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Chelsea reduces dependence on Abramovich

Robert Peston | 12:45 UK time, Friday, 13 February 2009

If I were a Chelsea FC supporter (and you may know that I'm not) I would be a bit confused by the messages in its financial statement.

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.

Roman AbramovichAnd 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.

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  • Comment number 1.

    "There have been no comments made here yet."
    I'll oon rectify that shortcoming...


  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Robert.

    I really enjoy your blog but like many readers have found the continuous stream of bad news (e.g. worst recession for 100 years) hard going.

    Taking inspiration from you I have set up my own blog to help people develop a positive metal attitude towards the current economic challenges.

    The Survivors Guide To The Credit Crunch is at

  • Comment number 3.

    CFC they are by far the greatest team
    the world has ever seen. CFC CFC CFC

  • Comment number 4.

    Who cares? Do any real Londoners even play for Chelsea? Like all major football teams, it's just a brand name used to rip-off gullible supporters.

    How about doing a story about the real economy? How are we going to over the UKs £90billion goods trade deficit? (That's £1500 per man woman and child in Britain.)

  • Comment number 5.



  • Comment number 6.




  • Comment number 7.

    How dissapointing, I saw the headline and thourght you had maybe spotted that Jose Mourinho, was really behind the current credit crisis, or that RBS had lent the money. Instead it is a normal story about someone who was spending money like there was no tomorrow, has now found tomorrow and needs to cut back.

    It's a shame for Chelsea Roman Abramovich is not more like Gordon Brown as he would have lent them another £700m.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think RP's post today is just a really clever way to get more people to read Paul Masons newsnight Blog instead which contains some great investigative journalism over the last few days and has a link directly from the business page today.

    Well done RP


  • Comment number 9.

    6. redarmy2009
    as a financial expert london is where the money is at
    who wants to work in piccadilly gardens, gunchester

  • Comment number 10.

    If Chelsea fall from grace a la RBS, HBOS (Leeds Utd) then it will certainly make a lot of genuine football fans very happy.

    You can write that down.

    100% fact.

    Im here all week

  • Comment number 11.

    Wow, we're now down to bead-and-circuses to keep the troops amused. Things are worse than I feared - see the Magazine Monitor's Caption competiton.

  • Comment number 12.

    Right, top prize for the first person to find a genealogical link between Mourinho and Moreno. The closest I've got is this .

  • Comment number 13.

    a football story! excellent change of pace for a Friday afternoon; I do hope this gets some posts to stop you returning to the banks again; after 15 banking bonus stories in a row it was too much, and as you now know we're more interested in lynching the regulators anyway

    the meteoric rise of the Premier League could be seen as a microcosm of the UK's unsustainable credit-fueled expansion; I think the PL formed in 1992 just as we came out of the last recession

    and the top footballers' wage structure is perhaps the only one that comes close to or even exceeds the ludicrous remuneration deals for the top bankers here and on Wall Street

    the moves at Chelsea may be a sign of a coming return to reality, as you suggest; despite a new and huge TV revenue deal, several of the big clubs are owned or sponsored by individuals and corporations who are much poorer now than they were a year ago - West Ham and their Icelandic owners; Liverpool and ManUtd's highly leveraged Americans and most risky of all ManCity and the Dubai money coming in just as Dubai is beginning to show every sign of going belly up; poor old ManCity they never have any luck

    personally I am a dedicated follower of Arsenal, or more particularly Arsene Wenger, who has shown a remarkable level of intelligence and frugality throughout the Premier League's binge years; he fielded excellent and attractive teams at a fraction of the cost of the other members of the top 4

    if only we had people of Wenger's seriousness and prudence on the boards of the banks or at the FSA or UKFI etc

    perhaps GB should ask Arsene if he would like to take over from Glen Moreno (that's Moreno not Mourinho)

    we could do a lot worse!

  • Comment number 14.

    Football aside (but not too off topic)...

    ... is anyone else getting disillusioned at the debt these large well known companies seem to have. It's every time I open a news paper recently....

    I now see that William Hills is looking to raise 200 to 500 million to help it with it's 1.2 billion of borrowings!!

    Now I understand that the balance sheets are looking OK at WH (luckily for WH in a time of recession ordinary folk will continue to spend money they can't afford to waste with them), but it doesn't take much to be dragged under by 1.2billion of debt......

    Is there anyone out there who thought the good times might not last forever?

  • Comment number 15.


