Russian billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich forever changed the landscape of English & European football when he took over the reins at Chelsea in 2003. The blues have since then won more major trophies than any other Premier League club. Today we take a look at how the club’s fortunes changed since the Russian’s ownership & how other teams have fared during the period.
Abramovich changed the ownership name to Chelsea FC plc, whose ultimate parent company is Fordstam Limited, which is controlled by him. Chelsea is additionally funded by Abramovich via interest-free soft loans channelled through his holding company Fordstam Limited. The loans stood at £709 million in December 2009, when they were all converted to equity by Abramovich, leaving the club themselves debt-free, although the debt remains with Fordstam. Chelsea did not turn a profit in the first nine years of Abramovich’s ownership, and made record losses of £140m in June 2005. In November 2012, Chelsea announced a profit of £1.4 million for the year ending 30 June 2012, the first time the club had made a profit under Abramovich’s ownership. This was followed by a loss in 2013 and then their highest ever profit of £18.4 million for the year to June 2014. In 2018 Chelsea announced a record after-tax profit of £62 million. Chelsea have been described as a global brand; a 2012 report by Brand Finance ranked Chelsea fifth among football brands and valued the club’s brand value at US$398 million – an increase of 27% from the previous year, also valuing them at US$10 million more than the sixth-best brand, London rivals Arsenal – and gave the brand a strength rating of AA (very strong). In 2016, Forbes magazine ranked Chelsea the seventh most valuable football club in the world, at £1.15 billion ($1.66 billion). As of 2016, Chelsea is ranked eighth in the Deloitte Football Money League with annual commercial revenue of £322.59 million.
When he took over, Abramovich moved on from incumbent Claudio Ranieri to Jose Mourinho, who brought him three league titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups across his two spells at Stamford Bridge. Further success under Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafael Benitez, Antonio Conte and Sarri added up to five league titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, the 2011-12 Champions League and a pair of Europa League wins. Chelsea is one of five clubs to have won all three of UEFA’s main club competitions, and the only London club to have won the Champions League. Manchester United have matched Chelsea’s tally of Premier League titles in the years in question, with all five coming under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson – the final years of whose reign also brought an FA Cup, three League Cup wins and the 2007-08 Champions League, beating Chelsea in the final in Moscow. They have struggled to replace their most successful manager but won an FA Cup under Louis Van Gaal and a League Cup and a Europa League title under Mourinho for a total haul of 13 major trophies. They also have seven Community Shields and a Club World Cup since 2003, taking them ahead of Chelsea if those minor wins are considered.
City’s own big-money takeover in 2008 yielded its first spoils with the 2010-11 FA Cup and has gone on to produce four league titles, including 2017-18’s record-breaking 100-point campaign and last term’s dramatic follow-up. A second FA Cup and four League Cups make up a total haul of 10, half of them under current manager Pep Guardiola, with Europe the remaining frontier to be conquered. Gunners fans became frustrated during the final years of Arsene Wenger’s long reign, but the Frenchman added three FA Cups in four seasons to go with his 2005 win in the same competition and the previous year’s “Invincible” league title win. Unai Emery took them to the Europa League final in his first season in charge but Chelsea ensured he was unable to replicate his success in the competition from his Sevilla reign and add to Arsenal’s five trophies in the Abramovich years.
Contrary to most of their rivals, Liverpool’s main success has come in Europe with two Champions League titles among their four trophies – 2005’s stunning comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul and last season’s win over Tottenham. They also won the FA Cup in 2006 and the League Cup in 2012 but have come up just short in the Premier League despite last season’s 97-point haul. Spurs have established themselves in the league’s top four and reached the showpiece Champions League occasion in Madrid only to lose to Jurgen Klopp’s side. That leaves the 2007-08 League Cup as their only trophy this century and they will hope to kick on further in the coming years. Chelsea currently sits 4th in the Premier League within the grasp of a Champions League place. The club has done surprisingly well in a season that was termed to be transitional under Frank Lampard with academy youngsters coming in to fill the void of world-class signings due to the transfer ban.