Chelsea bidders fear Ricketts family given 'preferential treatment'

Tom Gott
Ricketts met with Paul Canoville to aid his bid
Ricketts met with Paul Canoville to aid his bid / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

Some of the groups left in the race to buy Chelsea have been left frustrated by what is perceived to be 'preferential treatment' for the Ricketts family.

It has previously been suggested that Raine, the bank managing the sale, are leaning towards selling to the Ricketts' because of their experience leading a sports team - despite significant backlash from Chelsea supporters over historic examples of racism from the head of the family, Joe.

The #NoToRicketts movement has been immense on Twitter, with fans looking to keep the group away from Chelsea.

In response to the fan protest, Tom Ricketts - Joe's son - met with the club's first-ever black player, Paul Canoville, to discuss the situation and try and build a relationship with supporters.

According to The Times, that meeting was actually set up by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, who was contacted by Raine after the group spoke with Tom Ricketts.

Early in the bidding process, all interested parties were told by Raine not to have any contact with current Chelsea officials, with the chance to speak with the Blues coming in scheduled meetings once the final shortlist had been revealed.

While the Ricketts' have not spoken directly to Buck, a handful of the remaining bidders have been left thoroughly unimpressed by Raine's willingness to help the family - particularly given the meeting with Canoville came before the Ricketts' made it through to the next round of bidding.

On the meeting, a spokesman for Canoville said: “Paul gave Tom Ricketts a severe grilling, and Tom Ricketts apologised to him for those comments that had been made by his relatives. Paul was very forthright, he told them the reason he tweeted and supported the ‘No To Ricketts’ campaign was because of what he’d read and seen on social media, that Tom Ricketts’ family had been responsible for.

“Tom Ricketts said he wouldn’t try to hide from those comments, that they weren’t his values, that they were abhorrent; and he apologised. He explained that they are very, very keen to take the football club on, and they know they must win round the fans, and also win round Paul.

“We were impressed that he’d want to sit down with Paul, have that conversation and apologise himself for those comments that were made. He didn’t make those comments himself, but he was still sitting there apologising for them. Tom Ricketts showed Paul total respect; it was Tom Ricketts who asked to see Paul.”