Chelsea fans chant Roman Abramovich's name in support of former club owner

Credit: PA Images

Chelsea fans were heard chanting Roman Abramovich's name during the game against Norwich on Thursday evening to show their support for the former club owner.

It's after the government announced it would be sanctioning the Russian-Israeli billionaire amid his alleged ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, which he has strongly denied.

Three Mobile has also pulled its sponsorship, though players still wore kit featuring the logo.

Supporters have also been buying Chelsea shirts from the Stamford Bridge shop this evening (10 March) before it closes.

Martyn Hardiman, 29, from Guildford, was with his two-year-old son, Peter, when staff shut the merchandise shop following the news.

He said: "We went round to the club shop and it was still open and, as we went in, they closed the door behind us (and) put the signs up saying, ‘We’re closed due to the ongoing sanctions’.

"We went up, got the shirt, and it turned out to be the last shirt sale of the current era, apparently.

"It was a surreal moment but a cool bit of history and his grandad will be chuffed to bits, so that’s pretty cool."

Ahead of the game, fans outside the stadium said they were "nervous” and "concerned" about the sanctions, which also banned future ticket sales, though most were not worried about the club’s long-term future.

Fan of 17 years, Kai Chapman, 19, from Nottingham, said: "I’m quite gutted, really. We could see it coming but as a fan base and a club in general we’ll have to move on.

"I get the whole point of sanctioning Abramovich but, in terms of supporters, I think it’s a bit harsh to punish us because all we want to do is support our club and go to games, and without being able to purchase tickets it’s going to put us in a hard and awkward position."

Although he described the sanctions as a “bit concerning right now”, he added: “Chelsea was here before Abramovich came in and it will still be here after he leaves.”

Credit: PA Images

Clive Winter, 61, from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, who has been a Chelsea fan for 55 years, said: “Let me put on record first: the war is horrendous, absolutely shocking, I’ve got no justification for it whatsoever.

"In the football business this has been coming for a while anyway – the actual sanction – but again, he’s done so much for the club and for charities in this country and all over the world.

"He’s a Chelsea fan and 20 years have gone past and nothing’s been actioned. Surely if there were links or alleged links, something should have happened in the last 20 years rather than leaving it until now."

Syahmi Anuar, 20, who had travelled to London from Malaysia to see the ground, said he was "very disappointed".

He said: "I’m very worried about the future of the club because I’m a lifelong fan.

"I have supported Chelsea since I was a little boy. I spent £2,000 just to get here. Once a blue, always a blue."