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The Peter Kenyon Effect

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Following Abramovich’s arrival, Chelsea were hardly the most popular club on the planet, so the decision regarding who should be appointed Chief Executive, you’d assume, was given careful consideration.

After all, this particular candidate was not only going to be responsible for increasing Chelsea’s commercial income but was also going to be the club’s main spokesperson. But, you’d assume wrong, because careful consideration clearly wasn’t on the agenda when Peter Kenyon was hired.

I’m not suggesting whatever he’d done before he’d come to Chelsea was of no consequence, because despite Manchester United being his first job at a football club, he’d managed to secure the club some very lucrative sponsorship deals as well as being involved in the signing of players such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Rio Ferdinand. Rumour has it he even played a major part when it came to twisting Ferguson’s arm to delay his retirement. But how much could you trust a born and bred man whose professed ‘loyalty’ to the club he was supposedly a lifelong supporter of was so easily bought?

Anyway, sadly for Chelsea, the decision was made, Kenyon arrived in February 2004 and the question of trust was soon answered with him twisting the knife firmly in Ranieri’s back whilst courting Sven-Goran Eriksson. This, in turn, was warmly received by the home crowd, who treated him to a rendition of “Stand up if you hate Kenyon! Stand up if you hate Kenyon!” – which he obviously enjoyed because he then went on to pull stunts like inviting Arsenal players out for meals until they became ex-Arsenal players — all in the name of commercial income obviously.

The man just doesn’t care who he tramples over in order to make money. Supporters have become mere ‘customers’ as he tests loyalty to extremes, knowing that unlike his own ‘devotion’ to the reds, ours would remain intact long after he’s gone. Marketing the ‘brand’ of Chelsea with meaningless tours to ‘broaden the fanbase’ and take Chelsea ‘global’.

Whatever happened to preseason games you could realistically attend? What happened to season tickets with domestic cups as part of the package? Peter Kenyon happened. Never mind the loyal fanbase if you can pick up a few stragglers in Asia or bring in a few fly-by-nights for a cup game, eh Peter?

Now having alienated the majority inside Chelsea, it would seem he’s concentrating his efforts on anyone remaining outside Stamford Bridge who doesn’t despise him already. With absolutely no consideration given to the fact that it really wasn’t all that long ago when it was Chelsea unable to compete with the top clubs in their own league (and why would he?), Kenyon arrogantly dismisses concerns regarding lack of competition outside of the top four.

With the sort of condescension that’d push a nun to commit GBH, he says “Other teams in England should be knocking on our door, teams like Tottenham, Newcastle, Villa, Everton, it’s more about them getting their houses in order rather than us coming down to their level.”

Is he honestly suggesting the fact that Chelsea are £578 million in debt, to one man, entitles him to brag? Or the fact that we can ‘afford’ to shell out ridiculous sums of money, not only for the big time Charlies who demand £150,000 a week until they get their pension (chip off the old block with that sort of loyalty eh?) but also for players who wouldn’t even recognise the inside of Stamford Bridge? Then again, maybe it’s because he knows we’ll be self-sufficient by 2010?!

His arrogance is mind-blowing, he might believe that one man’s money makes us superior but in truth Chelsea lost more last season than any of the clubs outside the top four made — doesn’t sound like a man doing his job to me. You see, Kenyon’s a businessman first and foremost and he’s been sidetracked into believing he’s a football man, so he’s taken to talking about things he knows nothing about. It’s no coincidence that from the minute Mourinho left we’ve all had to endure his Gollum-like features on our screens almost regularly enough to be classed as abuse.

What was all that about in Moscow if not proof that he’s totally forgotten his position at the club? Manchester United were led up to receive their winners medals by Sir Bobby Charlton (and rightly so), who incidentally was far too humble to accept a medal having not taken part in the game. And the losers? Oh well, we didn’t feel humiliated anywhere near enough apparently, we had to suffer the indignity of having the ex-chief executive of Umbro accepting a medal off Platini.

His leading the players up that night demonstrates his total lack of class to the watching world. He’s a nobody who believes he’s bigger than he is as a result of money, and it’s that image of Chelsea that Peter Kenyon is ‘globally’ marketing.

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