Chelsea upbeat after decade under Abramovich
Chelsea officials predicted more success for the English giants Monday after a decade under the ownership of Roman Abramovich.
The Russian billionaire, still very much at the helm at Stamford Bridge, has spent an estimated £874 million ($1.33 billion) on transfers and £1.5 billion ($2.28 billion) on wages in the 10 years since he took charge of London club Chelsea on July 1, 2003.
In so doing, Abramovich set a template for a host of wealthy foreign owners who've since taken charge of leading English football clubs and transformed the landscape of the game in its birthplace.
Abramovich's investment has so far yielded three Premier League titles -- prior to that the club were last crowned champions of England in 1955 --, four FA Cups, two League Cups and, significantly, a highly coveted European Champions League title and last season's Europa League.
"It has been a hugely successful decade for Chelsea Football Club since Roman Abramovich took control, with an unprecedented number of trophies in the last 10 years," said Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay in a statement Monday.
"The club has also taken great strides off the field in that time, adapting to meet the challenges of football's changing landscape.
"Mr Abramovich's early investment in playing staff paid dividends in creating a team admired around the world, but to keep Chelsea among the elite we have always known we must produce our own world-class talent and we are beginning to see the benefits of our Academy, which will help us meet our long-term objectives for Financial Fair Play.
"As we prepare for the next 10 years, I feel we are well positioned to continue the success we have so far enjoyed under Mr Abramovich and everybody here is determined to build on that progress we have made."
Meanwhile Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, writing in The Times, said Abramovich had transformed the west London club from mid-table mediocrity into a major global force.
"What came through to me loud and clear in those early days was the new owner's passion for the game and the potential he saw for what Chelsea FC could achieve, both on and off the pitch," Buck wrote in the Times.
"But few people could have comprehended 10 years ago how Roman Abramovich's ownership would quickly transform Chelsea, taking them from a club facing mid-table mediocrity and near bankruptcy to become one of the most formidable football teams in the world.
"Yes, there is no denying that there have been almost the same number of managers as there have been trophies (11, if the recently returned Jose Mourinho's two spells are counted separately). But the proof is in the pudding.
"Now of course, Chelsea fans, the fans of other clubs, journalists and observers of the world of football look forward.
"Will Roman Abramovich become bored, having won all the major trophies? My answer is no.
"Can Jose Mourinho bring more success to the club? My answer is yes."
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