Ranking the Chelsea bidders by chance of f***ing the club up

Will Ford
Boehly Candy Johnson Chelsea

The bids are in and there’s some whittling going on with Chelsea still hopeful the sale of the club could go through by the end of the month.

From a position of very little knowledge, having dug just slightly below the surface on these characters, we’ve come up with a fatuous ranking of the potential new Chelsea owners, from least likely to f*** things up to most likely. 

Thankfully the Saudi Media Goup have already been told that they are not among the preferred bidders.

Again, we really have no idea. Think we’ve covered our backs now… Anyway, we start with ‘the good guys’…


6) Boehly/Wyss Consortium
Swiss bilionaire Hansjorg Wyss was first off the blocks, revealing he had been offered Chelsea before the sanctions were even imposed on Roman Abramovich.

Todd Boehly, Wyss’ partner in the consortium, is a man with a long-standing interest in Chelsea, having made a $3billion bid for the club back in 2019 that was rejected by Abramovich. He is also someone with a track record of success in terms of improving the performances and global appeal of his sports teams.

When Todd Boehly was asked how he would define a successful ownership of a team, having played a pivotal role in the rise of the LA Dodgers, in whom he owns a 20% stake, he replied: “You’re not really asking me that, are you? The more World Series we win, the more valuable a franchise it is, right?”

The Wyss/Boehly Consortium is also consorting with Jonathan Goldstein, CEO of investment firm Cain International, which sounds fine, but he’s a Tottenham fan and will undoubtedly double-cross the Blues and screw himself over for the good of the mighty Spurs.


5) Centricus Consortium
With rumours of Manchester United’s interest in Thomas Tuchel and the possible departure of director Marina Granovskaia, the Centricus Consortium’s promise to “maintain existing management” played well to the masses.

Centricus CEO Garth Ritchie and co-founder Nizar Al-Bassam are heading the bid, enlisting the help of Jonathan Lourie of Cheyne Capital and Bob Finch of Talis Capital.

The four Chelsea season ticket holders insist they will invest personally, also promising that “the people supporting us have deep pockets of capital”, and are said to be keen to focus on redeveloping Stamford Bridge to move towards sustainable running of the club.

It all sounds pretty good and they’ve also got a marvellously indirect tie with Chelsea. Lourie’s ex-wife Frida recently married Jamie Redknapp, who is – hello? – former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard’s cousin. Give them the keys.


4) Sir Martin Broughton and Lord Sebastian Coe
Broughton and Co, sorry, Broughton and Coe, are the public faces likely to be looked upon fondly by the UK government, with the majority of their financial partners keeping their involvement under wraps.

Vivek Ranadive, an Indian-born tech mogul and owner of NBA team the Sacramento Kings, has spoken out in support, as have Joshua Harris and David Blitzer, who both hold stakes in Crystal Palace. Harris and Blitzer would have to divest those stakes in order to pass the Premier League’s owners’ test, which could in turn delay the sale.

Ex-British Airways chairman Broughton ushered in Fenway Sports Group to take over Liverpool during his short spell as the Reds chairman in 2010, and their success since makes him an attractive suitor.

Coe’s experience in steering London’s 2012 Olympics is another tick in the box for the government, as is his Conservative peership, obviously.


He’s a Chelsea fan who says he’s going to give fellow supporters a say in the boardroom and is desperate for the club not to fall into the hands of a lifelong Spurs fan. He would win a smarm-off hands down.

But the way he’s scrabbled around for investment from multiple sources, reportedly adding to the bid after the Friday deadline, doesn’t scream prosperity for Chelsea Football Club. It’s absolutely not all about money, and if he comes good on giving the fans a proper say and can use his knowledge as a property developer to improve Stamford Bridge, that would be wonderful. But it is also quite a lot about money and they don’t have enough of it.


2) Woody Johnson
Johnson has ‘said some pretty sexist, racist things’, a source told CNN. He asked prior to a Black History Month event in 2018 if the audience would be ‘a whole bunch of black people’ and described International Women’s Day as a ‘feminist event’. He sounds swell.

He’s also overseen the decline of the New York Jets, leading fans to call for him to bring his near-two-decade-long ownership of the team to an end in 2017, with banners like ‘Dear Woody, sell the team’ displayed around the MetLife stadium.


1) The Ricketts family
It may have just been me, but my impression of the Ricketts was clouded by their first statement of intent to buy Chelsea. They referred to themselves as ‘The Ricketts Family’ rather than ‘the Ricketts family’. Semantics, maybe, but it immediately conveyed a sense of entitlement – that they see themselves as a goddamn American institution ready to rescue this English soccer team.

As patriarch Joe Ricketts’ racist emails re-emerged and #NoToRicketts trended on social media, Little Lord F*ckleroy Tom Ricketts insisted his father deeply regretted saying ‘Muslims are my enemy’ and assured Chelsea fans the old geezer would have nothing to do with running the club.

But apologies and assurances shouldn’t be enough for a club that, despite its many deplorable acts, has made a name for itself as a leader of inclusivity. As the elder of a fictional American family-run multinational might say: “F*ck off!

Brian Cox