With about 48 hours to go until Friday’s deadline, we have a third confirmed bid for Chelsea Football Club, this one coming from “The Ricketts Family”, owners of the Chicago Cubs. They join the bids from Boehly-Wyss and from Saudi Media, while others like NY Jets owner Woody Johnson are reportedly also intending to bid still as well.
“The Ricketts Family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, can confirm they will be leading an investment group that will make a formal bid for Chelsea Football Club this Friday (March 18). As long-time operators of an iconic professional sports team, the Ricketts Family and their partners understand the importance of investing for success on the pitch, while respecting the traditions of the club, the fans and the community. We look forward to sharing further details of our plans in due course.”
-Ricketts Family statement; source: Telegraph
Chicago Cubs fans seem to have a far less rosy view of their owners, who have practically dismantled a World Series-winning team over the past five years while also redeveloping the local area that has now lost a lot of its historic character (though that shouldn’t be a fear in tightly controlled London).
The Telegraph add that Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel, is involved in this bid as well, but only — and this should be stressed — in a “private” capacity. Funnily enough, yours truly received a nastygram from a PR firm for not making this clear when we first heard about this potential partnership. So that’s fun.
Though this bid probably has bigger image problems to worry about considering the anti-Muslim emails that the “patriarch” of the Ricketts Family, Joe Ricketts sent back in 2019. So that’s not fun at all.
Things you'll find in Joe Ricketts' leaked emails:— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) February 5, 2019
• Anti-Muslims rants
• Conspiracy theories about Barack Obama
• Ricketts laughing at jokes about racial slurs and the deaths of people of colorhttps://t.co/gDzzW9V4rb
Speaking of right-wingers and I don’t mean on the pitch, NY Jets owner (and former Ambassador the UK under the Trump Administration) Woody Johnson is still in the picture, and supposedly “will” be making his £2b bid before Friday as well.
This has been only reported in The Sun so far, but Johnson’s name has been consistently mentioned in other reporting over the past week as well, so it’s probably quite likely that he will indeed submit an official bid.
EXC: Bidders with experience of sports club ownership are preferred in the race to buy Chelsea.— James Robson (@jamesrobsonES) March 16, 2022
Advantage Ricketts, Boehly & Johnson.
Less likely is the chance of Nick Candy scraping together something, with the Telegraph claiming that he “is in danger of being left behind as he scrambles to form a consortium”. Some reports claimed that Candy was looking to jump onto the Boehly-Wyss train, but apparently he can’t see past tribal boundaries, which is just silly nonsense at this level.
“This is a completely unsubstantiated rumour. There are no talks underway with Nick Candy and the Todd Boehly and Jonathan Goldstein consortium, not least because Mr Candy does not want a lifelong Spurs fan as part of the future ownership of Chelsea Football Club.”
-Nick Candy spokesperson; source: Telegraph
Boehly-Wyss (and Spurs fan Goldstein) are looking for more people to add however, which is probably nothing too noteworthy but could mean that they’re struggling to put together the financing — which would be a surprise given the consistent reporting that they’re in the lead, and would probably give the Saudi Media-led bid the advantage.
#Chelsea (1/2): It is my understanding that the Swiss-American consortium is (surprisingly) still looking for partners. Team NOT complete as previously believed. Talks are taking place. This doesn’t change the fact that the bid (around £2,5 billion) is already in. pic.twitter.com/H5h7S1PT9B— Nicola Imfeld (@nicola_imfeld) March 16, 2022