I suppose at some point some credit may be due to the “Ricketts bid” just for their sheer persistence in the face of seemingly unified opposition from Chelsea fans, with protests online and at the stadium, and strong statements against from the likes of the Chelsea Supporters Trust.
And yet, they are undeterred, perhaps boosted by insiders’ connections behind the scenes, but perhaps just truly adamant and determined in their intentions to be club’s next owners. If we can ignore all the other issues, sporting or otherwise, those are not bad qualities to look for as we search for Roman Abramovich’s successor.
We should not fool ourselves: if fans had any say back in 2003, there’s not a chance in a million that we would’ve approved of some random billionaire regardless of the club’s mounting financial difficulties — in a deal that was in part engineered by Bruce Buck, it should be noted, who now seems to be favoring the Rickettses.
That’s not to say that the other bids wouldn’t possess similar qualities and such never-say-die attitude; they just haven’t been tested in this manner (and that’s certainly not a bad thing, in fact, it’s probably a good thing that they are all relatively controversy-free). A chance to own what will most likely be the most expensive sports club or franchise ever sold doesn’t come along every day after all.
Still, the Rickettses, who remain the “face” of this bid even if the “controlling stake” will be some other, as yet unnamed party — Ken Griffin probably? — are making all the right moves to try to get fans back on their side. I doubt they will succeed, even if they do eventually get to meet with key groups as they’ve been saying they want to, though I’m also not sure that will matter as much as we like to think it does.
And that includes publishing an 8-point plan, which may not be revolutionary, but is certainly hitting all the correct and necessary points.
Again, other bids will likely propose very similar plans, but the Rickettses have the leg up by making theirs public. Hopefully all those other bids are watching and taking notes.
“1. Make no change to the club’s name, badge and crest, or Chelsea blue, without the consent of supporters.
“2. Never participate in a European Super League and always protect the integrity and heritage of Chelsea FC
“3. Commit the resources necessary across all levels of the club to continue winning trophies, including investing in the first team, experienced football leadership and the academy.
“4. Put diversity and inclusion at the heart of the club and fight against any form of discrimination or inequality.
“5. Create an Advisory Committee with diverse representation to ensure our decisions are informed by: a former men’s and women’s first team player, members of the CST and Chelsea Pitch Owners, and influential community leaders.
“6. Explore every option to redevelop Stamford Bridge and do everything in our power to keep playing in this historic stadium.
“7. Match the current commitment to Chelsea FC Women and increase the number of women’s matches played at Stamford Bridge.
“8. Continue the vital charitable work of the Chelsea Foundation, seeking to use the power of football and sport to motivate, educate and inspire.”
-Ricketts Family statement; source: The Athletic
The Ricketts bid have released statement with eight assurances over their plans for #CFC…promise investment in all teams, won’t join a European Super League and creation of advisory committee involving ex players and fans. More here:https://t.co/6YtZOHwPOI
— Simon Johnson (@SJohnsonSport) April 3, 2022