    The world is in financial meltdown, we're on the cusp of a complete change in World economics and you're reporting on a Russian Oligarth and a football club.

    Really - is there nothing else to talk about? What about the fact that none of the 'top men' in out biggest UK banks had any formal banking qualifications?

    How about this statement by Tom McKillop:
    " *
    * About the versions

    Page last updated at 12:47 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009
    E-mail this to a friend Printable version
    Bank chiefs 'should be qualified'
    Sir Fred Goodwin and Andy Hornby
    The former bank bosses apologised for their part in the crisis

    The government is being urged to ensure that in future the chief executives of Britain's banks have a "recognised banking qualification".

    The call has come in a Commons motion, tabled by the Labour MPs Gordon Prentice and Paul Flynn.

    It follows the admission in a select committee hearing from former bosses of the RBS and HBOS that they did not have any banking qualifications.

    Both banks were "bailed out" with £37bn of taxpayers money.

    The four former bosses of the two biggest UK casualties of the banking crisis apologised "profoundly and unreservedly" for their banks' failure in a select committee hearing on Tuesday.

    The former bank chiefs admitted they failed to predict the collapse of wholesale banking markets and said the bonus culture had contributed to the crisis and needed to be reviewed.

    'Finance courses'

    All four were quizzed by MPs on the Treasury Committee on their qualifications for running large retail banks.

    Sir Tom McKillop, former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland who admitted its £50bn takeover of ABN Amro had been a "bad mistake", said he did not have any formal banking qualifications.

    When the Conservative MP Peter Viggers asked Sir Tom, a former ICI research scientist and ex chief executive of pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca, if he had understood the full complexities of the financial instruments devised by the "clever young men" at RBS, he replied: "You said 'full complexities'. I would say no."

    A clear case of 'old boy network' getting you a job.

    ....or maybe you don't want to talk about it as your father is Labour peer and it might seem hypocritical that your career has been aided by the 'old boy network' of your father which allows you to get special access to the treasury's secrets.

    Despite being a football fan this report has no place here at this time - it would have been much more interesting if you had written about how Abramovich and his other Oligarths got their wealth when Russia moved towards capitalism and the poor of the country were conned out of their shares in the big and profitable industries by wicked men like Abramovich who offered bread in return for the starving shareholders.

    Now that's what I call Capitalism in purest and brutalist form. Screwing the poor for as much as you can whilst being hailed a hero and admired by others for having such extremes of wealth.

    Well I hope the Russian people can see where that particular road ends - with your economy in ruins and 3 million jobless by Christmas (if there aren't that many already) and all you have to show for it is a pathetic and unconvincing 'sorry' from the men who created it.

    I would also like to know why your new book seems to be a lot more disparaging of the money men in this country - but your stories here are not.

    Are you being censored by the BBC?

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    sashaclarkson, theresonly1soupey ...have you ever read Robert Peston?
    He is always telling us about the banks/'real' economy ...surely he is allowed one day off to report on something else. I think as an addicted reader you would be glad of a little respite?

  • Comment number 18.

    Nice to see a break from the bankers on RP's blog!

    It does rather look like a slow shift towards out for Mr A

  • Comment number 19.

    when the americans bought manchester united fc
    they bought it on credit or future earnings from the
    fans, which the fans could have done themselves if
    they were more financially astute. (sorry s/b big IF)

  • Comment number 20.

    How can they pay so much money to these idiots for such poor perfromance

    That Gordon Brown is a real fibber you know!

    I can't sell my house because of those nasty bankers. They should be sent to bed with no supper....

    Hang on a minute. Am I on the right blog here?

    I'm so angry I think we need to raise public sector wages by 40% immediately!

    Did I mention how naughty those bankers are?

  • Comment number 21.

    Greed destroyed the Romans, the Greeks and the Bankers.
    Will greed destroy the "beautiful game"?
    Are the championship and leagues one and two destined for oblivion?
    Top teams are now just billionaires toys.
    Is the game becoming corrupt?
    Are ordinary supporters being had?
    Are the managers the rich mens "floozies"?
    The premiership match....22 multi-millionaires kicking a ball around while they think about their investments.
    And the players that are on the benches are probably talking to their stockbrokers, while the 50,000 blokes in the stand can barely pay their gas bill.

  • Comment number 22.

    Well, it's a heaven-sent opportunity missed to pontificate about revaluation in sports. The people I'm amused at are the cricketers, whose bubble's about to burst spectacularly.
    At root is the Texan billionaire Allen Stanford, who sponsored the 1m-man match in Antigua last October which England lost. Rumours are starting to circulate that his CD operation may be of concern, following FINRA, SEC and the Florida OFR investigating the high return he offers. Could this be another Madoff? I rather think not, he doen't have the right level of visibility, but I could be wrong. In either case, it starts cutting down on the flash cash. Loadsamonney stops right here.

  • Comment number 23.

    That's better. Talking about football for a change is a really nice break. Even if there are business issues lurking behind it.

    I still think it is ludicrous that a club can sack a manager after a few months in charge, when the club is lying fourth in the Premiership and they are still in some major cup competitions. It wasn't as though Chelses were 1 point off the relegation zone, was it ?

    I'd have thought there was a reasonable case for unfair dismissal actually. Football is supposed to be a sport...

    And Banking is supposed to be a service...

    As a nation, we need to modify our culture so that we focus on what is really important. I suggest that isn't unrestrained year-on-year growth or success at all costs.

    If we can make that cultural change, we might not see this recession/depression (or any that occur in future) quite so negatively.

    And if we're a little more relaxed about the prospect of negative growth in future, the initial reverse might not spiral into a full-blown depression quite so easily...

  • Comment number 24.

    Yeah, yeah #15 - change the record.

    What we need to know more about is the
    "surprise" increase in UK retail activity, the "surprise" increase in US retail activity, the "surprise" US activity in the housing market in December, ditto UK, the "surprise" reduction in UK's trade gap, ditto US - all press stories given little profile and all marked "surprise".

    Also Rolls Royce increase profit 10%, revenues up 22%, order book up 21% - story relegated to the "More From Companies" section of the BBC site. If it was given a bigger headline I missed it, but who wants an in depth story on the new head of the LSE - now an institution thats largely irrelevant given the number of Russian mining stocks etc.

    Real stories, real jobs etc - does that sound a bit Northern. Gunchester indeed - noone killed in the city for over 12 months. How good is that?London?

  • Comment number 25.

    The ghost of Prosperity Past....


  • Comment number 26.

    If you want to work that one, why not develop the backgrounds of all the players in RBS, UKFI, NR, FSA etc as they all sponsor soccer clubs in quite a big way? The implication just might be that if the heads keep rolling, the Football Association starts losing teams as they become financially unviable.
    Now, for all that I was somewhat cynical about the role of soccer not long back, none the less it carries the UK population through hard times, as long as it doesn't get greedy. And as morale may be key, then such events may have deeper implications.

  • Comment number 27.

    Chelsea will soon be going down the pan anyway. The speed that people like abram' entered British football in the 'good' times, will only be equalled by the speed they pull-out in the bad.

    Several clubs are now dependent on rich foreign backers whose personal loyalty to them is minimal. When a club becomes so dependent in that way, the withdrawal symptoms will be horrendous.

    Analogies between finance and football are quite apposite: HBOS as Leeds United living the dream under Ridsdale (Hornby/Crosby)?

  • Comment number 28.

    This business blog is becoming a total waste of resources, the money used for the Pestons time, cost of moderation etc, could be better used to pay for improved childrens TV or some other entertaining stuff.
    This stuff achieves nothing.

  • Comment number 29.

    Robert is the business editor after all, and earlier in the week some commenters were complaining that he has only been talking about banks for a month.

    So I think we can have a story about a non-banking company for once.

    What's more, sport does have real effects on the economy, completely apart from the revenue and taxation it generates. It arguably creates economic growth through a completely different mechanism:

  • Comment number 30.

    chelsea have been invested in by a man who wanted to bring success to the club. he has injected money into it trying to make it into a sucessfull sporting brand and honours winning club, whether people like it or not this is the way all sport is going, its more than just a football club its a buisness. Yes he is looking to put less in and get more out but why shouldnt he, its his millions that has gone into the club, and we are in the middle of a global economic down turn so its only sensible to reduce wages and build for the future through signing talented hungry young players, than keeping on players that were just looking for one last big pay day!
    I would rather Abramovich, than the glacers who are purely there to bleed man u dry..

  • Comment number 31.

    I can't believe you are talking about Chelsea FC as though it were a serious business under Abramovich.

    This football club was only ever another of Abramovich's rich boy's toys.

    Like his huge yacht.

    Something glittery with which to impress the in-crowd.

    A way to be accepted as part of the London scene.

    A rude display of his ill-gotten wealth.

