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Chelsea Pillage

by | 2nd, July 2003

‘KEN Bates, the man who helped transform Chelsea from a second division outfit into a leading Premiership football club, is gone.

Ken Bates – in his reserved seat

Bates has sold his controlling stake in Chelsea Village for £29.6 million. And the new owner, as seen in the Mail, is one Roman Abramovich, a Russian oil magnate.

Looking for obvious puns about Chelski, and finding them on the front page of the Sun, we turn to the back of that paper, where former Blues’ favourite Peter Osgood is happy to see Ken go.

‘Thank God for that,’ says Osgood, who was sacked from Chelsea’s hospitality staff last year.

‘Ken Bates is not the nicest man in the world and I don’t like the way he treats people. I’ve never been a fan of his.’

Liked and loathed, Bates was at least a character, a rare breed in a game where corporate facelessness now provides the game’s chairmen.

But what of the new man in charge?

The Express profiles Abramovich, ‘a new breed of Russian’, and hears Bates say that he’s good news for the club.

‘With this guy’s help and financial muscle we can be one of the top four or five clubs in Europe,’ says Bates.

Or the new broom could just realise the potential of the ground, sell it off and move the entire operation to Mitchum or Moscow, those hotbeds of Chelsea fervour.

Things are always less certain than the Ken Bates’ hype.

And it remains less than clear whether Tim Henman will be victorious in this year’s Wimbledon.

In readiness for today’s match between Tim and Sebastien Grosjean, the Sun puts the game in perspective.

‘Blimey…I’m Bigger Than EastEnders,’ says the headline, created in light of Monday’s performance, when Henman’s victory over David Nalbandian delayed the soap opera by one hour.

If he can now delay his departure until he’s lifted the cup, we’ll all be grateful…



Posted: 2nd, July 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink