Roman Abramovich wanted to buy Regents Park for Chelsea’s training ground reveals Ken Bates
Roman Abramovich wanted to buy Regent’s Park for Chelsea’s training ground after taking a helicopter trip around London, reveals Ken Bates… before the Russian oligarch was told it was owned by the Queen!
- The former Chelsea owner sold the club to Abramovich in 2003 for £140 million
- The owner of the club for 19 years instead invested in the Blues’ Cobham ground
- Bates also shared that discussions over buying the club took only two days
Ken Bates has revealed that former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich identified Regent’s Park as a potential training ground during discussions about buying the west London club.
The former Chelsea owner, who purchased the club for £1 in 1982 and sold it to the oligarch in 2003 for £140 million, was quick to rule out the possibility, citing the park’s royal ownership.
Regent’s Park has been owned by the Crown since Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monastries in the 1500s.
In an interview with The Telegraph, the former Chelsea owner shared that Abramovich had thought that Regent’s Park ‘looked like a good park’ after viewing it from the air.
Bates noted that ‘Abramovich had hired a helicopter for a trip around London.
Ken Bates (left) sold Chelsea to Roman Abramovich (centre) in 2003
Regents Park is located closer to Stamford Bridge than Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham
The late Queen Elizabeth II’s ownership of the park was identified as a stumbling block by Bates, as the Crown has owned the land since the 1500s
‘He saw the park and said: “That looks like a good park. Let’s buy that for the training ground.”
‘But he got told “I don’t think you will get that. That’s Regent’s Park and it’s owned by the Queen.”‘
Abramovich chose to invest instead in Chelsea’s existing facilities in Cobham in Surrey, where the club trains to this day.
Bates went on to say that he had no way of anticipating how much Abramovich would spend at the club during his 19-year ownership, stating that he ‘didn’t know how much he was worth.’
Abramovich is estimated to have spent over £2 billion on the club, as per ESPN, and £90 million alone on managerial turnover, with the Russian magnate watching 13 managers come and go as owner of the west London club.
Bates reported that his discussions with Abramovich about the sale of the club took place over just two days.
Abramovich (pictured after Chelsea’s 2022 Club World Cup win) owned the club for 19 years
Discussions were held first at The Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair in the evening, and concluded the following morning at Stamford Bridge.
As per Bates’ interview, Abramovich was first interested in Manchester United, with the former Blues chairman adding: ‘He had been in Manchester, and wanted to buy Manchester United, so when Chelsea came up in conversation, he bought the club.’
Following outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, sanctions were placed on Abramovich that forced his decision to part with the Blues.
Chelsea’s current owners, Todd Boehly-led Clearlake Capital, purchased the club in a £4.5bn deal.
Source of data and images: dailymail