I’ve just returned from my local computer Games shop and can’t wait to open the bag and pull out the latest version of ‘Football Owner 2003’ the relatively new game from PC.
‘Football Owner 2003’ is a cleverly devised trip into the ultimate football fantasy and gives people like me who once dreamed of having a better life back in those harsh days when I lived with my adopted family in the cold, barren wastes of the frozen tundra in Northern Russia, the chance to live a dream. I whack the new game into my PC and soon I am not only owning but running my own top football team. I can write off debts, invest in Europe’s top players and if the manager is not doing the biz I can get a better one. This is of course something to enjoy, a leisure pursuit, a recreation and for once in my life I’m not going to worry about wheeling and dealing or having to make a profit. When I’m playing ‘Football Owner 2003’ I don’t have to look over my shoulder to see if there’s some dark shadowy figure from my past or deal with any of the murky legal cases I have negotiated in my meteoric rise to a position of financial power and security. I have after all been assessed as the 50th wealthiest man in the world. No, I’m stepping into the arena of openness and accountability and here I can play with something new, fresh, stress free and fun.
Soon ‘the game’ allows to me to walk round the pitch to meet the fans. Suddenly I’m a local hero and the fans are singing songs to remind me of my home country and obviously trying to make me feel welcome. The dream is becoming a reality and I’m realising there may be more to this game than I first thought.
….. The years have rolled by now and I’m waiting for the latest ‘Football Owner 2011’ to arrive in the post, I ordered it on-line. The world has moved on and so have I. I still play the game, although as I’ve lost a few ‘bill’ during the recent global recession I don’t feel I have quite the time to commit to it as much as I did, I think I’m a better player than I was. I’m trying hard not to keep changing managers when things aren’t going right and I’m trying to balance the books better, since they introduced the new Euro rules into the game which are a pain by the way. The ‘grass roots’ section is tricky too where you have to try and develop a youth programme and bring young players through into your team but as I won the FA Youth Cup I must be getting that right.
All in all I reckon I’ve done very well in the game, won 3 titles, 5 cups and got to a European Cup Final. Thats the one I’d still really like to win and also like to update the stadium but the main thing I’ve learned is however well you do, your fan base seem to remain unhappy, which is either an unfortunate glitch or a clever design facet sewn into the game to make it more true to life.
……Roman Abramovich has been owner of Chelsea Football Club since the summer of 2003 and in the eight seasons he has played the ‘Owner Game’ he has had six managers, spent over £600,000,000 on the club. In that time he has improved the infrastructure, training complex and facilities immeasurably whilst Chelsea have remained consistently a top ‘two’ or ‘three’ club.
Of all the foreign owners of the Premier League Football Clubs Roman Abramovich has retained the strongest commitment to his club, still attends most home games building a family home nearby and visiting the home dressing room after many home games. Despite a continued applied and suggested aura of mystery that is attributed to him there is no evidence that he has ever behaved incorrectly to players, staff or fans as he has piloted Chelsea Football club through an unprecedented era of success whilst making no apparant accountable personal financial gain from ownership.
There is no reason why any Chelsea fan, indeed any football fan, should have anything less than ultimate respect for a guy who obviously has enjoyed and lived, as would we all, the ultimate football fantasy – owning your own football club.
Our club has benefitted, Ken Bates and Leeds United have benefitted, the game here in England and abroad has benefitted. Claudio Rainieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Phillipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Ray Wilkins etc etc have benefitted from his money and interest. Whatever his history may hold I cannot say and few can, as there is at present, no concrete evidence that has proved him guilty. Perhaps he has been lucky BUT as far as his dealings with Chelsea Football Club are concerned we have all certainly benefitted!
It may have been just a game to him when he took us over but the guy has shown he’s prepared to move and learn and stick. He’s stayed with it and ‘us’ while the media and the UK public have shown constant xenophobic hostility, bordering on ethnic prejudice, toward him. …So hey, Chelsea fans dont knock the guy while you enjoy his success. For me, as a football guy he’s definitely earned ultimate respect. I reckon he’s also a richer guy not poorer, for having started out in a fantasy that become a true reality the day he found out he had a true blue heart! ! eden bray written 26.01.11