Roman speaks: 'We'll be biggest in world'

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The Independent Football

Roman Abramovich ended his self-imposed silence to celebrate Chelsea's first title in 50 years by pledging his long-term commitment to the club and vowing to make them the biggest in the world.

Roman Abramovich ended his self-imposed silence to celebrate Chelsea's first title in 50 years by pledging his long-term commitment to the club and vowing to make them the biggest in the world.

Cynics have questioned how long Abramovich, who has pumped well over £300m into the club, will stay and what financial position they would be in if he left. However, the Russian billionaire declared in yesterday's match programme: "I view this championship as just the beginning of a new era for Chelsea and would like to reiterate my long-term commitment.

"Much has been said about the financial outlay over the past two years. However, this must be seen in the context of placing Chelsea on a level playing field with the other top clubs in England and Europe for a sustained period. We have made solid investments on the field in players, management, training facilities and an academy that will nurture the next generation of home-grown talent.

"Off the field, a team of executives and senior managers has been put together to capitalise on the playing success. All of this is a deliberate, long-term strategy with the aim of building the most successful club in the world in the next 10 years and beyond. Under chairman Bruce Buck, chief executive Peter Kenyon and Jose Mourinho, we have a strong leadership team which shares my vision."

Abramovich has hardly made any public declarations since buying Chelsea from Ken Bates just under two years ago. He paid particular thanks to captain John Terry and the players for bringing the title to Stamford Bridge. "Winning the League this year is especially moving as it comes on the 50th anniversary of Chelsea's last title and at the beginning of the club's centenary year celebrations.

"I would especially like to congratulate the fans. This victory has only been possible thanks to your support. I am very honoured to share in your joy. My heart also goes out to the long-term supporters who did not live to see Chelsea reach the pinnacle of English football once again, and I would like to dedicate this trophy to them.

"Fifty years is much too long to wait - and I am confident we will not have to wait that long again."

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