An article published not long ago about fallen European football giants had us thinking about how easily clubs can lose their status at the top table.
While nobody’s going to forget about Leeds and Deportivo La Coruna anytime soon, it only took them a season of implosion each to put themselves into a spin that they’re struggling to get out of even now.
If it was ever going to happen to Chelsea, it was going to be this season. A new manager and a transfer ban, problems with our owner and the stadium, a squad full of youngsters and an ever increasingly competitive Premier League – there is a recipe for disaster there.
But so far we’ve avoided anything too bad, and in fact feelings are very good around the club at the moment. Of course there are issues with the team, but the club as a whole seems like it’s shedding it’s skin and progressing towards something more sustainable, rather than less.
The last few season have been a real roller coaster for Chelsea fans, going from title wins to disaster seasons finishing outside the Champions League. But it’s been up and down, not just down. We would have to fall a long way to end up like Parma or Nottingham Forest. The fate of Bury, a club even older than Chelsea, is a chilling reminder that given enough time, even the biggest teams around can go under.
One of our chief protections from their awful spirals is our geography. No matter how badly the team does, how mismanaged the finances or playing staff, no matter how much debt the club accumulates, there will always be interest in buying it. Why? The location.
West London is one of the most desirable places to live in the world, and owning a club there bring serious prestige, as well as a constantly flow of hedge fund managers to your expensive boxes and corporate events.
Billionaires from all over the world are flocking to buy teams in the Championship who play in rainy run down towns full of post-industrial depression. You think we’d struggle to find someone to buy a club on the Fulham Road?
Let’s not count our blessings too soon, this is football and stranger things happen every week. But for now, Chelsea fans can stay hopeful that no matter what happens from season to season, there will always be a club for them to follow in some form.