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Chelsea graduates like Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have become a part of the first team but this wouldn’t have happened if Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had listened to the advice of a former Chelsea boss.
According to former Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo, a former Chelsea boss urged Abramovich to shut down the academy because it was a waste of money.
Abramovich didn’t listen to the advice because he was keen on promoting youngsters at the club.
Emenalo told The Telegraph: “I defended the academy when there was pressure and doubt and pessimism.
“There was a time when there was a clamour to do more and a manager came in to make a presentation to say the academy was not necessary.
“The argument was it takes too long, we don’t have time, we should use it to make some money here and there, and that the owner should stop pumping money into it because it seemed like a waste.
“But that wasn’t my idea and I had to fight against it. This is where I am very, very proud of the owner Roman Abramovich because of the trust he had in me and the willingness to listen to me and give the academy time.
“He would not abandon it. He believed in it and in me, and I can’t thank him enough for that.”