10 Questions Chelsea Fans Would Love to Ask Roman Abramovich
Save for the odd public message here and there—including this season's note on the cover of the matchday program against Hull City Tigers—the intensely private Russian has had little to say.
Rather than reduce the sense of intrigue that surrounds him, however, Abramovich's silence has only acted to heighten it. And with the nature of life at a football club meaning much of his business is carried out in the public eye, Chelsea fans, let alone the press, unsurprisingly have a list of questions as long as your arm to ask him.
From the serious to the more light-hearted, a Q&A session with Chelsea's owner would certainly be entertaining.
Over the next 10 slides, Bleacher Report has imagined some questions Blues supporters would love to sit down with Abramovich and get answers to. Inevitably there will be others, so feel free to comment in the section below. Who knows, you may one day get the opportunity to ask the man himself.
How Much Time Will Jose Mourinho Get as Manager to Rebuild This Team?
No Chelsea manager has lasted as long under Abramovich as Jose Mourinho did during his first three-year spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Since Mourinho left in 2007, Carlo Ancelotti came closest when he remained for two seasons, but no other manager has lasted more than a year in the job.
With the Special One back in his spiritual home, Blues fans are hopeful he will be there for longer this time. The club has been heavily criticized for its high managerial turnover, but more importantly than that, fans know they require stability.
How long will Mourinho have to create another Chelsea legacy and deliver on this team's potential? Only one man can really answer that question.
Do You Pick the Team or Have You Ever?
With every uber rich and powerful owner of a football club comes the allegations in the media of the boss meddling with first-team affairs, overruling management to ensure the players he wants to see in the team are playing every week.
So, Mr. Abramovich, do you pick Chelsea's starting XI or have you ever?
Who Has Been Your Favorite Manager at Chelsea?
In 10 years, Abramovich has employed nine different managers.
It's quite the list, with some of Europe's biggest and most respected names on it.
To refresh your memory, Chelsea's managers—whether full time or on an interim basis—in the Abramovich era have been:
• Claudio Ranieri
• Jose Mourinho
• Avram Grant
• Luiz Felipe Scolari
• Guus Hiddink
• Carlo Ancelotti
• Andre Villas-Boas
• Roberto Di Matteo
• Rafa Benitez
Theoretically, with Mourinho returning for a second spell this term, it makes the list an even 10. But for all the personalities who have passed through Stamford Bridge, who has been Abramovich's favorite? Who is the one manager he enjoyed discussing tactics with most? The one who really appealed to him?
How Much Have You Actually Paid in Compensation to the Managers You Have Fired?
Following on from our previous question, such has been the turnover of manager's during Abramovich's time as Chelsea owner, the compensation bill must represent the GDP of a small country.
OK, so talkSPORT's estimate of £69.1 million in 2011—which it must be noted came before the dismissals of Villas-Boas and Di Matteo—is a little less dramatic than that, but it still represents a hefty payout for getting rid of managers deemed surplus.
More recent figures from the Daily Mail suggest this how now risen to over £72 million.
Figures fluctuate across the media, so without Chelsea fans knowing exactly what has been paid out to fire managers at will, can Abramovich enlighten us?
Does Player Power Really Play Such a Big Role at Chelsea?
Sticking with the theme of managerial changes for a while longer, whenever a coach has been relieved of his duties at Chelsea it has often followed reports of a player revolt.
Villas-Boas succumbed after he lost the faith of players in the dressing room, according the Daily Mail. It was a similar story with Scolari in 2009, who reportedly told O Globo newspaper (via The Guardian) that some players didn't accept his coaching techniques:
The real owners of football at the moment are the players. The coach, in most European clubs, has no strength to contradict them.
The people sacked are always the coaches. The main players already know this. That was my problem at Chelsea. [Didier] Drogba, [Michael] Ballack and [Petr] Cech did not accept my training methods or my demands.
That players are believed to hold so much power is alarming for fans and also creates a poor image of the club to those outside.
