Mr Abramovich, the new stadium, Wembley, and stuff.

By The Arsenal Speculator

You will of course have heard about Mr Abramovich and his trouble with getting a visa which would allow him to live in England.   The general consensus seems to be for the moment that this could be part of a broader process of checking by UK banks to see if they have got any illegal immigrants on their books.

The problem is that when the 2016 Immigration Act came before Parliament a number of people ranging from MPs, to those working in immigration and on to the banks, all said that the new process could end up being wrapped up in errors and long delays.

There are significant fines and even penalties of imprisonment for any organisation that allows an illegal immigrant to be a customer, and so the banks etc now have to err on the side of caution – and have been doing so since January this year, taking longer and longer to check each non-EU citizen to see if he or she has been up to no good.

If anyone is suspected of being an illegal immigrant then the financial institution has to tell the Home Office, which can then freeze all the bank accounts of the individual concerned – until such time as he or she gets matters sorted.  The temptation on the banks to tip off their customer first must be quite large.

The Home Office has said it is being very kindly in this regard, ensuring that anyone who does have their bank account frozen can access it for basic living expenses.  So if this is what is happening to Mr Abramovich then we need not worry too much – he will be ok for a daily sandwich and cappuccino.

Now of course Untold has no particular insight into this matter, but just for the sake of passing the time of day, we began to wonder if this issue had any link to Mr Abramovich’s issues concerning the renewal of the Chelsea ground.

At one stage it was suggested that last season Chelsea would start work on the ground, with the team playing elsewhere.   Then Tottenham popped along and rented Wembley, and no more was heard.

In March 2017 the popular press suggested an opening date of August 2021.  In November that year the event was put back until 2024 – at the earliest with work on Stamford Bridge starting in the autumn of this year.  But that clearly isn’t on.  In January 2018 the Telegraph told us everything was in place for work to start – but again there was no movement.

And there is no sign of a deal with Wembley for next season or the season after for Chelsea home games to be played there.

But, and remember this is all the utmost speculation, Fulham’s owner has put in a bid to buy Wembley.  Supposing that deal goes through and then the owner decides to plough loadsofmoney into Fulham, and take them to Wembley, making it their permanent home.

Now that might sound preposterous, but it was pretty much how Chelsea themselves started in 1905 – they got hold of the stadium, applied to join the Southern League, and had their application blocked by Tottenham on the grounds that there were already too many London clubs in the Southern League.

You might recall that Tottenham attempted to block Arsenal’s move to north London in 1913 (even though, as Henry Norris expected, the move would increase the home crowds of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Clapton Orient).   And just as they were ultimately to lose out in 1913 so Tottenham didn’t get what they wanted ein 1905 as Chelsea were granted a place in the Football League, even though they had no staff, no players and just a ground.

If Wembley is not available whenever Chelsea want to move, the club could of course go elsewhere for three years to five years.  Twickenham has been mentioned, and indeed so was West Ham’s state aided stadium.  And West Ham could certainly do with a tenant to for even though they are paying only a very modest rent, they don’t seem to have a huge amount of money to spend on players.  Or maybe simply they don’t have the money to spend on the right players.

In fact West Ham are currently about £100m in debt – a debt that by and large has to be repaid in 2020.  So Chelsea as a tenant for three years could be helpful.

Where it goes, I have no idea, but we shall see.



19 Replies to “Mr Abramovich, the new stadium, Wembley, and stuff.”

  1. Just a couple of thoughts; if Chelski did in fact choose to rent the Tax payers stadium, would those rental fees not be payable to the freeholder rather than existing tenant? An opportunity perhaps to make up for past mistakes and to recoup a substantially larger rent? May be extremely embarrassing and difficult charging Chelski 10’s of millions p.a. when the existing tenants pay c. £2.5 million p.a.

    Secondly, were Abramovich’s assets were indeed frozen, what impact would this have on their summer plans, firing/hiring a manager, player purchases/sales, etc.?

