Chelsea FC: Roman Abramovich a True Blue

Sergei MiledinAnalyst IDecember 8, 2008

Imagine going to a bar to watch your favorite team.

Now picture looking over your shoulder to find the owner of that team standing within arms reach of you, looking at the screen just as passionately as you are.

For those who visited Nevada Smiths in New York City on Saturday to watch Chelsea take on Bolton, the dream became a reality when owner Roman Abramovich arrived unannounced to cheer on his team.

Accompanied by girlfriend Dasha Zhukova and a security guard (he usually has an army of 40 at a time), Abramovich made his way down to the "dungeon" and sat by the end of the bar in the far corner.

The "dungeon" is a windowless room below the main floor at Nevada's where many Chelsea games are shown. Arsenal and Liverpool games were being broadcasted on the main floor, forcing the Blues fans, and eventually their beloved owner, downstairs.

It was peculiar to see a man who hides from the spotlight being amongst the heart of Chelsea stateside. Furthermore The Russian oligarch is very hush hush about everything he does leaving much up to the imagination about the soft spoken 42-year-old owner.

Despite the fact that word spread throughout the bar that Abramovich was in the house, many kept their distance until the 80th minute, as members of the New York Blues, the city's Official Chelsea Fan Club, let the man responsible for the recent Chelsea upswing be at peace and watch his team.

Having connections with more than just Chelsea, Abramovich also funds the Russian National Football Team and his former company Sibneft sponsored CSKA Moscow. He was named most influential person in Russian football in the Russian magazine Pro Sport in 2004 a year after his acquisition of Chelsea. 

In addition to his involvement in professional football, Abramovich sponsors a foundation in Russia called the National Academy of Football. The organization sponsors youth sports programs throughout the country and has constructed more than 50 football pitches in various cities and towns.

It also funds training programs for coaches, prints instruction materials, renovates sports facilities and takes top coaches and students on trips to visit professional football clubs in England, Holland and Spain.

Abramovich, just like any fan, showed disgust at missed shots and cheered for both goals. 

After the game, he posed with those who asked for a photo and waved off his security for anyone who approached him.

Abramovich even posed with the New York Blues sign(above) and led a rendition of Chelsea's most popular song "Carefree" before having his name chanted as he headed for the stairs.

The world's 15th richest man is the latest football celebrity that has graced Nevada Smiths, joining a list which includes Sir Alex Ferguson among countless others.

Located in Manhattan's East Village, Nevada Smiths is known as a football mecca boasting the tag-line "Where Football is Religion" and is home to American based supporters' clubs to teams such as AC Milan, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Barcelona, Chelsea, Hamburg SV, Inter, Lokomotiv Moscow, Manchester City, Manchester United, Olympique de Marseille, Newcastle, Portsmouth, PSG, Roma, and West Ham.