Football commentator Flemming Toft paints a picture of the man with the heavy decisions in Chelsea after the firing of Frank Lampard.
He is visible even when he is not present. They rarely see him, but sense him all the time.
He is two in one and therefore difficult to manufacture. The at once withdrawn and outspoken multibillionaire who carelessly throws around money and football managers. His name is Roman Abramovich.
They have not seen him in London for more than two years. One can count on one hand how many official statements he has given since he bought the club in 2003, and on ESPN’s website they further state that one can count on one finger how many interviews he has given.
Yet he is the man who, from his hiding place, is always within sight because he breathes the high-paid tenants in the neck with his impulsive actions, which have now culminated in yet another firing in the middle of it all. This time, he beheaded Chelsea legend Frank Lampard.
It should not be about whether the premature termination is to thumbs up or down, but about a top management that has a very small tab of patience and an indifference to financial consequences. Because Roman Abramovich has so much money that he wallpapers with yachts for 3-4 billion apiece, a fleet that creates envy in British Airways and the most expensive addresses in Florida, Skt. Thomas, Southern France, Moscow and London. And these were just numbers from one hand.
And because the man – without saying very much, but apparently the “right” – is close to the most influential with political and economic power, so close that he himself is a part of them. He would rather not be seen on the polished floors, but he is there.
The firing of Frank Lampard has shaken the Chelsea hinterland because it was one of their own. With blood as blue as the club’s unmistakable colors, 429 matches and 13 trophies as a player. He became responsible for the Premier League team in 2019, while the London club was barred from two-year transfer windows due to illegal trade in players under 18 years of age.
Abramovich escaped more than ordinary air from the donor account, when FIFA again gave the green light in the summer window of 2020, and was bought in for almost two billion kroner.
Chelsea fans hung banners
Lampard had to unite Abramovich’s gold nuggets with a handful of young talents to bring Chelsea back to the top of football. Lampard with no real coaching experience. A few weeks before 2020 ran out, Chelsea were at the top with just three points up to Tottenham and Liverpool, the club still had a place in the Champions League knockout phase and stayed in the FA Cup. But then followed a new year and five lost games out of eight.
Not enough for a firing, several Chelsea supporters thought. But without knowing Abramovich, they knew what he was doing. So they hung up banners before the FA Cup meeting with Luton on Sunday: “In Frank we trust” – and below three words: “Then. Now. Forever”.
Too late. Notwithstanding that Chelsea won the match and thus continued in the FA Cup. Regardless of the good results in 2020 and regardless of the bad results in 2021, Abramovich had decided. Frank Lampard was nothing for the Russian oil billionaire.
He found out as he got closer to Lampard from a distance. Abramovich pays towering salaries and demands no talk of process. As it has been put: “He demands victories. But his leaders must not only be winners – they must also see and sound like winners”.
That’s what Frank Lampard thought. A character like Roman Abramovich: Secluded, quiet and always at the back of the showcase, never for sale. Not in the big headlines at least. The paradox that felled him.
Lampard and Abramovich are different, although they are similar
This is how a fellow journalist from London put it on Monday night: “Abramovich has come a long way with the conviction that Lampard did not do well. Their personalities were too different, even though they are similar in many ways. always the execution itself comes as a quick decision “.
The Chelsea owner has directly fired ten managers since 2003. This one at the quiet end, though there is a long way to go for the patience and short for the status of a particular legend in the club. Lampard has always known it could happen. That feeling is felt by all the players and leaders under Abramovich.
He bought the club in 2003 for £ 140 million. Claudio Ranieri was manager (and had brought in Frank Lampard in West Ham and Jesper Grønkjær in Ajax, among others), and Chelsea finished the season as number two in the Premier League after Arsenal and reached the semi-finals in the Champions League, where the defeat and disposition led to Ranieri’s dismissal immediately after the last match.
Jose Mourinho became the new coach and signed up as the most controversial but also most winning manager in Chelsea’s history. Initially, he was behind six trophies, including three Premier League titles and 64 home games in a row without defeat.
He was the man with so much winning confidence that he was called arrogant: “Do not call me arrogant, but I have won the Champions League (with Porto) – and I think I’m a Special One”, he said on arrival in London to the English press. That pleased Abramovich.