Price no factor, says Roman Abramovich

LONDON ( a highly unusual move, Roman Abramovich, Russian billionaire owner of the Chelsea Football Club, has attempted to sign a man he saw randomly crossing a London street.

Since taking control of the club, Abramovich has spent more than $520m on new acquisitions.

This is the first time, however, that not only is the potential signing not a football star, but he isn't a football player at all.

Five-foot-two (157cm), weighing 231 pounds (105 kgs), and 47 years old, Tom Hodgins, the accountant Abramovich covets, fits hardly the description of a sportsman--with the possible exception of a golfer--let alone a football player.

"That's not exactly true," Hodgins insists. "As a boy I played striker once or twice, and wasn't half bad. It's just recently that my weight has inched up a tad."

This was, however, contradicted by several former schoolmates, including James Earle, himself a Chelsea fan.

"He was already pudgy as a kid. And I don't think he even knows what a football looks like, let alone how to kick one," Earle said. "He's just been lucky all his life. What's wrong with me? I'm also a crap football player, but at least I'm fit and I won't confuse a football with a tennis ball."

In any case, Ambramovich insists he shall not be thwarted in his efforts.

"I know a great player when I see one," Ambramovich said. "He just needs some training. Who doesn't? I see him playing midfield, maybe striker."

Chelsea Assistant Manager, Steve Clarke, says he's tried to talk some sense into Abramovich, but the Russian won't listen.

"He thinks not only that he can buy anything he wants, but that large amounts of money will improve his purchases. Well…he's the owner so I guess he can do whatever he wants."

Presently, Hodgins has been offered $7m for a two-year contract, but the accountant is holding out for more money.

"If he wanted someone cheap, he should've gone for a painter or a musician…those guys have no sense of money. I'm an accountant. I know what I'm worth."

Should an agreement be reached, Hodgings could be on the field as early as two weeks, says Abramovich.

At the news, several die-hard Chelsea fans were reportedly rushed to emergency rooms with chest pains and shortness of breath.

Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw


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