So, at the cost of £10 billion, a dozen managers, and having to put up with John Terry’s tears/racism/heroic defending (delete as applicable), Roman Abramovich’s dream has finally come true. Chelsea have won the Champions League. Hooray for them. Whoop-de-do. Don’t mind me, I’m a bitter Arsenal fan who still has nightmares about Jens Lehmann’s red card in the 2006 final.
It’s remarkable that this year, of all years, Chelsea brought home Abramovich his most prized possession. At the start of the season they had the most promising young manager in the game and big things were expected of him. He was tasked with rebuilding an ageing squad and keeping the trophies flowing at the same time. Fast forward six months and their season was unravelling. A long, long way adrift off the top of the table and struggling even for fourth, with some poor performances and a tame exit to Liverpool in the Carling Cup to boot, Andre Villas Boas’s boys weren’t delivering and the manager paid the price.Yet the sneaky-eyed Italian Roberto di Matteo took charge and Chelsea were revitalised. Their league performances picked up (bar another tame defeat to Liverpool at the back-end of the season) and they won the FA Cup and now club football’s greatest prize: the Champions League. Criticise their defensive tactics all you like to beat some of the best attacking talent in the game in the shape of Arjen Robben, Mario Gomez and Thomas Muller (apply your own foreign accent marks, I’m too lazy), I’m not here to discuss tactics. Besides, if Gomez and co. had brought their big-game boots, I’d be writing about how the Krauts are still light-years ahead of us poor little Brits.
The question is: what now for Chelsea and Abramovich? Will the Russian oligarch with the most expensive hobby in history stick around to try and win more trophies or will he walk away having got what he came for and find another project? I mean, if I was him, I’d be sorely tempted to go make robots that fight each other, setting up a tournament with other billionaires. Kinda like that old Robot Wars show but with more budget and less Jonathan Pearce.
Plus Abramovich isn’t the only billionaire in town now. There’s those rich fuckers up north who make Roman’s riches look like a tramp’s daily pickings. Oh, and let’s not forget that Sam Allardyce is back in the Premier League. Everyone else might as well give up now. We all know he’s the best manager in the world.
Only one way to find out what’s going to happen: come back next season. That’s the wonderful thing about football, it never ends. There’s always more intrigue, more player-manager spats, more unusual transfers, more absurd results, and hopefully more Balotelli. By next season we might have another billionaire owner in town. Everton have been poking around for one for a while now…
Boys and their toys, eh?