The fan-led ‘True Blues Consortium’ – co-founded by club legend John Terry – have received a major boost in their hopes to secure a minor stake in Chelsea, amid the ongoing ownership race.
What’s the word?
As per Sky Sports, the fan-backed group have discussed the potential of buying a ten per cent stake in the Stamford Bridge outfit as part of any new takeover and have held initial “positive” talks with two of the ‘shortlisted bidders’, having approached three of the four interested parties.
The report suggests that the consortium are keen to acquire a ten per cent share in the club should the west London side be sold at its £2.5bn valuation, although the suggestion is that the price ‘could go beyond that figure’, with ‘final offers’ set to be placed by April 11.
Raine Group – the bank controlling the sale – are set to present a ‘preferred bid’ to the government next week, with the likelihood that a sale could well be completed by the end of April, bringing an end to the almost 20-year reign of now disqualified owner, Roman Abramovich.
Fan Voice Crucial
Events of the past week, as well as the past year, have shown that increased fan involvement in clubs is vital, with the potential Terry-led, True Blues investment seemingly the ideal way to get supporters’ voices heard at boardroom level.
It is almost a year since the Blues – alongside 11 of Europe’s other top clubs – drew widespread anger after announcing their backing of a radical, breakaway, closed-shop European Super League, only for those plans to be quickly shelved in just a matter of days after an intense backlash from all corners of the game.
The actions of the Blues faithful, in particular, were seemingly crucial in the swift crumbling of the proposal, with passionate protests outside of Stamford Bridge putting adequate pressure on the club to relinquish their involvement in the project, leading the other members of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ to quickly follow suit.
The power of the collective fan voice was on show then and has been again this week, with supporters making their objections heard regarding ownership candidate the Ricketts Family, owing to reported Islamophobic comments made by patriarch Joe Ricketts a decade ago.
While issues have also arisen over potential ‘preferential treatment’ being awarded to the Ricketts bid – which is backed by billionaire Ken Griffin – supporters are seemingly more concerned with ensuring that their new owners represent the correct values and beliefs, particularly amid the recent turbulence involving Abramovich.
As Miguel Delaney of The Independent suggested a few weeks ago, this impending sale could well prove to be a ‘watershed moment’ for the Premier League to see if lessons have been learned from this whole debacle, he said: “as the forced departure of Abramovich exploded the aloof fantasy the Premier League could forever go untouched by real-world concerns.”
It would seem then that is not too much of an ask for supporters to have an increased say in both the running of ‘their’ club and who represents them as owner, with it seemingly time that fans wrestle back some control for themselves.