Chelsea: From Greyhound Racing to Britain’s Most Expensive Signing

Chelsea broke the British transfer record when they paid $120m for a single player in January 2023. The Blues are one of the richest clubs in world soccer, but that has not always been the case. How have the London club gone from humble beginnings to the top of soccer’s rich list?

Stamford Bridge: Premier League’s Oldest Stadium

Although Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge is not the biggest or best, it is the oldest ground in England’s top division. The Bridge has real character and history like no other. Nowadays, you will not find greyhound racing at Premier League grounds, but there are tracks all over Britain such as Doncaster, Oxford and Romford.

The UK’s biggest race is the annual Greyhound Derby, which takes place at Towcester this year. Punters looking to bet on greyhound racing will be glad to know that Fromposttopillar and Romeo Command are the early joint favorites at +1600 to win the 2023 edition.

There are plans to extend Stamford Bridge into a state-of-the-art 60,000-seater stadium, though that might not be fully complete until 2030. Nevertheless, Chelsea have made the Bridge a fortress over the years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The Abramovic Era

Before Roman Abramovic arrived, Chelsea were just another hard-working London club trying to make it in the top flight. They were English champions back in 1955 and picked up FA Cup wins in 1970, 1997 and 2000, but their Russian owner put them on the map.

Chelsea had instant success under Abramovich, with Jose Mourinho guiding the club to their first Premier League title in 2005. The Blues went on to win four more titles in the Abramovic era, lifting the trophy in 2006, 2010, 2015 and 2017.

The Londoners also won the UEFA Champions League on two occasions. UEFA’s main competition is the biggest prize on offer in European soccer, and Chelsea won their first in 2012. Their most recent Champions League triumph was back in 2021, as they beat fellow Premier League side Manchester City 1-0 in a memorable final in Porto.

Boehly Takes the Reins

American businessman and investor Todd Boehly successfully led a consortium to buy Chelsea for a deal worth over $5b in 2022, which ended Abramovic’s 19-year ownership of the London club. Boehly has plans to turn the Blues into the biggest side in world soccer.

The American has had an open cheque book during his time in London so far. Boehly has spent a staggering $700m on new players since arriving, bringing some of the world’s best players to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are having a season to forget under Graham Potter as they languish in mid-table, but they will no doubt be a force next season and beyond. Despite recently breaking the British transfer record, the Blues’ spending will not stop there. A busy summer is expected at Stamford Bridge when this season ends, as Boehly is set to add even more firepower to the squad.

Abramovic certainly paved the way for Chelsea’s modern success, but Boehly is set to take the Blues to the next level. It will be very interesting to see how far the London outfit will go under the American business tycoon.

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