We haven’t seen Roman Abramovich at Stamford Bridge in 2-3 years — of course we haven’t seen any fans in the stadium for well over six months now, but that’s another story — since before his visa issues with the UK government began (though not necessarily because of anything he himself has or hasn’t done), and we haven’t seen him at a Chelsea match of any kind since a preseason friendly against RB Salzburg in 2019, fifteen months ago.
But with Chelsea getting to play in Russia for the first time since 2013, the owner took advantage of the opportunity to make a (masked) appearance last night (literally, not figuratively) and see his shiny new toys in person. And while they weren’t exactly too shiny or firing on all cylinders, Chelsea did run out 4-0 winners in the end, which hopefully made the owner happy enough.
Lampard, who normally communicates with director Granovskaia instead, would’ve probably asked him that personally, but apparently didn’t catch him in time before or after the game.
“A couple of my staff members spoke to him, but by the time I came out in the warm-up he wasn’t around. We got four goals and a clean sheet in his home country, and I hope it made him happy.”
Abramovich’s presence used to be a common feature of Chelsea home games, and even Chelsea practices (especially when things were going awry), and his recent absence as well as his decision to put the new stadium plans on hold (which looks a fantastic decision in light of the pandemic) has led to plenty of speculation about his continuing interest in the club.
But he just continues to answer those rumors the only way he’s ever done: by staying silent and pouring money into the club.
“To have him here is a nice bonus for myself and the squad. I’m very pleased we put on what I thought was a good performance.”
“I always feel the support of the owner of the club, whether he’s here at games or not.”
-Frank Lampard; source: BBC
It’s often hard to believe that we’re closing in on two decades with Abramovich as the owner: two decades of unparalleled success, investment, entertainment, drama, and initiatives that stretch well beyond the football pitch be they in fighting against discrimination or supporting the NHS.
In many ways, we’re lucky and privileged to have him as the owner, and hopefully that will go on for a good while longer yet!