Man who started the British invasion | inside World Soccer

Man who started the British invasion

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The sale of Chelsea to Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich in 2003 was the biggest takeover in British football history.

After Abramovich took the control of Chelsea, he made massive investment into the club (estimated at £587 million until February 2008), assuming £80 million debt burden and making available substantial transfer funds - he spent £24 million for the arrival of Damien Duff and Wayne Bridge in just one day.

But what does the oil and aluminium tycoon hope to gain from his investment on football anyway?

From a business point of view, Chelsea and Abramovich link looks mutually beneficial.

With his personal fortune with a net worth of $18.7 billion, according to the 2007 Forbes magazine, there is no doubt that he has the money to expand his business empire.

And Chelsea, with £80 million in debt, need the Roman's cash.

It also said that he is a great football fan as has been reported that he was interested on some Russian football clubs, but their financial situation is more vulnerable than West European clubs. So he settled himself to go abroad.

But probably the most prominent reason for Abramovich's action is to boost his image in international forum.

Nobody ever hear his name until he pay £140 million for one of the top clubs in Europe.

Even when he was first elected to parliament as a deputy for the region of Chukotka, Russian television did not even have an image of him.

Now the Roman has come to Stamford Bridge, and his arrival has sparked the hopes of Chelsea fans to win some trophies.

Chelsea finished their first season after the takeover in 2nd place in the Premier League, from 4th in the previous year, and reached the Champions League semi-finals.

FC Porto and Champions League winner manager, José Mourinho, was recruited and Chelsea ended their season as league champions.

In four years since the takeover the Blues have won five major trophies, more than any other English club in the same period.

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