Roman Abramovich's Message to Chelsea Fans Outlines His Ongoing Commitment
"We've had a great decade together and the club could not have achieved it all without you. Thanks for the support, here's to many more years of success."
It's taken 10 years, but Roman Abramovich has finally made a public address to Chelsea fans. Yet what his 28-word statement in the club's matchday program lacked in length, it more than made up for in significance.
Speaking on the 10th anniversary of his first Premier League game as Chelsea owner ahead of the clash with Hull City Tigers, it was perhaps the natural time for the Russian to break his silence.
That said, it was no less a surprise and cements his commitment to Chelsea and everything the club is hoping to achieve in the coming years.
Indeed, these are exciting times at Chelsea.
The atmosphere at Stamford Bridge on the Premier League's opening weekend harked back to a time when there was relative calm in West London. Jose Mourinho was back in the dugout, and before the referee blew his whistle to start Chelsea's season, the Portuguese was treated to an emotional standing ovation.
When Abramovich's image appeared on the big screen later during the 2-0 victory over Hull, the cheer that erupted around Stamford Bridge was just as loud, with Chelsea's oligarch owner smiling and giving the 41,000-strong crowd a wave.
After all we saw last season with the arrival of Rafa Benitez on the back of Roberto Di Matteo being fired, Abramovich would have no doubt been relieved.
The protests and jeers directed at the Spaniard were replaced with the Russian's name being sung frequently in a very public acknowledgement of all that he has done for Chelsea this past decade, notably bringing the "Special One" back to West London.
With the managerial casualties the Blues have experienced since 2003, Mourinho's reappointment signals Chelsea's intention to return to a model that saw them achieve so much success for the three seasons preceding 2007.
Mourinho and Chelsea are the perfect fit, after all—a manager and club who have enjoyed ruffling the feathers of Europe's establishment in recent years.
Bringing back the Portuguese was the one gift Chelsea fans needed from Abramovich to restore their faith. It's done that, yet if that was a message of intent, the Russian's statement—as short and sweet as it was—has done something much more important.
It's shown that he actually cares.
Abramovich has pumped over £1 billion into Chelsea on player wages, transfer fees and clearing the debt he inherited from Ken Bates. It's Chelsea fans who should be thanking him.
Instead, it's he who is acknowledging the role supporters can often play. It's a role money can't buy, one that creates the very fabric of a football club, and the Chelsea owner knows it.
Mourinho has been eager to stress this summer that he has returned to Chelsea a very different man, that time has changed him. It seems to have changed Abramovich, too, and the Blues can look forward to many more years of him backing their continued success.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes
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