Stephen Pagliuca prefers to operate quietly and let his actions do the talking — his bid was only revealed when the shortlist was created, for example — but as we approach Thursday’s bidding deadline, he’s realized that he does need to do a bit of PR and shed some light on his intentions. While this is not meant to be a popularity contest, some of the other bids have been talking a lot more. And any new owner will want to begin their stewardship of the club on good terms with the fans. Open communication is one way to start ensuring that.
So, to that effect, he’s released a statement that, in part, outlines three areas of focus that he will be targeting should he be the (surprise) winner of this pseudo-auction.
“Our first focus and goal is to make strategic investments to continue competing for championships and trophies. We will support our players and managers to make sure that Chelsea are habitual winners and title contenders, whether in the Premier League, Champions League or the Women’s Super League [the only Super League we intend competing in, for the record]. In addition, we will continue to invest in the youth academy to develop the stars of the future and we would not be in this process if we did not have an exciting and inclusive vision for Chelsea.
“Our second focus will be to continue to cherish and preserve the legacy and traditions of the club. In over 20 years of ownership of the Boston Celtics, we have not once considered changing the name, colours, or logo of the club. This is our guarantee to Chelsea fans. Not only are we committed to remaining at the home of Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, but we are inspired to renovate or redevelop the stadium. Chelsea is a world-class team, in a world-class city, with world-class fans: it deserves a world-class stadium.
“Our third focus will be having a significant positive impact in the community. We believe passionately that clubs have a social responsibility, and we will continue to support The Chelsea Foundation and its impressive work in education, health and wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion both locally and globally. Chelsea should be the Pride of London for its on and off-field accomplishments. It has fans all over the world and we will not tolerate bullying, anti-semitism, racism, or any other form of hateful speech — and neither should our fans.”
As with the Ricketts’ eight-point plan, Pagliuca ticks all the boxes for what’s needed from our new ownership — winning, women, youth, stadium, community, legacy. This should be the bare minimum expectation from every bid, and especially the winning bid, whether they reveal it publicly or not.
The one concern with Pagliuca is that he’s part of the majority ownership group at Atalanta as well, which could pose a conflict of interest for UEFA and European competitions, though it sounds like they are confident in being able to resolve those.
“Ultimately, fans will see our commitment and, we hope, trust us to stay true to our values on and off the pitch. We understand the responsibilities that come with such an important sporting institution and hold ourselves accountable to the fans.
“Later this week, we will submit a substantial and credible bid proposal – one that we expect will meet the respective requirements and regulations of the Premier League, UK Government and UEFA – and we pledge to honour our commitment to credibility and good guardianship of Chelsea Football Club from day one.”
-Stephen Pagliuca statement; source: Mirror
In other bid news, we have confirmation from the Ricketts bid that Lord Karan Bilimoria would join their Chelsea board if their bid is successful. Bilimoria’s a Chelsea fan and the founder and chairman of Cobra Beer. Better than Singha!
Revealed: Lord Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beer and outgoing president of the CBI, will be unveiled today as a key figure in the takeover bid for Chelsea assembled by the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family. The Peer will join Chelsea’s board if the Ricketts-led bid succeeds.— Mark Kleinman (@MarkKleinmanSky) April 12, 2022
And we also have a statement from the government confirming that they will not be choosing the next owner of Chelsea Football Club. Reports yesterday claimed that they would be “content to approve” any of the four, which was then misinterpreted by some subsequent reporting to mean that the government would be actively involved in choosing a winner. That will not be the case: Raine and Chelsea will decide. (The government will be issuing a new Operating Licence however, which is why Raine Group sought their pre-approval for all the shortlisted bids.)