Given his vast wealth and the power he maintains elsewhere in his life, does Abramovich allow his players to be so controlling at his club?
What Has Been Your Biggest Regret at Chelsea?
"Regrets, I've had a few/But then again, too few to mention," Frank Sinatra famously sang in his smash-hit song "My Way."
Whether you are billionaire owner of a football club or simply a hardworking fan paying to watch your heroes every week, we can all echo Sinatra's sentiments.
There have been some major decisions, some inspired and others equally coming with a shade of folly tagged to the end of them, during Abramovich's 10-year reign at Chelsea.
Of all those that have passed, however—Mourinho's initial departure, the signing of Andriy Shevchenko—which does Abramovich regret the most?
Why Do You Not Give Interviews?
With so many unanswered questions and intrigue surrounding him, a public interview with Abramovich would help clear up many things and bring him closer to Chelsea supporters.
It's understandable the Russian likes to maintain a low profile, yet he is a public figure, and in the 21st century—in an age of social networks and rapidly changing publicity strategies—it's almost unheard of for any known person to remain silent as Abramovich has.
He doesn't even need to speak with outside the club. Chelsea have their own in-house TV station which is more than capable enough of broadcasting an interview with him to outline future plans and put to bed some of the outstanding issues surrounding the club.
How Close Did You Come to Buying Tottenham Hotspur?
Chelsea fans may not like hearing it, but prior to his purchase of Chelsea, it is widely accepted Abramovich considered buying their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
On the weekend when the Blues and Spurs face each other for the first time in 2013-14, this little bit of history has resurfaced on the agenda as supporters look to gain the slightest of moral victories.
In truth, it's Chelsea fans who win every time. After all, it was their club Abramovich decided to purchase, and since then they have become England's most successful team in the past decade.
The thought alone of Abramovich choosing North London over West is enough to send the spine of most fans cold, but the question must be put to the Chelsea owner: Just how close were you to buying Spurs?
When Will Chelsea Be Leaving Stamford Bridge?
It's been their home for well over a century, but the requirements of any major club in the modern era mean Stamford Bridge is becoming a burden for Chelsea with each passing season.
With a capacity just over 40,000, Chelsea's rivals in England and Europe are regularly selling out their much larger stadia on a weekly basis and, with it, bringing in much-needed revenues that far outstrip the Blues' earning power.
In that sense, Chelsea can't compete, but with the financial backing of Abramovich, they are in a unique position.
Financial Fair Play rules are beginning to take hold, however, so with a bigger stadium helping balance the books, Chelsea will be much better placed to compete with Europe's elite.
The club have already looked at possibilities of moving, with Battersea Power Station one potential location, although their bid for the site wasn't given approval.
Since that bid in July 2012, we haven't heard much else. So when will the move happen, and more importantly, how will it be funded?
Chelsea were burnt by stadium developments in the 1970s. They don't want to find themselves in that position once more.
How Committed to the Club Are You?
Given the millions he continues to plow into Chelsea, it seems like an absurd question to ask, but how committed is Abramovich to Chelsea's future?
He has brought unprecedented levels of success to the Blues, so at the back of their minds, fans must have a slight concern as to how long Abramovich will remain.
Sure, if he does grow tired of life in the spotlight as the owner of a football club, he will look to seek some form of return on his considerable investment. With that, supporters can expect an equally wealthy owner to come in.
But one look at Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala can show the pitfalls of an owner growing disinterested or having a change of circumstances that means the motivation to fund vast salaries and transfer fees is diluted.
Anzhi owner Suleyman Remchukov pulled the plug this summer, reducing the club's budgets considerably. With the announcement came what can only be described as a fire sale, with Chelsea one of the many clubs benefiting as they snapped up Willian and Samuel Eto'o.
What would happen to Chelsea if Abramovich did the same? It's why Chelsea fans will always be eager to hear what his plans are for the future.
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