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

78 Arsenal

69 Newcastle United

67 Chelsea

64 Liverpool

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?

  • Tweed Mag

    Had Ashley invested properly (even in modest amounts) NUFC would be worth twice or three times as much as he is supposed to be asking. But then again, he is not selling is he?

    • NUFCDan

      Why would he? Another years free advertising a nice healthy transfer profit to shove in his back pocket. Financial transparency? Some creative accountancy and a large donation to the Tory party should stop anyone investigating where the money actually goes.

      • Leazes.

        John Hall gave over quarter of a million to the Tories, despite them destroying his home town and most of the Northern counties industrial infrastructure….. I don’t think Ashley is a Tory he doesn’t believe in society or accountability he’s not a democrat he’s further off the edge than that.

    • Down Under Mag

      He is only interested in asset stripping anything he touches and runnign things on as low an expenditure as possible. It is laughable that all those who claimed he had saved jobs and was a saint for bailing out HoF are now coming to recognise what a slimy opportunist he really is!

  • James

    Hi Mark, Chelsea is valued on the land the ground is built on and the value of the squad, as well as sponsorship deals that dwarf the deals Ashley has brokered. In addition to this, he is the biggest creditor at 1.1bn. Its a bit of a nonsense story, this.

    • Leazes.

      The land at Stamford Bridge is Freehold and independent of the Club owned by a Company called Chelsea Pitch Owners, a trust with 24 officers…one of whom is one….

      Dennis Frank Wise.

      • Ron

        Don’t think it can be the same one who spouts Ashley rubbish, his occupation is down as “pro footballer”

        • Leazes.

          Its the very same Dennis Frank Wise…. he has fingers in lots of pies.

          • Ron

            But pro footballer – MUST be someone else!

          • Leazes.

            The misspelt one does say that.

  • Danimal

    Looking at that league table, I’m just waiting for Clarko etc to remind us again that some time in 2007, every quality footballer in the world simultaneously woke up one morning no longer prepared to ply their trade in the northeast of England. At around the same time, the worldwide consumer suddenly refused to pay attention to advertising/sponsorship on tv if happened to be beamed out from Newcastle United’s stadium. Yep, it’s all down to the postcode, otherwise we could have continued to compete with clubs from London, Lancashire, Dorset, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Sussex etc.

    • Leazes.

      If you know he’s a waste of space why bother….block it….its a troll…. it does what trolls do, seek to confuse, deflect and annoy.

  • Billmag

    When you look at the teams underneath us it is testament to the disaster Ashley has caused this club, if anyone in his fan club thought he saved NUFC from going under just take a look at that list above 18 and 19 points in front of Man City and Spurs and 5 points in front of Liverpool, how far are we behind those teams now, he hasn’t saved us he is slowly but surely destroying us.

  • Mike

    Roman your welcome to spend you money here

    • Leazes.

      No thanks lets change the law on ownership and get local community involvement back and not wish for a benevolent dictator.

      • Pezza

        Good, for once I agree with you. Nufc fans should buy the shares and take ownership.

        It does mean putting your mobem where your mouth is, something you have been reluctant to do.

  • Leazes.

    For nearly a dozen years a lot of people just looked away and wouldn’t listen…..

    Today Alan Shearer for the first time tweeted ……#AshleyOUT

  • Down Under Mag

    If only the government were able to suspend Ashley’s visa and not let him in the country – i’d settle for them to do a thorough investigation into Ashley and freeze all his assets for breakign employment law and human rights to be honest. Right now Ashley is what is wrong with the UK and it’s not just just to do with NUFC either. The sooner the government get off their rear ends and start cracking down on tax evasion and obvious scams the better it will be alround. The fact he will likely have to sell NUFC is a bonus!

  • Ron

    Mr Ashley – Sir – Look your favourite club is up for sale, you’ll get loads of advertising off a top club in Europe – you simply must go and buy it. You do support it, so it’s logical. I know you’ll have to sell that old run down club some where in the North, but hey, small price to pay. You’ll own Chelsea – maybe buy Harrods another year.

    • Cockneytrev

      Chelsea fans would have left in droves if they had been treat the same way we have been..
      Only NUFC fans would stay loyal..

      • phildene

        Not loyal, more likely stupid. We’re beyong loyalty now

      • porciestreet


  • Leazes.

    Its a good measure of Ashleys tenure…. he could have kept pace with the pack easily but denied the club its own income streams. We had an advantage of a bigger ground too, and he embarked on his snidey strip of the assets…..

    …Why does the chairman hide and why doesn’t Mark Douglas look for him?

  • Pezza

    A little selective in looking at 2003, 2007 tells the story a little better.

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  • Martin Rooney

    Don’t Chelsea own their ground and a sizeable amount of real estate round it, a hotel rented by a pricey chain which brings in significant revenue, the two entities are not really the same.