Ron Gourlay yesterday vowed to 'shoot for the stars' after takingover as chief executive from Peter Kenyon this week and promised tobring realism and humility to a club often accused of brashness andarrogance.
For a man who claims to value liaison with supporters, he hasstarted controversially by unveiling a plan to sell the naming rightsto Stamford Bridge.
European target: Gourlay wants Chelsea to win two Champions League trophies inside the next five years
Now Chelsea are @ it! Blues join Newcastle in stadium naming rights sale as Stamford Bridge is put up for grabsManchester United and Chelsea check out QPR wonderkid Raheem Sterling's England bowSergio Aguero welcomes the attention from Chelsea after scoring twice against 'one of the world's best teams'Chelsea flop Shevchenko free to join Yeung's Birmingham City revolutionThe move is part of the club's effort to be self-sufficient, something Gourlay accepts will not happen next year as they hoped.
'Self-sufficiency is still the goal,' he said. 'Is it going to happen this year? No. It won't happen soon.'
It was Kenyon who made the original claim that Chelsea, despite a wage bill of more than £150million a year, would break even by June 2010 rather than relying on the generosity of owner Roman Abramovich.
This has been hit by factors which include the recession, a spate of expensive managerial sackings and the club's failure to win the European Cup.
'In the 10-year plan, there were two Champions Leagues in there and we've been very unlucky,' said Gourlay.
Shooting stars: Gorulay(r) wants Chelsea to be self-sufficient
'Over the next five years we've still got to shoot for the stars. 'I'd like to think we can win the Champions League twice in the next five years. You have to win trophies consistently. Not win the Premier League one year and then slip away for three years. That doesn't work on the big stage. You've got to be pushing every time.'
It is a warning for Manchester City, the latest cash-rich club to target world domination.
'With the players they have, they're certainly going to try to push into the top five,' said Gourlay. 'Commercially, it's not that easy. They're very much a Manchester-centric club.
'To break into the "big world" and start developing your business in Asia and in the USA, you need to really start winning some trophies, and not just one Premier League.'
Gourlay, like Kenyon, worked at Manchester United when they won the Champions League in 1999. 'That takes the bar up another level in terms of your sponsorship ability, your commercial ability,' he said. 'The impact on your merchandising sales alone is just huge overnight. The awareness of the football club grows overnight.'
Chelsea, who booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League this week, have reached the semi-finals in five of the last six seasons and came within one kick of glory in a penalty shoot-out in the Moscow final last year before they were beaten by United, the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Victory for the Blues against the champions will take them five points clear of United in the Premier League title race.
'I want to get Stamford Bridge back to being a fortress,' said Gourlay. 'The signs are there that opponents are starting to fear coming to the Bridge again. We went through a period when that fear was taken away but that's coming back.
'These are exciting times again. We're playing the most entertaining football we've played in the last two or three years. Personally, I think anybody who finishes above Manchester United will win the League. I do see them as our biggest rivals.'
Now Chelsea are @ it! Blues join Newcastle in stadium naming rights sale as Stamford Bridge is put up for grabsManchester United and Chelsea check out QPR wonderkid Raheem Sterling's England bowSergio Aguero welcomes the attention from Chelsea after scoring twice against 'one of the world's best teams'Chelsea flop Shevchenko free to join Yeung's Birmingham City revolution
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