I was never a fan of soccer, but I did sometimes keep up with MLS matches. Then, in 2004, I saw Chelsea F.C., on their pre-season tour, against my hometown team, D.C. United. Immediately, I was hooked on Chelsea's style of play. I kept up with Chelsea during the 2004-2005 season, and found myself becoming one of their fans.
It was a while before I figured out that, at this time, Chelsea were known as the best team in the world by many, and that they were probably the most hated team in England. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner are in the same boat.
Both are know for "buying the league" because they can afford to spend ridiculous amounts of money to bring in talent that they believe can win the league. As a result, the Yankees and Chelsea are two of the most hated teams on the planet. From the standpoint of a Chelsea fan, of course I am going to be elated when I hear that Chelsea has signed Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko, and Ashley Cole in the same summer transfer window.
If you are a fan of say, Wigan Athletic, and your team has the amount of money that Chelsea does, you would be happy to hear the same news too. However, since this is not always the case, Chelsea is accused of "buying the league" because other teams cannot compete with the players they have.
I have never accused any team in any sport of using their funds to buy the league. Chelsea can buy Kaka, Ronaldinho, Christiano Ronaldo, Fabio Cannavaro, and Thierry Henry, and still finish behind Manchester United and Liverpool. You can buy players that you think may help you win the league, but, at the end of the day, it's all about chemistry.
Before Chelsea bought Ballack and Shevchenko, they were favorites to win a third straight Barclays Premier League title. Then with the departure of Damien Duff and William Gallas, and Didier Drogba having a breakout season, and not wanting to share the ball with Shevchenko, it was apparent that Chelsea did not have the chemistry needed to win the Premier League.
In fact, they haven't won a title since. The same goes for the Yankees. They have Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, and many other high-priced veterans. Can you tell me how many World Series rings this has "bought"? On the 2008 list of billionaires, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is ranked the sixteenth richest man in the world.
In a sport like soccer, where there is no salary cap, I believe that he has a right to by anyone that he thinks may help him win the league. If Chelsea does happen to win the league this year, then it would turn out that Anderson Deco and Jose Boswinga are worth the cash he put up for them.
If not, then I guess he has just wasted his money, and fans of lesser teams can laugh at another disappointing attempt from Chelsea to buy the Premiership title. In the end, however, it is up to the owners of professional sports teams to decide how they want to spend their money, not fans of Leeds United who are mad that they are in the third best league of English football, and can't afford the likes of Rio Ferdinand anymore.
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