Not counting a Worthless Cup victory last week, Chelsea are winless in their last 4 matches, and while the club tries to quell anti-semitic abuse of new manager Avram Grant, the Telegraph’s Henry Winter reminds owner Roman Abramovich “that he is merely the custodian of Chelsea Football Club, rather than an all-powerful oligarch who can interfere in the manager’s domain as if it were some foreman’s office at an obscure aluminium factory.”
Chelsea fans’ growing unease with Roman Abramovich is vividly captured in a passionate letter sent to the club’s owner last week. Fearful of their benefactor losing interest, Blues supporters remain cautious about displaying public dissent towards Abramovich, but the missive reveals the depths of private concerns.
The main worries about Abramovich’s stewardship are contained in the letter from a group of Chelsea season ticket-holders, demanding answers to the following questions about Grant: “Why have you employed a replacement who:
1, Doesn’t have any coaching badges?
2, Has no experience of managing in a premier European league?
3, Hasn’t managed a team in the Champions League?
4, During his tenure of managing teams in Israel played defensive formations of 4-5-1.
“You, [chairman] Bruce Buck and [chief executive] Peter Kenyon all allude to being Chelsea fans but can I ask you: 1, Have you stood on freezing cold terraces in the 1980s at Luton watching Chelsea lose 4-0?
2, Have you been herded into pens at the cattle market in Nottingham before seeing them scrape a 1-1 draw at Notts County in the snow? 3, Have you stood in the rain at Selhurst Park watching them get a draw in the Zenith Data Systems Cup?
4, Have you endured 30-odd years of achieving nothing in any league or cup competition?”
In the letter, written by Jonathan Leeson, a fan since the Seventies, Abramovich is also taken to task for puzzling over “why ageing footballers such as Michael Ballack and Andrei Shevchenko can’t perform and wondering why Chelsea slip down the league and become the laughing stock of English and European football”.
In a concluding paragraph that will have heads nodding in approval all round the Bridge, the letter finishes: “Chelsea is in my blood and I will be at Stamford Bridge long after all of you have gone. I feel sorry for you “ you will never have the passion and love for this club that we have.”