Survival hope for Chelsea? Blues fan and billionaire bidder Nick Candy promises a lifeline loan to help them see out this season – as he prepares to lodge a bid in excess of £2bn along with other interested parties
- Property developer Nick Candy has offered to lend Chelsea money to help out
- He is one of half-a-dozen interested parties currently preparing bids for the club
- Chelsea’s finances have taken a hit since Roman Abramovich was sanctioned
- Their ability to complete the season without going into administration is in doubt
Property developer Nick Candy has offered to lend Chelsea money to help them through their cash-flow crisis.
The British billionaire is one of half-a-dozen interested parties preparing bids in excess of £2billion for the club, whose ability to complete the season without going into administration is in doubt after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned last week.
Abramovich has regularly injected funds into the club to enable them to compete at the highest level, with his loans to Chelsea totalling £1.5bn over his 19-year ownership. But that is no longer permitted under the terms of the Government licence granted last week after the Russian was sanctioned.
With Chelsea already having received this season’s Premier League television money, and all their sponsorship and ticket revenue and the Premier League and Champions League merit payments not due until the summer, there are genuine concerns inside the club over whether they will be able to continue operating all season.
In addition, Chelsea cannot receive money for match tickets which have not already been sold, future gate receipts from FA Cup games or money from merchandise sold via the club shop.
Chelsea’s biggest challenge will be funding their £28million monthly wage bill until the Government licence expires on May 31, with the next two pay-roll dates falling on April 1 and May 1.
British tycoon Nick Candy has offered to lend Chelsea money to see out the rest of the season
In a statement released before attending yesterday’s game against Newcastle, Candy made clear that any short-term funding would be contingent on Government approval — and repeated his desire to buy the club.
‘We welcome the news that the sale of the club will be conducted quickly,’ said a spokesperson for Candy. ‘This is a reassuring development for fans after a week of great uncertainty. If the club requires money to operate in the short term, Mr Candy would be happy to help ensure it has the necessary financial resources, subject to Government approval.’
Candy also pledged to push for a fan representative to join Chelsea’s board if his bid is successful.
The club have invited selected fans to attend board meetings since last July in response to the criticism they received from supporters for signing up to the abortive European Super League, but offering a formal position on the board to a supporter would represent a considerable departure.
‘Mr Candy cares hugely about the future of the club and believes that the fans and the community are central to its continued success,’ his spokesperson added. ‘Should his bid be successful, Mr Candy would advocate for a fan representative to join the board so supporters become part of the decision-making process.’
Dan Silver of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust said they want to get ‘someone on board who will veto any crazy moves’ made at the club after a meeting of the fans group yesterday.
‘This is one of the most important moments in our history’ he added. ‘Mr Abramovich has gone, we have to focus on the football club moving forward. We have to focus on the best possible owners so we don’t have a repeat in the future.’
Candy (centre) was at Stamford bridge to watch Chelsea beat Newcastle on Sunday
Chelsea’s finances have taken a huge hit since Roman Abramovich (above) was sanctioned
Sir Martin Broughton — the former Liverpool chairman who is negotiating with several financial backers about tabling his own bid — warned yesterday that going into administration was a real danger for Chelsea, and one he claimed would wipe £500m off the club’s value.
The 74-year-old former British Airways chairman, who joined Liverpool 12 years ago with a mandate to sell the club and negotiated the deal which brought current owners Fenway Sports Group to Anfield, is in talks — with rival bids being prepared by Todd Boehly, the LA Dodgers baseball team’s part-owner, and Josh Harris, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball side.
‘Most of all, the Government must prevent the club going into administration,’ said Broughton.
‘That would destroy at least £500m in value, which means £500m less going to the victims of the war. Surely, after all the brilliant efforts of the British public in raising some £200m in donations, no Government wants that on their hands as an unintended consequence of their actions.’