They were on top of the world, one of the world’s finest clubs, home of some of the best players the planet had seen, their cabinets stuffed with every trophy it was possible to win.
But right now Chelsea is floundering in a blue sea of uncertainty. As the club celebrated its 117th birthday with a Premier League victory over Norwich recently, the Russian oligarch who has owned the Blues for nearly 20 years was hit with a string of sanctions by the British government, effectively slapping his hand away from their purse and slamming the brakes on his efforts to sell the glamour club for £3 billion (R61,5bn).
When Roman Abramovich announced he was selling Chelsea, he said he would donate funds of the sale to charity – but the choice is no longer his. The British government will take control of the process and decide what to do with funds, which could either be frozen or go to a charitable fund, possibly for war victims in Ukraine. But this is about a lot more than the sale of the club.