When hearing Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck speak, one may wonder what series of events brought him to Stamford Bridge. Here is an American, themselves not known as particularly strong football lovers, running one of the more successful Premier League sides in recent history.
Just another successful businessman perhaps, lured by Roman Abramovich’s millions to oversee the development of the club, passed off as yet another ‘lifelong supporter’.
At a time when the Liverpool chairman has openly declared himself a lifelong Chelsea fan and you might argue who gives a damn where his allegiances lie.
Bruce Buck, however, has indeed been a Chelsea supporter long before the days of Roman Abramovich and the subsequent success they have been able to enjoy since as a result of his millions. Buck left New York for England in 1983 and became a Chelsea fan not long after, becoming a season ticket holder in the early 1990s. As a graduate of Columbia University Law School, Buck was a founding managing partner of the London office of the biggest U.S law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Buck represents both European and non-European clients, specialising in mergers, acquisitions and capital market transactions. He was particularly involved in overseeing the firm’s Russian practise since the opening of a Moscow office in 1992. It is through these connections that led Buck to meet Roman Abramovich.
It was Buck who advised Abramovich on his £140 million purchase of Chelsea Football Club in 2003, as well as having done legal work on acquisitions for the Russian company Siberian Oil (Sibneft), of which Abramovich was the majority shareholder. Bruce Buck remains the only person, besides Abramovich to own a share of the football club, holding the mighty amount of one single share.
Bruce Buck is one of the more vocal and recognisable individuals at Chelsea, known for his occasional media interviews. Backed by an owner who refuses to involve himself in the media, Buck maintains the connection between the business and the supporters, responding to any queries and concerns which the supporters and indeed the media may choose to express. Not that the club has too much to worry about at the present time.
Financial reports released last December revealed that all of the club’s outstanding debt had been converted into equity, making Chelsea effectively debt free. This is a worrying sign for the clubs challenging for Chelsea’s crown, a sign of the continuing success and development of the club in the future. Bruce Buck has certainly made an impact during his time at Stamford Bridge. An American he may be, but with Chelsea Football Club very much in his heart, doing the best for his club. Unlike some owners up the road in Liverpool I could mention..