Chelsea reduces dependence on Abramovich
Chelsea believes there's a strong signal that Roman Abramovich is committed to the club for the long term in the conversion of more than half his £700m loan to the club into equity.
Since there's been speculation that he wants out (which he denies), that matters.
And that he now has £370m of equity in the club isn't trvial - but perhaps for reasons that are slightly different from those expressed by the club's management.
The injection of equity strengthens Chelsea's balance sheet. And it means that were Chelsea ever to look like a profitable business, and were credit markets ever to recover, the club could probably fund itself through borrowing from commercial sources rather than relying on Mr Abramovich's largesse.
In fact the big thrust of its results is that of an organisation painfully struggling to transform itself from a rich man's plaything into a rationally managed company.
On the positive side, turnover is up 12% and underlying losses are down 43%.
On the less edifying side are the £23m of compensation payments to Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant and five members of the coaching staff (being sacked as a manager of Chelsea is better than winning the lottery).
Also wages (excluding the managers' payoffs) rose from a handsome £133m to a magnificent £149m - which means that Chelsea continues to create more multi-millionaires among the players than an investment bank in its prime.
But like an investment bank Chelsea is taking a vow to live slightly less high on the hog. This summer it wants to fund player purchases through the proceeds of player sales - and a big shake-up of the squad looks very likely.
Chelsea says it wants to stop using Mr Abramovich as the world's biggest piggy bank from the start of the next season, when it hopes to cease asking him for extra cash.
And the club hopes to break even on one measure of cash fllow (earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation) by June 2010.
What does it all mean?
Well, there is an implication that Mr Abramovich isn't a seller today. That's not surprising, because selling Chelsea at this stage of the cycle would probably be one of the fastest routes available to losing a few hundred million.
But he and the club's executives are doing what they can to transform Chelsea from a trophy asset that only a multi-billionaire could own into something that might be described as a business.
And if that remarkable transformation were achieved, Mr Abramovich could perhaps sell the club without suffering a humiliating loss and without leaving Chelsea as an over-mortgaged financial wreck.
Perhaps these latest results can be seen as the first manifestation of Chelsea preparing for life without the Russian billionaire - even though it dare not contemplate his exit quite yet.