  2. Without knowing what the lease says It’s impossible to know who pays what to who when it comes to the TaxPayer Stadium. WHU may control the possibility of ground sharing there and be allowed to sub-let, but equally they may not be allowed to sub-let and therefore not be the recipient of any fee, however even then they may insist on a fee if their agreement is definitive to any deal being done. We may find out one day…

  3. Pity the poor ground staff if West Ham AND Chelsea share the same pitch.
    (And pity the away sides who would have to play on it!) 😉

  4. David Ornstein
    BREAKING: Arsenal to appoint Unai Emery as new manager. Thorough process produced 46yo Spaniard as unanimous choice. Available after leaving #PSG (1 Lg1 title, 4 cups), previously Sevilla (3 EL wins), not fluent English. Announcement + press conference likely later this week #AFC


  5. Unai Emery is our new manager. I must say I’m not exactly overwhelmed with that choice but Mr Emery will have my full support. His record with Sevilla was fantastic as he won Europa League three times in a row (which is more European trophies than Arsenal have won in entire history). His PSG spell…well, let’s not talk about it.

    Welcome, hopefully you’ll repeat the success of the previous manager.

  6. Josif, Isn’t his record in terms of trophies at PSG better than Pep’s at Man City , no shame there just ridiculous expectations.

    Emery is a top class manager and I think he would be a great choice. To follow Wenger and not have a post Ferguson Manc style disaster is the priority and for me that requires someone with solid experience of managing and winning trophies, whether or not you have more money than the rest of the clubs in the league.

  7. Is this not the guy PSG just fired? Do we have to put up with this? Is there any logic to this? If someone in the house can make any sense out of this AFC Board’s choice I would like to listen. For now I am voting ?

  8. Roll on Arsenal – Unai Emery welcome to the poisoned chalice that is the Managers job under Stan Kronke. There will be many (like me) who support you as you are the manager of the Greatest Football Club in the world. There will be those who know more than you despite having nothing in their brains. You will soon learn that the PGMOL are a select group of specialists in selective vision & will get your finances tampered with should you comment.

    Good luck.


  9. Santi, Thank you for playing for Arsenal. We all miss you. Our hearts go with you for a speedy recovery and return to full fitness. 🙂

  10. Right now I’m just glad it’s not arteta. Emery has a good record at Seville. But his record at psg leaves a lot to be desired. For me, an underwhelming appointment. But it could have been worse and I do hope he feels sufficiently motivated to restore the motivation that made psg pick him in the first place

  11. A 2year deal is sensible, asses after 2years, determine if we’ve met or are heading towards meeting short term targets, then decide on the way forward

  12. Surely at PSG Emery won the treble. It was only the owner’s ridiculous expectations that he would win the Champions League that got him the sack.

    The negative thing about the refusal to give Abramovich a visa is that it looks as if it is part of the British government’s Cold War campaign against Russia. This appears to justify itself on the basis of the Skripal case, where two people alleged to have been poisoned in Britain by Russia with military grade nerve gas are now out of hospital but in a secret location and incommunicado. The story put out in the British press has changed day by day and the whole thing looks deeply dodgy.

    Poor relations between Britain and Russia are not in the interests of the British people or the peace of the world.

  13. I’m certain you don’t know the PSG owner’s expectations of Emery, neither do I. However, I don’t think it was ridiculous to expect better than a 2nd round exit in the CL, granted it was a loss to real Madrid, but if I were the owner I would expect better than both matches to have ended in losses. Let’s look at Madrid’s performance against other popular teams in the CL this season
    1. Vs Tottenham lost 3-0, drew
    2. Vs juve won 3-0, list 3-1
    3. Vs Bayern(who PSG beat to 2nd place in the group) won 2-1, drew
    Meaning PSG had the worst result of the lot vs Madrid. When you take into consideration, Barca’s 6-1 demolition (which I disagree was ref inflicted) and PSG’s loss of the ligue1 to Monaco last season, we can say it isn’t ridiculous to expect that Emery hasn’t met the sheikh’s expectations.

  14. I take your point Blue, but then if you are considering PSGs results you should include the positives (for example PSG 4 Barcelona 0) as well as the negatives, and demolition isn’t quite the right word in a match in which the last three goals are scored from 88 minutes onwards. You may well dismiss any thought of strange referee decisions, but a very large number of people would disagree with you. Although of course there are severe limits on what the media is allowed to say if they wish to retain their accreditation.

  15. Tony we’ll have to agree to disagree on the referee influence in both legs of that match. A lot of people also felt barca was not fairly treated in the 4-0 first leg. However, I think we should leave our opinions of the ref aside. 4-0 over barca by all means a result to be celebrated, then 6-1 reverse. In the final analysis a case of 2steps forward, 3steps back. That’s not to say I don’t expect him to do well with us, however to consider the Sheikh’s expectations as ridiculous, is ridiculous.

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