    A business? I don't think so.

  • Comment number 32.

    I always thought that the logic path that led Roman Abramovich to Chelsea was

    a) Must get assets out of Russia
    b) Must get into liquid Prime undeveloped real estate...better!
    c) Buy developed real estate if necessary and undevelop it!
    d) Buy Chelsea
    e) announce the old ground is too cramped and small and planning permission will be impossible
    f) announce plan to build mega-stadium appropriate to ambition; wait for fans protest to subside--if it isn't..threaten to throw all toys out of pram and leave
    f(i) If poss build on cheap land near M25 where Govt may subsidise the building of it because it 'brands' one of the faceless dormitory town planned for the flood plain
    g) knock down old stadium and hey presto! prime undeveloped real estate that does have some chance of giving a return on £700 Million of investment.


    Thanks to the fact that announcements of 'an end to boom and bust' are now inoperative!

    a) de-power the 'need to move rhetoric'
    b) wait for property bust to end
    c) convert some debt to equity ---and prepare partial float to fans to get some liquid 'spends' for new players,

    (Okay the last few words are completely made up and any relationship to actual events past or present is entirely co-incidental.... )


  • Comment number 33.

    The best thing for Chelsea is to sign Hiddink full-term.
    He is the real deal.

  • Comment number 34.

    Seems yesterday's comment that it was wholsesale funding that knocked HBoS just got very outdated. As I have written, HBoS got a poisonous balance sheet. The huge profit warning just out confirms Mr Moore got it completely right.

    If there was anything left of Mr Crosby's reputation this morning, it certainly has been turned into a black whole just now, as has the HBoS balance sheet.

    This makes the following question very pertinent: did Brown initiate the Lloyds-HBoS merger talks following some HBoS balance sheet chat from Crosby?

    Or was the FSA, i.e. Mr Crosby, courting Lloyds?

    To be continued

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't think anybody could care less about the comings and goings of some billionaires plaything down the Fulham Road aside from Peter Kenyon who must wonder as Chief Exec why Scholari was sacked when

    a. He didn't want him to be and
    b. He was on holiday when he was!

    Talk about being undermined. Still as a fully paid up ManU fan who seemed to be the only Chelsea 'supporter' with a smile on his face when John Terry missed his penalty in Moscow, I don't suppose he really cares as he rests safe in the knowledge that when the inevitable sack comes, he can drive back up the M6 with his Old Trafford season ticket tucked safely in his pocket along with a pay off to match Jose's. Talk about a patsy.

  • Comment number 36.

    Following on post 15's non-point... that bankers have no qualifications... No British prime minister has ever even sat a 'How to be a Prime minister' 'O' level let alone been to "How to be a prime minister " university or sat a degree on 'how to be a Prime minister'

    I started this reply thinking that this 'no banking qualifications' non-issue is one of those things that are barmy...because qualifications prepare one for a career , not for every job in that career...experience does that.

    But actually I have changed 180 degrees ..... Why DON'T we have 'How to be a Chancellor'courses and exams...???? For heaven's sake...we don't even have any "Prime Minister for Dummies!" books in Waterstones----- anybody can walk in and start doing these important jobs without the sllghtest qualification!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    I take it that after the revelations regarding Gordons various advisors your best policy is to keep your head down and not dig any deeper.
    Seems like Cherie Blair was right all along.

  • Comment number 38.

    Robert Peston! You may be confused but Chelsea supporters are not confused. I've few questions..

    01. What is wrong in converting his interest free loan into equity?

    02. Did you know that Chelsea have sold maximum number of players after June 2008 and that has to come into account? For you information we have sold/loaned/relived players like Shevchenko, Makka, Pizzaro, Shaun Wright Phillips, Sidwell, Tal Ban Haim, Khalid Bolaruz, Wyne Bridge, Cudicini and figure for Deco and Bosingwa already taken into account since they came before June 2008.

    As a business model, I can challenge that Chelsea are doing not bad at all.

  • Comment number 39.

    Rahere (26),

    "RBS, UKFI, NR, FSA etc as they all sponsor soccer clubs in quite a big way"
    You forgot AIG...

  • Comment number 40.

    Or perhaps the Russians will buy Centrica ?

    Or Nigeria ?

    Or perhaps their gas exports are about to fall alarmingly, in which case - not !

  • Comment number 41.

