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Board moves as Chelsea’s new owners begin to put plans in place

BY PAUL LAGAN
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Chelsea’s new owners will find running the club an exciting and frustrating venture in equal measures – contrasting emotions that Blues fans also experience.

The Americans, they come over here and take our club – minus the club name and pitch of course, which they don’t own – will be settling down in the plush boardroom at SW6, all eager and focused on their plans.

It’s a bit like the first day at a new school for them. Sure, they have plenty of experience of handling American sporting outfits. But none in dealing with the Premier League, European football in general and, frankly, top level football at all.

But the transferable skills which top executives hawk around different industries should stand Todd Boehly and co in good stead.

First of all is removing the old guard which was so closely associated with now disgraced previous owner Roman Abramovich. Out go chairman Bruce Buck, quickly followed by sporting director Marina Granovskaia. She will hang around until the end of this transfer window as her name is already on a number of contract negotiation forms.

Co-owner Boehly will take on both roles, although it’s expected a new sporting director will be brought in in due course.

One man looking to vie for that slot will be Petr Cech. The multi-lingual former Chelsea goalkeeper is close to the boardroom activity under Granovskaia and has been active in a few transfer deals – Eduouard Mendy is a prime example. Chief executive Guy Lawrence is also expected to exit Stamford Bridge.

How far the changes will filter down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge remains to be seen.

Much will depend on how much Boehly wants to take on, and how quickly he forms firm relationships with heads of departments.

The new board will include  Behdad Eghbali and Jose E Feliciano, co-controlling owners of Chelsea FC, and co-founders and managing partners of Clearlake Capital;  Mark Walter, co-owner of Chelsea FC, co-founder and chief executive of Guggenheim Partners, owner of Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Sparks;  Hansjorg Wyss, co-owner of Chelsea FC, founder of the Wyss Foundation, Jonathan Goldstein, co-owner of Chelsea FC, co-founder and CEO of Cain International, Barbara Charone, director and co-founder of MBC PR;  Lord Daniel Finkelstein, columnist and former executive editor of The Times, and James Pade, partner and managing director of Clearlake Capital, the company that put up most of the £4.5billion to buy the club.

Boehly said: “As custodians of Chelsea FC, we now begin executing our long-term vision and plan for the club, creating an outstanding experience for its passionate, loyal fans, and continuing to challenge for top honours in line with Chelsea FC’s decorated history.

“Working together, side-by-side, we are firmly committed to winning, both on and off the pitch.”

Eghbali and Feliciano, said: “As the new era of the Boehly-Clearlake ownership begins, we are excited to build a championship organisation and grow Chelsea FC as a global platform.

“We look forward to backing Thomas Tuchel, Emma Hayes and their teams, and will provide proactive, unbending support to make Chelsea’s loyal fans and our partners proud.”

It’s understood that Boehly ignored Granovskaia’s advice and gave the green-light for striker Romelu Lukaku to go on loan to Inter Milan.

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