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End of an era as Kenyon moves on

Somehow, Peter Kenyon has become synonymous with everything that is wrong in the game. He has been associated with the high wages, ridiculous transfer fees, the Ashley Cole ‘tapping up’ affair and of course, the recent transfer embargo after Chelsea were found guilty of enticing a youngster to break their contract elsewhere by FIFA.

Leaving

The former Manchester United Chief Executive has held that role at Chelsea for some five and a half years but has now announced that he will be leaving at the end of October. He will continue at Chelsea as a non-executive director but his hands on role will come to an end.

The fifty-five year old Kenyon made the following statement on the official Chelsea website,

“I am certain I have at least one major challenge left in me. I am extremely proud of my time at Chelsea and of the friendships I have forged with everyone here. I have been in football for 15 years and I can say with great certainty and pleasure the experience at Chelsea is one of the best I have had. When I joined Chelsea it was an incredible challenge. And together with all the staff, the players, the board and Roman, I think we have really built a club, in a relatively short space of time, that can be in the forefront of European football for many years to come. That is a major achievement. I am also delighted that our relationship is not ending and I can continue to make a contribution to keeping Chelsea in that position and to go back to visit friends. I intend to take a little time off before considering what I do next but I am certain I have at least one major challenge left in me. I would like to wish Chelsea the best of luck for the rest of the season. I am sure the manager Carlo Ancelotti can lead the team to more great things.”

Kenyon took charge of the business side of things at Chelsea in 2004 under owner Roman Abramovich. He was part of the team that appointed Jose Mourinho and then went on to win the Premier League twice. They haven’t managed to win the Champions League in his time at the club with defeat in the 2008 final to Manchester United being the closest they have come.

Success

Despite the undoubted success that Peter Kenyon has helped to bring to Stamford Bridge, he has also brought much controversy. Back in 2004 it was widely reported that Sven Goran Eriksson was going to become the Chelsea manager. Whilst still in charge of England Eriksson was pictured meeting with Kenyon.

I have already mentioned the Ashley Cole affair where alleged clandestine meetings were held leading to Chelsea being fined £200,000.

Then, earlier this month the club were banned from signing any new players until January 2011.

Last Summer there were press reports that Kenyon was going to leave Chelsea and move to Manchester City. I wonder if that is the ‘one big challenge’ that Kenyon is talking about.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said,

“Peter has done a fantastic job for Chelsea in the last five-and-a-half years and has been absolutely central to the success on and off the field we have had during that time. Without his football knowledge and business acumen Chelsea would not be where we are today. Everyone at Chelsea thanks him for that contribution and although he will not be with us on a permanent basis, he will have an important role to play as a non-executive director and in the various roles he holds in European football bodies. When Peter first joined us we knew we were recruiting a top executive from business generally, not just football. With that always came a certain inevitability he would eventually want to seek a new challenge and I am sure that is what he will do.”

In many ways it is a shame and it is a sign of the times that a club Chief Executive makes the back page headlines. In the past there were no such people and if their were, fans wouldn’t have had a clue who they were. Now, with transfers and money being so important, the business men are becoming almost more important than the players.

Fri 18 September, 2009
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