Woody Johnson served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom for four years under President Donald Trump and really took to the city of London.
It was no coincidence that the New York Jets owner agreed to have his team play across the pond in 2021 and it’s also not surprising that the football franchise was awarded exclusive international marketing rights in the U.K. along with five others.
WFAN radio show host Craig Carton even predicted that Johnson will attempt to relocate the Jets to London in the next five to 10 years. Having said that, Woody’s next endeavor should not come as a shock to anyone.
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Johnson Is ‘Readying a Bid’ for EPL Club
English Premier League juggernaut Chelsea F.C. has recently become available as a result of the ongoing conflict at the Ukraine border.
NFL insider Adam Schefter reported: “Chelsea is currently owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, whose decision to sell the club has apparently been influenced by mounting pressure on the U.K. government to seize the assets of high-value Russian individuals with links to Russia President Vladimir Putin’s regime after the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich has always denied any ties to Putin.”
It appears Johnson is looking to join Shad Khan, the Glazer family, Stan Kroenke and Jed York on the list of NFL owners that have purchased majority or minority stake in an EPL club. Schefter stated that the Jets owner is “readying a bid for Chelsea.”
Supposedly, Johnson became a fan of Chelsea while living in London. “Sources have told ESPN’s James Olley that Abramovich is seeking around £3 billion ($3.93 billion) for the club,” per Schefter.
Chelsea has been a perennial contender to win the EPL in recent seasons. One of the club’s top talents is currently American superstar Christian Pulisic.
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Should Jets Fans Be Nervous?
Two concerns immediately come to mind when you read this story.
One, how will this impact the Jets financially? The Johnsons are very wealthy from their success in the pharmaceutical industry (Johnson & Johnson) but if they’re sinking somewhere from three to four billion on a soccer franchise, where does that leave Gang Green and its fans?
This isn’t baseball and the salary cap does regulate spending but you never want to hear that your owner could be a few billion in the hole either — remember Bernie Madoff and the Mets? That may not impact an NFL roster but it could jack up ticket prices, parking, concessions, memorabilia, team gear and more.
Johnson may also lose his focus as an NFL owner, just like he did when he became an ambassador. Clearly, his personal interests lie in London more than America.
It’s not the worst thing in the world if NYJ ownership becomes even more hands-off with the more reliable Joe Douglas at the wheel, but you don’t want a leader that doesn’t care either. How can a locker room feel motivated to represent the jersey on Sundays if the owner is sipping tea across the ocean?
And don’t tell me we are headed for another term under Christopher Johnson.
Secondly, is it possible that there was some truth to Carton’s bold proclamation? If the NFL eventually expands to Europe, meaning a division of teams moves there permanently, this recent trend is not great for Jets fans.
I’ll leave you with a scary thought. Aside from the New York title, what’s keeping the Johnsons in the NYC area? The answer is money, and if Roger Goodell were to compensate the European pioneers financially, a London move could theoretically benefit Johnson’s wallet.