Gourlay 'proud' of Chelsea achievement

Wed, 25 Apr 12:30:26 2012

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has hailed the club's "phenomenal" Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona.

The Chelsea chief admitted going all the way to Munich would be a huge boost to the club's coffers in the era of Financial Fair Play. He also used the trip to Barca's near 100,000-capacity home to reiterate the challenge the Blues faced to continue to compete with the Elite of Europe when Stamford Bridge housed less than half that number.

Gourlay told the club's official website, www.chelseafc.com: "It is a phenomenal performance because not many people gave us a chance. Going 2-0 down, it made it seem as if things were not going our way but the guys dug in fantastically well and I am very proud of the performances."

He added: "To find ourselves in the final has given the club a fabulous lift, and the fans as well.

"Financially, as well, it is a big boost for the club. It helps us continue our investment in the team as we go forward but we still have the challenge of making sure we are in this competition next year, and that is very important."

Chelsea may need to win the Champions League to do so, with the club currently languishing outside the top four in the Barclays Premier League.

Failure to qualify for Europe's elite club competition would hit the Blues hard, with Roman Abramovich no longer able to bankroll them to the same degree as previously.

Gourlay compared Chelsea's money-making capacity to that of Barca, gently raising the controversial issue of their own stadium plans. The club have so far failed in their efforts to convince enough fans that moving from Stamford Bridge may be necessary.

Gourlay said: "The way Chelsea has geared ourselves up the last few years puts us in a good position to take the club forward but, at the same time, remaining in the elite teams in the future is a challenge because it is no secret that while we are the fifth or sixth biggest club in Europe from a financial point of view, our stadium is outside the top 30 at this present time.

"The money generated from matchday through the stadiums is considerable. If we are not able to take the money on matchday then we have to look at other parts of the business to generate the revenues and allow us to continue the circle of success to invest into the team to give the results or entice sponsors to come to the club."


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