Chelsea were bought by Roman Abramovich for £140m back in June 2003, the West London club at that point were close to bankruptcy.
That 2002/03 season saw the top of the Premier League look like this in May (points before each club):
83 Man Utd
69 Newcastle United
51 Man City (9th)
50 Tottenham (10th)
19 Sunderland (20th)
Also that season, Chelsea’s European adventures had amounted to two games, beaten in the first round of the UEFA Cup by Norwegian club Viking Stavanger.
Meanwhile, in 2002/03, Newcastle had played 14 Champions League matches, coming ever so close to getting out of the second group stage, having played the liked of Barcelona, PSV, Dynamo Kiev, Inter Milan and Barcelona along the way.
Since buying Chelsea, Abramovich has seen his club win 15 trophies, including the Champions League, Europa League (Rafa!), Premier League and FA Cup.
Newcastle have won nothing in the 15 seasons, including of course in the 11 years Mike Ashley has been in charge.
Bloomberg are now reporting that Roman Abramovich has Chelsea up for sale for £3billion.
This month it was claimed Mike Ashley had lowered his Newcastle United selling price/valuation to £300m, a tenth of what Abramovich is asking for.
Bloomberg report that the Chelsea owner hasn’t been seen in London since the UK government didn’t renew his visa in the spring.
They say that he wants out of Chelsea and has already turned down offers of over £2billion for the club.
Explaining how he has grown the club, the report says Roman Abramovich:
‘Has since loaned the club more than £1.1 billion.
Until he came along, Chelsea hadn’t won the top domestic trophy, the Premier League title, since 1955.
His big spending changed all that and set off a kind of arms race in English football. In some ways, it was similar to the U.S. model: Buy talent, buy titles, and sell merchandise and media rights.
Now Abramovich is mulling a sale of Chelsea, frustrated by his British visa problems and concerned about the potential fallout should the U.S. expand sanctions against wealthy Russians and target him.
Earlier this year, Abramovich hired Raine Group LLC, a merchant bank in New York, to advise on the possibility of a full or partial sale of the club. A person familiar with the discussions says Abramovich wants £3billion.’
Even if selling for ‘only’ £2billion, Abramovich would still be walking away with a profit of around £760m. Although of course it is looking very likely to be a profit of £1billion or higher if he sells.
I’m not suggesting the real extremes of Abramovich are/were a viable model for Mike Ashley/Newcastle United or whoever, but a certain level of ambition and professionalism in terms of running the club, would surely have paid massive dividends for Newcastle United.
Whilst Ashley has reaped all kinds of rewards via his ownership of NUFC, especially the worldwide huge exposure for his retail empire. As for the actual club itself in terms of an asset to sell, he has basically bought it and not even done the essential maintenance.
No proper investment in the first team squad, St James Park, the Academy, the training ground. He has even closed all of the club shops in favour of his Sports Direct ones! Apart from of course the last remaining one at St James Park, as well as the online store, with nobody able to see exactly what benefits/cash the club is getting/making, if any, from an arrangement with Sports Direct.
Little wonder with this ‘plan’ of how to run a football club, Newcastle United is valued at relatively little more than what he paid for it back in 2007.
Abramovich has had all those great moments of winning trophies with Chelsea and will walk away with another billion in his back pocket and a legacy of a football club that is all set up to continue competing at the top.
If (please!) Mike Ashley walks away now/soon, his only enjoyment has been getting richer as Newcastle United and the fans have suffered, leaving behind a wreck of a club that needs a fortune spent on it off and on the pitch.
I keep hearing people say that Mike Ashley is a ‘businessman’ in terms of justifying/explaining why/how he runs NUFC, as though he is doing something clever due to his business expertise.
Well who are these idiots running all the other Premier League clubs? Are they not businessmen(women) as well?
Look at that 2002/03 PL table above, the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham have won loads of trophies between them AND all of those clubs are now worth serious money, far far in excess of what the owners bought them for.
What could have been achieved at Newcastle United these past 15 years (and beyond) with the right people in charge?