No list of historically bumbling US sports franchises can be complete without the Cleveland Cavaliers, who accomplished practically nothing in the first 35 years of their existence, and have accomplished even less in the last three years of their existence. For most of the rest of the time of their existence, they had LeBron James playing for them, before he took his talents first to South Beach then to Hollywood.
I guess we do have the “LeBron James of Soccer” playing for us, so perhaps it’ll be a union just as fruitful and blessed if the Ricketts bid does end up being chosen somehow. Reports yesterday confirmed that they have added Cavs owner Dan Gilbert to their consortium, in an unspecified but “significant” financial capacity.
EXCLUSIVE: Rock Entertainment Group, owner of a string of US sports teams and backed by Dan Gilbert, one of America's richest men, has agreed to back the bid for Chelsea Football Club being led by the Ricketts family and hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin. https://t.co/Yu1SqRjzkc— Mark Kleinman (@MarkKleinmanSky) April 2, 2022
Gilbert made his billions with Quicken Loans and he’s certainly a very successful businessman. What role he might play in this Chelsea bid is unclear, as the Rickettses remain the “face” of the operation even if they won’t have the “controlling stake”. As if their offer needed any more grey areas...
I'm told this remains a Ricketts-led bid even if they do not take the controlling stake. Group have not commented on the planned share split. Suspect Chelsea's supporter groups will want a lot more info/clarity on this #cfc https://t.co/s9xHLnHGVG— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 2, 2022
But one thing is clear, they are not going anywhere voluntarily. Tom Ricketts even released a statement prior to the protests held outside Stamford Bridge yesterday afternoon, prior to the game that echoed the worst result of Tuchel’s tenure almost exactly twelve months prior. Not a great omen, Tom!
“Over the past fortnight, our bid team has met with several supporter groups to explain our vision for Chelsea Football Club. In those meetings, and by letter to all groups, we have shared a set of specific commitments we will make to fans, if our bid is successful.
“We believe these are far-reaching and certainly include an absolute commitment on part of the Ricketts Family and the bid team to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of the club.
“We look forward to more meetings - including with the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust — over the coming days and to making a public reiteration of our values and commitments.”
-Tom Ricketts statement; source: Football.London
As I understand it, the Ricketts family are not put off by protests against them at Chelsea’s game with Brentford. They want further engagement with fan groups. Optics of the sale is so key (they can’t be chosen in the current mood) but Buck does believe their bid is strong.— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) April 2, 2022
The Ricketts bid seem to retain potentially advantageous status among the Chelsea brass. Meanwhile, a supermajority of those surveyed by the Chelsea Supporters Trust unsurprisingly do not want them. If you didn’t get a survey, you can join the CST here and make your voice heard.