Chelsea may be no match for the might of Swansea or even QPR, but Roman Abramovich has just won the battle of St. Bart’s.
St. Bart’s is the tiny, idyllic Carribean island where the super-rich rendezvous every year to while away a couple of weeks of indolence and display their baubles and boats. This year, again, the bragging rights have gone to the guy who became one of the richest people on earth by mysteriously acquiring a major chunk of Russia’s oil reserves.
His 557-foot yacht Eclipse is the biggest privately-owned craft ever created. It comes with a price-tag of more than a billion. It boasts - get this - its own missile defence system.
Abramovich’s personal suite is armour-plated, lest people displeased with him, of whom there must be a few, open fire from the shore with RPGs.
If there’s an assault by pirates in the middle of the ocean, he can scramble, if that’s the word, the mini-submarine he keeps on board for a quick getaway.
The yacht has a cinema, two swimming pools and two helipads, a crew of 80 dressed in navy-style uniforms and can accommodate 62 guests.
The only competition came from Qatar prime minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber bin Muhammad al-Thani, whose vessel, however, is a mere 436 feet long and features but one pool and one landing place for helicopters.
The yachts of Simon Cowell, P Diddy and the like were made to look like canoes.
Abramovich didn’t have to lift a finger to become as rich as Croesus. Well, to be fair, he did, to dial the number of whichever Yeltsin apparachik had the resources of the country in his gift at the time.
I fear that the task of holing Abramovitch below the waterline would require a revolution. Or rather, I don’t fear it at all.
Having been a principled ABU man all my adult years, I am now adding Chelsea to the Order of Opprobrium. In fact, apart from Arsenal and Burnley there’s no team in England to which I now feel any commitment.
And I am beginning to have my doubts about Arsenal.