Abramovich takeover: Failed bidder relief in Chelsea owner warning

Will Ford
Woody Johnson

Woody Johnson has admitted it’s “disappointing” he’s out of the running to buy Chelsea, but also hinted at his relief at avoiding the “huge challenge” the new owners will face at Stamford Bridge.

Johnson was one of several interested parties to be told by Raine Group last week that they had not been shortlisted to continue to the next stage of the bidding process.

READ MORE: Top ten players who have gone backwards the most this season

The co-owner of the New York Jets is thought to have offered £2billion for the club, according to The Sun.

Bids from British property developer Nick Candy and from the Saudi Media Group were also rejected in the first round.

Chicago Cubs owners the Ricketts family, American Todd Boehly’s consortium, former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton, backed by Crystal Palace co-owners David Blitzer and Josh Harris, and Boston Celtics owner Stephen Pagliuca are the four bids left in the running to be the next owners after Roman Abramovich.

Johnson believes he could have done “pretty well” at Chelsea, but claimed the numbers were “so enormous” that the party to take the helm faces a “huge challenge”.

“My interest in Chelsea is I’m a fan of Chelsea,” Johnson said in a statement, reported by the New York Post. “When I was over there, I couldn’t be a fan of a particular team. I had to be diplomatic.

“I had to like all the teams, but we are Chelsea fans. It’s London’s team. The concept of New York and London, I thought was one that we could do pretty well with that. I thought it would be another interesting endeavour for us.”

He added: “Not getting Chelsea [is] disappointing, but the numbers have gotten so enormous that on one hand I’m disappointed and on the other hand, financially, I think it is going to be a huge challenge.”

The remaining bidders have been given until April 11 to submit their final proposals to Raine, before the group present the Premier League and the government with Chelsea’s preferred offer by April 18.

It’s hoped the change of ownership can be settled before the end of the month.

Prospective buyers have reportedly been told by Raine that they must commit at least £1bn to future investment in the club, with redevelopment of Stamford Bridge a priority.