Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich rarely speaks publicly but the Russian billionaire has given an insight into his decision making as the main man at Stamford Bridge.
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Abramovich spoke to Forbes in a wide-ranging interview as the man who bought Chelsea in 2003 lauded the success of their women’s team, vowed to fight discrimination and racism and defended his approach of hiring and firing managers.
Asked about the 18 trophies Chelsea have won in his 18 years as the owner, and the way he runs the club, Abramovich lifted the lid.
“I think the trophies speak for themselves and show what we as a club have been able to achieve over these years and it’s my goal for us to keep winning trophies going forward and build for the future,” Abramovich said. “The club was here before me, and will be here after me, but my job is to ensure we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future.”
“I think we are pragmatic in our choices,” Abramovich continued. “And we are comfortable making the right changes at the right time to ensure we can achieve our long-term ambitions. I hope it also says something about the clarity of the long-term ambition of the club. Those who join understand the objectives both on the pitch, as well as the wider positive role the club plays in the community.”
How does this talk from Abramovich impact Thomas Tuchel?
Abramovich gave a very short, rare statement when Chelsea fired Frank Lampard in January and that was because he is a club legend.
He may not run much of the day-to-day at Chelsea, with Marina Granovskaia doing that, but in this interview Abramovich revealed how much he loves the game, and his club, and is keen to get as many former players involved as he can.
What does all of that mean for the new manager?
Thomas Tuchel is unbeaten as Chelsea boss since he arrived and his appointment was exactly the kind of ruthless decision Abramovich was talking about.
Tuchel has had a superb start, but now he has to back it up with results and winning trophies.
That is what Abramovich demands at Chelsea. Period.
With a lot of talented youngsters coming through the ranks, it was thought that Lampard, or someone else, would be given a lot of time to build a new identity and Chelsea’s big-spending was a thing of the past.
This interview and insight from Abramovich tells us one thing: he wants to win today, tomorrow and yesterday and he doesn’t care how.