Abramovich And Ashley - A Football Man/An Idiot!
A decade ago today, a then-unknown Russian billionaire agreed to take over a famous yet debt-ridden London football club in the hope of making them a footballing superpower.
Six years ago Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley bought Newcastle for £130m in the hope of ... errr ... emmm ... making himself famous.
Since buying Chelsea from the controversial Ken Bates for £140m, Roman Abramovich lavished millions more on upgrading the club’s infrastructure, signing superstars for massive pound fees and hiring a succession of world-class managers.
After coming to the rescue for the Blues, who looked to be heading towards administration and a possible demise from the top flight, how have they and the Premier League as a whole changed in his 10 years as chairman?
From the moment he arrived at Stamford Bridge, there was only one thing the quiet Abramovich wanted: trophies – and that’s what he got. In his first season as owner, they didn’t win anything, but finished second in the league. Success followed since the somewhat surprising dismissal of Claudio Ranieri.
The arrival of Jose Mourinho in his first spell saw the Blues win the Premier League twice, two League Cups and an FA Cup, nearly doubling the club’s major trophy haul in just three seasons. Since the Special One’s departure, more came under the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto di Matteo.
They won another Premier League title in 2010, while three more FA Cup trophies made their way to West London. However, Abramovich craved the Champions League trophy more than any other and had to wait until 2012 to see it happen. In total, they have won 11 trophies post-takeover.
Their success on the pitch can be almost entirely attributed to heavy spending in the transfer market. Some £700m has been spent on transfers, not all of them being successful. The £50m lavished on Fernando Torres is widely regarded as the biggest mistake, but there have been many successes.
For £23m, Juan Mata looked worth it, while £24m for Didier Drogba looked like the best investment ever made during the Abramovich era. For £24.4m, Michael Essien proved to be a worthwhile signing, too.
Since Abramovich’s takeover, more foreign moneymen have arrived, most notably the Abu Dhabi-based Sheikh Mansour to Manchester City. Also following in the secretive oligarch’s footsteps were Malcolm Glazer at Man United, John W. Henry at Liverpool and Randy Lerner at Aston Villa.
The superrich have also made moves into other leagues as well. The takeovers of Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Spanish side Malaga and, fittingly, several clubs in the Russian Premier Division, also hint that Abramovich has been a trailblazer throughout Europe.
Foreign owners of Premier League clubs weren’t anything new pre-Abramovich, but he has helped to open the floodgates for other billionaires.
Also, his willingness to give his managers millions to spend on new players every transfer window have made it essential (and often difficult) for rivals to keep pace with them.
His arrival has turned Chelsea into a major force and he made them one of the most successful teams in England, and it seems that he’s not done yet.
In his time as chairman, Chelsea haven’t managed to develop a world-class youth academy, while he will want the second spell with Jose Mourinho in charge to be a little more successful than the first.
On the other hand, Ashley - worth £2.5billion - has turned Newcastle into the laughing stock of the country.
On 23 May 2007, in a surprise move, Ashley bought Sir John Hall's 41.6% stake in Newcastle United at one pound per share, for a total cost of £55,342,223 via his company St James Holdings Ltd.
Under the terms of UK takeover law, having purchased more than 30% of a listed company, he was obliged to make an offer to buy the remaining shares at the same or a greater price.
On 7 June 2007 it was confirmed that chairman Freddy Shepherd had agreed to sell his 28% share to Ashley, which left Ashley free to take control of the club.
As of 15 June 2007, Ashley owned a 77.06% stake in Newcastle United, on course to withdraw the club from the stock exchange having surpassed the 75% threshold required.
100% acquisition was achieved in July with Ashley paying a total of around £134 million to buy the club.
Have we moved on under Ashley?
We finished the 2006/7 season in 13th place, and Ashley told us he had a "five year plan for success".
With a relegation and a promotion in his six years at the club, we have had a rollercoaster ride ... nothing like that at Chelsea ...
Premier League2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10
FA Cup2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12
Football League Cup2004–05, 2006–07
FA Community Shield2005, 2009
EuropeanUEFA Champions League2011–12
UEFA Europa League2012–13
ARE WE JEALOUS? YOU BET WE ARE!
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WE TELL IT AS IT IS - NO BULLSHIT!
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Source: Newcastle United Mad
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