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John Terry-led 'True Blues' consortium attempts to secure 10% stake in Chelsea for £250m

11:17 GMT+3 18/03/2022
John Terry Roman Abramovich Chelsea
The group has come into the conversation around ownership in west London and is led by the former England captain

Chelsea legend John Terry and former women's football star Claire Rafferty are fronting up a £250 million ($329m) consortium called True Blues in an attempt to buy a 10 percent stake in the club. 

With Terry having delved into the world of Non-fungible tokens [NFTs] recently, the bid promises a high-tech approach, allowing supporters, players and former staff to buy fan tokens for upwards of £100 in exchange for voting rights. 

However, the group won't be able to fund a full bid so must insert itself into a wider deal involving UK, US or Saudi billionaires. 

Who is behind True Blues?

Although the True Blues consortium is headed up by two high-profile former footballers, there are several other people driving the bid.

In documents seen by GOAL, one figure behind the bid is Chelsea supporter and prominent Tory party donor David Meller, alongside his son Jonathan.

Harley Kisberg, founder of iTech Media, and Stanford Loudon, an investment banker, are also among fellow fans and founding members. 

These connections have allowed those involved to speak with senior staff at the club before launching the bid. 

Meller, whose wealth comes from his luxury property and family beauty business, could attract some criticism towards the group.

He was awarded a lucrative £164m PPE contract during the coronavirus pandemic after supporting Michael Gove's Conservative Party leadership bid, with documents claiming he benefited from a controversial 'VIP lane' that allowed influential individuals an opportunity to circumvent the usual procurement process. 

Furthermore, he was the chairman of the President's Club, a high-end, men-only charity event, which led to a sexual harassment scandal. 

After the scandal, MPs subsequently lobbied for him to step down from a senior position in the Department for Education (DfE) after a report was released by the Financial Times

Meller is also said to have previously worked with Chelsea in a charitable capacity.

The plans, which have been seen by GOAL, suggest they will offer tokens to Kai Havertz for scoring his Champions League-winning goal and club captain Cesar Azpilicueta. It would effectively offer current players shares for their impact on the pitch. 

Will fans support it?

The plans have already been presented to prominent fans ahead of the announcement in an attempt to begin a charm offensive. 

It comes after the Chelsea Supporters Trust (CST), the west Londoners' most influential fan group, called for several measures including a 'golden share' to be issued. 

That golden share would allow Blues fans veto power over matters relating to the club's identity including the club badge, kit or stadium, or playing in a different league.

The last point is important after Chelsea were involved in the Super League project which was widely derided by the vast majority of the British public. 

They went on to make six further requests but neither the UK Government nor Raine Group, who are conducting the sale, will enforce any such measures.

It remains on the negotiating parties to choose to bring in any fans through either the golden share or the True Blues consortium. However, for the True Blues consortium to even be considered, it will need considerable momentum from supporters.

The principal consortium partners now have until Friday at 9pm UK time (5pm EST) to make their offers.

The list will then be whittled down to three or four bids for further discussions and negotiations before a decision is finally made.

The government is not involved in any of the decision-making but is simply there to ensure Roman Abramovich doesn't take any of the money while he is sanctioned. The money will either be frozen or given to charity.

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