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When with Roman, Do what the Roman Does

Everybody knows the rich family living across the street that all the kids used to look up to in awe. The youngsters always bought a new Mercedes or a BMW at regular periods and always had with the latest gadgets. There would be others who would wait till the reviews are out on the internet and then conclude that it wasn’t a good buy. They would feel that it was a waste of money. Some of them would also make fun of them by showing them other models that were cheaper but had better features. However, as the weeks passed, the family would buy the latest gadgets once again and everyone would be in awe again.

Roman Abramovich has shown the same attributes. He has gone ahead and bought players who were never in line with the manager’s projects: Andrey Shevchenko, Yuri Zhirkov and the most expensive of all, Fernando Torres. Though amazing on paper, hardly any of them could match the expectations. From an outside view, it looks as if they would learn from their mistakes. But that never happens.

The arguments put forth are that Chelsea have changed 8 managers in 9 years (or 17 in the last 25 years). However, if we do see closely, that has had very little effect on the trophies won by Chelsea. Under the Roman era, Chelsea has won more trophies (10 major trophies) than even Manchester United (9 major trophies). Thus, prima facie, it looks as if all of Roman’s decisions have actually benefited Chelsea. But these are just short term solutions: Chelsea will suffer in the long term is the next argument.  Roman Abramovich will just walk away one day and leave the club in ruins. But looking at the decisions made by him for converting the total debt into equity and helping Chelsea to break even and also make profits, it is hard to swallow these arguments.

Mixing personal fancies and business decisions will still take its toll. It should be remembered that the fans also do have a stake in the club. One cannot want an attacking brand of football as well as short term solutions to achieve them. But unlike the fans, the passion for the club never trickles down to its managers and players, it remains to the club itself. Roman likes to see his club at the zenith at any cost. Ill treatment to Nicolas Anelka, Alex and now Florent Malouda in their final seasons for the club and not acknowledging the hard work and commitment put in by them will definitely end on a sour note. 

With the axing of Robert di Matteo, a Champions League hero  and employing Rafael Benitez, a disliked figure at Chelsea as the interim manager, Roman has crushed the hearts of his fans once again.  Chelsea have spent £86m since 2004 in compensation for managers; more than Everton‘s entire net spend since the Premier League began. However it would all be well forgotten if they are back to winning ways. The cycle of New Manager-Success-Slump-Fire-New Manager will go on. The managers will be paid handsomely at the time of managing and at their exits. The newer players will be overpaid at one stage and then would be allowed to even use the player’s parking lot in the next. In the eyes of Roman, it is a win-win situation. The effects of having both the extremes would average out to a normal club, just like the others. If you are with Roman Abramovich, you will never see mediocre. There is no instance of repairing the damage, it’s buying new machinery that is the solution. In both the cases, the problem is solved. And as for the cost difference between the two, that’s certainly not the problem.

The family didn’t think the Car was worth that much money either. It was the look of amazement and the pride of knowing someone with that car; that was worth it. But in an age where almost everyone can afford a reasonable car and know the passion and hardwork it takes to get one, there is a thin line between awe and disrespect.

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