Chelsea’s new owners made a promise*, among many, to be more open with fans than the previous regime, and while that hasn’t really happened, they did craft an open letter to us that was published this morning on the official website.
There’s nothing really earthshattering in there, as they reiterate their “complete commitment” to club, to maintaining our ambitions, and to learn and improve from this most terrible season that’s been — while also acknowledging that the women’s team have been outstanding once again, winning yet another WSL and FA Cup trophy double.
Obviously, things are not so rosy on the men’s side, where a lot of mistakes have been make. But there’s also clear desire to fix those things — and now with less in-person involvement from the owners, who have slowly dialed that back in favor of the people they have appointed to take care of things (Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart as sporting directors, Chris Jurasek as CEO, and the lesser spotted Christopher Vivell as the technical director for the global multi-club efforts).
Perhaps the most important thing to come out of this letter is that they finally figured out a collective name for themselves, “Chelsea Ownership Group”. Hopefully they will be a helpful COG in the wheel.
*other promises included: financial commitment (check); support for women’s team (check); support for Academy (check); new stadium (efforts underway); marketing revamp (in progress?); better structure behind the scenes (jury’s out)
The open letter, in full, reads:
A message to our fans
It’s been just over a year since we completed our purchase of Chelsea. It was and remains a privilege for us to be custodians of our wonderful club. Twelve months on, we want to take the opportunity to speak directly to all of you, our supporters, as we reflect on the season just gone.
Our promise to you was to make our fans proud. We remain completely committed to the long term and sustainable success of our club and fulfilling that promise we made to you. We know the huge potential we must grow to develop Chelsea FC and it is a role we take seriously. Everybody working here is relentlessly focused on driving us forward.
Clearly, for our men’s team, it has been a disappointing season and there is a lot we can and will do better. Throughout these difficult periods, our fans have supported our players and our team across the country, and Europe with unfailing loyalty. We could not be more grateful for your incredible support. The atmosphere at the Bridge when we played Dortmund will live long in our memories and serves as an important reminder of where we want to be.
Our women’s team has celebrated another astonishing season, winning the Double with an unprecedented fourth successive WSL title and third successive FA Cup. Whilst we just fell short in the Champions League, the team played in front of incredible crowds at Stamford Bridge and demonstrated their quality against the best European sides. There are not enough positive things to say about Emma Hayes, her backroom staff, and squad who have dealt with adversity, injury and Emma’s period of absence. Their character and hunger to win is second to none. We were also delighted to see Emma named the LMA’s WSL Manager of the Year and Sam Kerr winning the FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year award back-to-back.
For all the challenges of the past year, we are optimistic about the future. We are looking forward to welcoming Mauricio Pochettino as the head coach of our men’s team in July. We are building a modern scouting, talent identification, and recruiting infrastructure within our sporting department, led by Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, which will help us to identify and transform the squad around elite talent, a squad capable of consistently competing to win the Premier League, raise domestic cups and compete and win at the highest level in European football. We have also appointed Chris Jurasek as CEO to drive our business forward off the pitch, which in turn will make us more sustainable on the pitch.
The success we are aiming for is only possible with our supporters behind us. We are proud of the creation of our Fan Advisory Board, which will meet for the first time over this summer, and we are confident its new members will ensure you are at the heart of decision making at our club. We will continue to ensure your voices are heard as we look to the future.
For now, on behalf of the board and everyone at the club, thank you for your outstanding support. We hope you all have a good summer and look forward to welcoming you back to the Bridge in August.
Chelsea Ownership Group