“The fans are important” – Gary Neville explains why Chelsea shouldn’t be taken over by Ricketts family.
Gary Neville has supported Chelsea fans in their protests against the Ricketts family taking over the west London club.
The Blues are currently on sale after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale due to rising political tensions between Russia and the West.
Several bidders submitted their proposals to take over, with the Raine investment banking group overlooking the takeover process. One name that is believed to be a favorite is that of the Ricketts family.
The Chicago Cubs owners and their partners are interested in buying the club, but the Blues fans are less than keen to have the Americans as their new owners.
The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust released an official statement saying that 77% of the fanbase is against Ricketts’ proposal. Neville has added his voice to the opinion by supporting the wishes of the fans. The former England international told Sky Sports:
“There have been movements and noise in the last week that the Ricketts’ bid seems to be the favoured one and get the preferential treatment as other parties have suggested. I have to say, we don’t know. There is no transparency, there is no independence in English football to be able to determine how you bid for a football club.”
He added that other owners have faced similar issues, and that the Ricketts should know better.
“If I were the Ricketts family and got that type of hostility on the way in, move away. Move away, the fans are important. We’ve seen unpopular owners like the Glazers at Manchester United or Mike Ashley at Newcastle United, it drains the absolute life of a football club and a city. So we’ve got to make sure moving forward it’s not about the bids, it’s about what the fans want.”
Neville also said:
“We have to start bringing some sort of moral compass when determining who owns a football club. At this moment in time, I find it difficult to accept that if the Chelsea fans are en masse against a takeover by the family, who are said to be the favorites, it should not happen.”
Why Chelsea fans are in uproar against the Ricketts’ takeover
Leaked emails between 2009-2013 had evidenced family head Joe Ricketts using Islamophobic language. These incidents came to light in 2019 and Chelsea fans are unhappy to have personnel with such questionable ethical values as their new club owners.
The Ricketts family has met with the club’s fans to convince them that they will put “diversity and inclusion” at the heart of the club’s values. However, fans continued to protest their reported interest even ahead of the club’s weekend match against Brentford at Stamford Bridge.