    Football used to be played from the heart.
    Now it's played from the wallet.
    Yes, the top-end is a successful industry, but is the premiership player playing for his club, his country or his bank account?
    Money has robbed us of the passion that was so real in football.
    Is the top player even aware of who he's playing for on a Saturday afternoon?
    Or is he only aware of how much he's playing for?
    Funny old world.

  • Comment number 42.

    I would be much more interested in a story which discussed the possible link between Russian money laundering and the financing of football clubs and a certain Icelandic corporation.
    How interesting it was that the top story yesterday was not Mr Brown and his possible close links to the city (as if), but the refusal of a Dutchman's entry to this country on the grounds of a possible incitment to racial violence. I wonder if someone was 'leant upon' not to let him in so that this could be debated as the lead story on Newsnight, PM etc. etc.

  • Comment number 43.

    Thebrightstuff wrote:

    I really enjoy your blog but like many readers have found the continuous stream of bad news (e.g. worst recession for 100 years) hard going.

    You think Robert's posts are hard going. Man, they're a children's tea party, compared to the prognostications of trendcaster Gerald Celente (
  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

  • Comment number 46.

    There are a lot of similarities between Chelsea and the bad banks:

    Not one of the respective chief execs have or want any banking qualifications.
    They are hopeless with finance.
    Managerial promotions are made on the basis of personality and wealth, not talent.
    Their remuneration committees really need to have their heads examined.

    Not so sure if the bankers all have trophy WAGs, which is a pity, as then we could partly blame them for the financial crisis.

    Thinking this through a bit I do think that having endless pictures of footballers' WAGs in their hedonistic gloss and gilt palaces week after week in all the celeb/gossip magazines has probably not done a lot of our population any favours.

    So transfixed were we all by the gloss and the glitz of the likes of the Beckhams that we failed to notice what we were becoming.

    Anyway, now that the bubble has burst what are we going to do about the menacing size of the public sector pension liability? Pop it in a bad bank, or just build more?

  • Comment number 47.

    Are you an Man Utd fan Bob???

  • Comment number 48.

    So how is chelsea fc and football not related to the economy then?

    Or would you prefer some gereral fearmongering containing the same old figures banded around the tabloids on a dily basis?

  • Comment number 49.

    the prem league is a farce.....whose bothered i prefer the non league lads proper can you pay 100 grand a week for a bloke to kick a bag of wind around.its almost as crazy as having brown as prime minister.

  • Comment number 50.

    I'd rather watch Rugby myself. A game for Men to play. Not a mere game for dodgy money
    lenders who traffic players in the way that the
    Gladiators of Ancient Rome were bought and sold. Slavery is slavery however astronomical
    the compensation paid to its victims.

  • Comment number 51.

    Got no time for Chelsea, or its owner. In my opinion he got rich from the collapse of the USSR while his country men and women got zilch. Not only that, why should one man profit from the worlds resources, they should be all of ours, no man has the right to lay claim to this amount of wealth, i don't care about investment companies or mining equipment etc.. Give it all back Roman and you might gain some respect.

  • Comment number 52.

    Over 700 Million of his own cash in to his passion ,Chelsea football club. He then just effectivley wrote half the personal debt owed by Chelsea to him off. Wake up! this is not a man trying to make a quick billion, he doesn't need it, perhaps he is enjoying his success and spending a small part of his still considerable fortune on something he loves very much. Chelsea. Why are you so negative? Look at Man u and Liverpool and thier finances if you want to see true speculators that may sell up at any time.

  • Comment number 53.

    francis cress has some interesting theories about
    football, basketball, and some other ones.... and
    everything represented sex and testicles and
    reproduction and stuff...and it was all symbolism
    with her.. subduing the mass population into
    passive spectators... See if somebody is beating
    you on the basketball court or the football field or
    the chessboard, you're wasting your time
    generating energy to hate. You have to say, now
    what are they doing? What is their game plan?
    And let me perfect a game plan that can counter
    it; let me have enough belief in myself that what
    I read on the field or see on the board, that my
    brain computer can come up with the tactics and
    strategies ala Hannibal to checkmate it if that's
    what I decide I'm gonna do.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.


    Apologies Robert, I now see you did concede that CFC currently is a rich man's plaything.

    If these guys can turn CFC into a viable business, there are some serious career opportunities for them in the UK banks!

  • Comment number 56.

    Interesting comment (See TheresOnly1Soupey) about qualifications being required to become banking executives. I'd like to see similar rules for ministers so those with politics degree's cannot become Chancellor etc.

