Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has his dismissed Chelsea’s aspiration to become Britain’s biggest club as “fantasy”.
Hill-Wood was speaking in the wake of the publication of Arsenal’s annual financial results which showed that the club’s turnover had broken the £200m barrier following their move to the Emirates Stadium.
“I don’t want to run Chelsea down, but one has to concede Manchester United and Liverpool are probably the biggest names in UK football,” said Hill-Wood.
“For Chelsea to think they are suddenly going to dominate United and Liverpool is fantasy. It is not going to happen.”
Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has spoken of his desire to “turn the world blue” – but a crowd of less than 25,000 for last week’s Champions League game against Rosenborg at Stamford Bridge, indicated that the club ahd someway to go to achive their aim.
Hill-Wood added: “I found it very surprising Chelsea had only 25,000 for a Champions League game.
“Our fan-base probably started in the 30s and it’s been handed down from father to son and so on. It takes 100 years to build and about 100 minutes to destroy.
“Money is irrelevant to history and how big your club is.”
Arsenal insist that their financial figures mean they are well-equipped to rebuff any takeover bid and in particular the advances of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who currently owns a 21% shareholding.
Hill-Wood said: “I don’t think Roman Abramovich has helped the Russian cause. The board at Arsenal is completely united and has no intention of not remaining so.
“The idea of us selling out to whoever is simply not on the agenda.”
Chelsea chief executive Kenyon recently described the club’s plans to dominate not only domestically but also on a global level under owner Roman Abramovich.
He said: “It’s building that dynasty. That’s what Roman wants to be part of, Chelsea becoming part of Europe’s dynasty. We had a 10-year vision for the club. It was about building a team that was successful, not once but consistently.
“Over a 10-year period, you need two European Cups to be a world club. You have to dominate your domestic league. We have to have an infrastructure to deal with that and people to deal with it.
“We will win the Champions League. It’s just when is the question. We’ve got a squad, a structure, a belief and we’ve got quality. And I do believe the Champions League is not that far away.”