Best of Boehly: PL All-Stars, relegation play-offs, credit for KDB and Salah, Chelsea in 4-4-3

News Desk
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly looks frustrated

Todd Boehly has made plenty of headlines since buying Chelsea. Some of the American’s ideas aren’t all that bad. Others may need a re-think.

Here are a few of his best lines since taking over at Stamford Bridge…


Premier League All-Stars

“Ultimately I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports, and really starts to figure out, why don’t we do a tournament with the bottom four sports teams, why isn’t there an All-Star game?

“People are talking about more money for the pyramid; in the MLB All-Star game this year we made $200m from a Monday and a Tuesday. So we’re thinking we could do a North versus South All-Star game for the Premier League, for whatever the pyramid needed quite easily. Everyone likes the idea of more revenue for the league. I think there’s a real cultural aspect, I think evolution will come.”

This is the comment that really got people talking. Some immediately started picking their teams, others clutched their pearls amid much twisting of knickers.

Is it really such a bad idea? In theory, it could be brilliant. The practicalities, though, make it a virtual non-starter. The schedule is tight enough already even when there aren’t mid-season World Cups and monarchs to be mourned. And American sports are more suited to exhibition events. Because of the fear of injuries, the Premier League version would be played at walking pace with tackling if not forbidden then certainly frowned upon.

Some of the other All-Star events could be transferable, though. Who doesn’t want to see Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale go hell for leather in a Goalie Wars battle? Let’s have the MLS-style skills tests, and perhaps bring back some old classics, like the Rumbelows Sprint Challenge.

Rio Ferdinand, presumably, doesn’t think Boehly was being ‘incredibly arrogant’


Six ideas the Premier League could introduce for a Boehly-inspired All-Star spectacle


Relegation play-offs

“The economics of going into the Championship are materially different. When you go into the Championship those numbers fall off a cliff. So there’s no one thinking about tanking, and those relegation games are some of the highest broadcast games.”

That was Boehly expanding on his earlier comment about ‘a tournament with the bottom four’ while explaining how football, with relegation, differs from American sports, where teams can ‘tank’ during failing seasons to secure higher draft picks.

Again, it won’t happen, and nor should it in the format that Boehly suggested in what seemed like a throwaway line. But the idea of a relegation play-off isn’t that preposterous.

We used to do it in England when the Premier League was plain old Division One. The 16th-placed team in the top-flight played in play-offs against three teams from the second tier. That structure would perhaps be more palatable to Championship clubs, rather than the system they use in Germany, among other places, where the third-bottom Bundesliga side plays the third-placed Bundesliga II team over two legs for a place in the top flight.


Taking credit for Salah and KDB

“The challenge that Chelsea has right now – or one of them – is that when you have 18, 19 and 20-year-old superstars you can loan them out to other clubs but you put their development in someone else’s hands.

“So I think that our goal is to make sure that we can show pathways for our young superstars to get onto the Chelsea pitch while getting them real game time.

“And to me the way to do that is through another club, somewhere in a really competitive league in Europe.

“And because of Brexit you also have to think about, “Well, how am I going to get these boys into England because of Brexit?”

“So we need GBEs [Governing Body Endorsements], which are basically points that you get for playing in different leagues.

“So the more points you get, the more caps you play, the more national teams that you have, it’s easier to immigrate. So our job is to figure out how to put that platform all together so that we can get our 18, 19, 20-year-olds.

“Because we have one of the best academies in the world. So if you look at what our academy has developed, our academy has developed Mo Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, more recently Tammy Abraham, Reece James, Mason Mount, Trevoh Chalobah.”

Again, Boehly makes a reasonable point about Chelsea’s academy and the pathway to the first team. Then he goes and spoils it all with some horse sh*t about Salah and De Bruyne.

If anyone beyond Boehly needs this pointing out, Salah signed for Chelsea, aged 21, from Basel for £12million. De Bruyne played 113 times in Genk’s first team before joining Chelsea as a 20-year-old for £7million.

Salah Chelsea


Chelsea will be playing four-four-f*cking-three
This one isn’t a direct quote from Boehly but the suggestion that he and co-owner Behdad Eghbali sat down with Thomas Tuchel to suggest some ideas, among them that Chelsea play in a new formation.

As you would expect, Chelsea moved to deny the 4-4-3 rumour – but it tallied with what Rio Ferdinand had heard.

But Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel: “There’s hands on and there’s too much. From what I hear they were getting their noses too much into the tactical and technical things that would normally be left to a manager.

“They’re the kind of stories that I’m hearing as well. I’ve heard those stories, they’re trying to influence even player selection and when you get to that point you can start to understand why a manager would have some pushback.”