When presented with the lesser of two evils, pray

Tom Ricketts
Image: Getty Images

I’ve never watched 90-Day Fiancé because I’d rather take an eyedropper full of corrosive acid to the iris, but I imagine Chelsea fans are awaiting the sale of their club with the same angst and uncertainty all these 90-Day Fiancé idiots have during their short courtship. (If that’s not how that show works, I will not apologize for making that assumption based on the title of the program. The show is drivel and will warp your brain.)

With the team more or less up for auction because current owner Roman Abramovich is being sanctioned by the United Kingdom, the Russian businessman has as much leverage as someone trying to sell smoking hot goods at a pawn shop.

“I keep telling you, this team is worth £3 billion.”

“Yeah, well, that look on your face and the sweat pouring off it tells me you’d take £2 billion.”

The latest rumor is the owners of the Chicago Cubs, the Ricketts family, have teamed up with billionaire Ken Griffin to make a bid for the club. Griffin is the CEO of Citadel and the richest person linked with a potential ownership group yet, according to Sky Sports. (If you were to ask me what Citadel is, or what it does, I’d say it probably has something to do with finances. And even though I’m right, I read the welcome statement on the company homepage and still have no idea what the fuck it is they actually do.)

It sounds like they have the resources to go up against and overwhelm other groups vying to buy the team, but can we please pump the brakes on the Ricketts’ propaganda, or at least inform our friends across the Atlantic who they’re engaging with because it isn’t this beacon of excellence they’re purporting. (Via Sky Sports)

Sources close to their impending bid said the Ricketts’ record of success with the Chicago Cubs and the financial firepower of their consortium would make an ideal recipe for success at Stamford Bridge.

The last six years have been the most successful in the Cubs’ history – winning the World Series and completing a $1bn renovation of the team’s home, Wrigley Field…

A source close to the consortium said it had been the largest privately financed stadium restoration project in US history. “Wrigley Field was transformed from terminal disrepair to a national treasure,” the source said.

Did that come straight from Tom Ricketts’ keyboard or was it merely dictated to a PR stooge? I like how “Renovating Wrigley Field” counts as organizational success for the Cubs even though that remodel was not without controversy. Sadly, I don’t think the source is wrong calling the past six years the most successful run in team history; I just think boasting about it is a reach.

Don’t be fooled, Chelsea fans. This is how Chicago native and Deadspin staff writer Sam Fels started a piece about the Ricketts family’s propensity for greed and stupidity in February:

“It’s still worth it, every so often, to consider how impressive it is that the Ricketts family pissed all over the glow of being the ownership group that brought the first World Series title to the Northside of Chicago in 100 years to being universally hated in less than five.”

(If you really want to hate the Ricketts family as a whole, Google: Pete Ricketts, governor of Nebraska, “You people.”)

The other suitors lining up to woo Chelsea are a group featuring L.A. Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, whoever U.K. real estate mogul/Blues super fan Nick Candy partners with to fund his pipe dream, and the Saudi Media Group.

It sounds like the Dodgers-Swiss billionaire group will need to rifle through a few more couch cushions to come up with the necessary change. Candy’s hopes for owning the team are on par with my hopes of dating Scarlett Johansson, and I don’t think pivoting from a Russian oligarch to the Saudi Media Group is smart or realistic for so many obvious reasons.

I feel for those who love Stamford Bridge because it’s not their fault Abramovich is one of Vladimir Putin’s lap dogs. As evidenced above, there aren’t a lot of people with the liquid assets to make a $2 billion-plus purchase, and there are even fewer (zero?) altruistic billionaires.

Whoever buys the teams needs to do so quickly because the repercussions of the imposed sanctions are going to be felt soon — if they haven’t already — and government-provided loopholes will only go so far in keeping the club afloat, competitive, and traveling.

If the new owners end up being Griffin and the Ricketts family, Chelsea fans better pray the deep financial resources offset the history of thriftiness.

Just know, hoping billionaires live up to/exceed the billing is as risky as marrying someone after dating for 90 days, or being owned by a despot’s lackey.

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