    Its frightening how Gordon Brown didn't see this coming sooner given the FSA could see HBOS was heading for trouble years ago. What he has done is not different to the past and present HBOS board.

    I'm also wondering if Gordon Brown is going to come out and say that those organisations recieving state aid must cut overseas staff before British workers much like the French government has done with its Renault, Citroen and Peugot. I doubt it.

  • Comment number 57.

    #15 Soupey

    Interesting neologism "Oligarth".

    Was that a deliberate mutation of "Oligarch", or were you thinking Garth, as in "Crooks"?

    Chelsea, my beautiful launderette?

  • Comment number 58.

    Slightly O/T but can anyone explain why
    Northern Rock are still funding Newcastle
    with our money

  • Comment number 59.

    Who's better off?

    Chelsea owing their owner £300m + interest free with no time limit on when the money must be paid back

    Arsenal owing the banks £300m + at commercial rates requiring tens of millions a year in just interest repayments

    Now how come Arsenal are never the subject of such scrutiny on this blog, let me guess who the supports

  • Comment number 60.

    So...your looking to write your next book on football and finance eh?

    You should fine plenty of lowest common denominators ready to snap that one up.

  • Comment number 61.

    High Jinks at Chelsea?

  • Comment number 62.

    up the blades!

  • Comment number 63.

    Great article Bob, some shocking comments though. Football it seems is one of the few industries that will be able to weather the storm.
    Will be interesting to see how the owners deal with their finances taking a hammering though. Whether or not Chelsea is a plaything or not is besides the point, they have done extremely well since Abramovich got involved. Ask any Chelsea supporter what they would prefer, how they are performing now or ten years ago, only gonna be ine answer. As to those people complaining about football losing its soul, go and watch your local pub team play. Talent goes where the money is, deal with it.

  • Comment number 64.

    #58, its called a contract.

  • Comment number 65.

    Chelsea are on the road to becoming the new Leeds. An ageing squad, self financing of new players, but what can they sell?
    Reminds me of Wolves where the beneficial owner run out of funding.

  • Comment number 66.

    No problem Roman just apply to have the club registered as a bank. That way Gordy Boy will make billions of taxpayers money available to you.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    Tell me, is your article supposed to be objective fact-based reporting? If so I must tell you that you fall woefully short on both counts. The only accurate part is your claim to be ‘not a Chelsea supporter’! All that Chelsea FC has done and accomplished in recent financial dealings is in line with long and oft proclaimed policy of becoming a solvent self sustaining business free of any financial dependence on Roman Abramovitch. This includes compensation to under performing managers. You are determined to push your wish-list into self fulfilling prophesy that the club is being ‘fattened up for market’ despite repeated assurances from the man himself that this is not in his mind. One more question, at what point will you concede that your rantings have not produced the desired result? Ten years, twenty? Despite all the mounting evidence to the contrary do intend to continue this increasingly embarrassing crusade into the next millennium? Give us a break! Please!

  • Comment number 69. in God's name can something be 'pre-moderated’? Does 'pre-moderated' happen before or after the event? Go for the big one chaps, PLAIN English. It's a tried and tested formula and it works.

  • Comment number 70.

    why does the bbc blog moderators use double standards when it comes to moderating offensive,off topic, defamtory language etc etc etc.

    how can my post questioning someones integrity be deemed defmation and possibly offensive.

    yet people on this subject have posted many things that doesnt go in accordance with house rules

    such as labelling the whole of manchester as GUNCHESTER.

    now if the bbc moderators did a survey 99% of manchester folk would find that term offensive,but as the bbc moderators probably dont live in manchester then i suppose they dont CARE.

  • Comment number 71.

    Are the non. doms paying any or enough UK income taxes here?

  • Comment number 72.

    70. redarmy2009

    yet people on this subject have posted many things that doesnt go in accordance with house rules

    such as labelling the whole of manchester as GUNCHESTER.
    sorry mr army
    you sound like
    a liverpool fan
    complaining now

  • Comment number 73.

    Why is Robert Peston a stranger on our TV's lately? He almost invented the Credit Crunch, taught most of all we know about "heavy finance" and now, when it's all getting really interesting, we never see him anymore. The BBC haven't put the frighteners on you Rob, have they???

  • Comment number 74.


    That is very sobering news that Chelsea is reducing its dependence on the Abramovich bank account....


    Re: The disclosure of the you are not a fan of Chelsea Football Club is an important part of being a good journalist....

    ~Dennis Junior~


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