Former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich rounded up Blues supporters for a drink to tell them why he sacked Jose Mourinho.
The Sun tell of the time that the Russsian oligarch held an impromptu fans’ forum in Spain after the Portuguese manager was let go in 2007.
In a hotel bar in Valencia, where the Blues had just won a Champions League group stage encounter against Los Che 2-1, a reporter stumbled across Abramovich, who was with his then-girlfriend Dasha Zhukova and right-hand man Eugene Tenenbaum. The trio were standing along with a group of about seven or eight Blues supporters, drinking booze.
The Russian had taken the measure of getting Tenenbaum to find him some fans so he could tell them precisely why he had decided to give Mourinho the boot and employ the unfavourable Avram Grant.
A fair few of the supporters were around the hotel in which the owner had stayed. But when Tenenbaum asked if they would like to join Abramovich in the bar for a drink and a chat, they quite understandably believed that it was a wind-up.
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According to the report, Abramovich told the group: “I love Jose and will always love him because of what he did for Chelsea – but nobody is bigger than the club.
“I understand that you are upset he has gone but things had not been right for some while and the time was right for a change. I want you to trust me that Avram is the right man and he is a permanent appointment.
“There will be more additions to the coaching squad but Avram is here to stay. You could see tonight against Valencia we still have a great spirit in our team.”
The group – the fans, Abramovich and his entourage – held forth until about 1:30am, when the bar stopped serving drinks.
Grant led the club to their first Champions League final, but they lost to Manchester United on penalties. True to the Russian’s word, Mourinho was re-employed again in 2013 as boss.