier. Their last may come at Norwich in a couple of weeks, or perhaps at home to Brentford a fortnight after that, depending how soon a buyer emerges and how quickly the deal can be finalised. But it will be soon and, a couple of months after completing the full set of possible trophies by winning the Club World Cup, the Abramovich era at Chelsea will be over.The legacy he leaves is complex, not least because it is very hard to assess when it is still not clear why he bought the club. From a purely footballing point of view though, he brought Chelsea huge success. The temptation to point out that he took on a club that were fourth in the league, spent £1.5bn and leaves them third is strong, but Chelsea now are a very different club from the one he bought. They are no longer the flaky mavericks of the Kings Road, but an indisputable superclub. They had won the league only once before he arrived but he brought them five further championships, along with two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups and three League Cups. Might they have won more with more patience? Perhaps, but that is an enviable amount of silverware. Continue reading…[#item_full_content]

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