March 21, 2023

Chelsea FC podcast 'The Blueprint' launches with Ken Bates exclusive

Former Chelsea FC owner offers previously untold story of club's 2003 purchase by Russian Oligarch



London, UK (March 21,2022)
The Blueprint: How Chelsea FC Changed Football, a brand-new narrative podcast series covering the rise of Chelsea FC and the club's role in shaping modern football, has debuted with an extremely rare and exclusive interview with former Chelsea FC owner Ken Bates.

The interview, conducted in person with Bates in Monaco, reveals never-before-heard details of the 2003 sale of Chelsea FC to Roman Abramovich, including the eye-opening revelation that the sale occurred in expedited fashion after the Russian businessman failed to buy Manchester United.

Bates also details the key role Chelsea played in the formation of the Premier League (by ensuring an equitable broadcast rights deal for all member clubs), his strained relationship with influential vice-chairman Matthew Harding, the controversy of Glenn Hoddle’s appointment as England manager, and the myth, according to Bates, of Chelsea’s financial situation before Abramovich’s arrival.

“Ken Bates, who seldom gives interviews or participates in documentaries, has provided us with some truly revelatory new details about his time at the club, and the Abramovich takeover that led to the club’s ascent to the top of the European game,” said Garry Hayes, Producer of The Blueprint and CEO of its production company HWY61.

“We’ve been granted access to the inner sanctum at Stamford Bridge, and have managed to uncover stories and perspectives that even the most diehard Blues fans will not have heard.

“The Bates interview perfectly encapsulates the way in which The Blueprint has captured the real Chelsea story: from the boardroom, the training ground and the dressing room.

“Chelsea supporters will love it, but for those football fans who want to better understand the structure of today's game and how it's changed in the new millennium, The Blueprint goes a long way to explaining that."

The Blueprint’s two-part Ken Bates interview is available today from all major podcast providers.

The interview precedes the full eight-part star-studded narrative podcast series, which will unveil the eye-opening hidden truths behind the club’s rags-to-riches story upon its release in May 2023.  

The Blueprint, produced by HWY61, has been over eight years in the making, and has spoken with over 180 people close to the club, from owners to players, and the directors who were pulling the strings and high-profile journalists who witnessed it all.

The series features insight from those who shaped Chelsea’s ascent to the top of the professional game, with stories that have, until now, never been heard before.

The series features exclusive interviews with Frank Lampard, Glenn Hoddle, Roberto Di Matteo, Petr Cech and many more of the influential figures in Chelsea’s journey from Ken Bates’ stewardship to being crowned European Champions in 2012.

The Blueprint also offers exclusive insight from legendary British football broadcasters including Martin Tyler and Peter Drury.

“As a lifelong Chelsea fan, it has been incredible to hear untold stories of the club’s rise from the very people who made it happen,” said The Blueprint co-producer Ceri Levy.

“This series really uncovers the back-office chess games—and Machiavellian maneuvers—that determine how dynasties are really built.”

The Blueprint covers Chelsea’s financially troubled status in the nascent years of the Premier League, up to Didier Drogba’s iconic winning penalty kick in the 2012 Champions League final.

Not only that, but Bates gives fresh insight to his relationship with Matthew Harding, the man with whom he battled with throughout the 1990s for control of the club, up to Harding’s tragic death in a helicopter crash in 1996.

The Blueprint also speaks with those close to Harding, including his lawyer and confidant David Cooper, who has never spoken publicly until now.

“Hopefully this podcast tells the story like it is,” said Bates. “From rags to riches, and then to multi riches, and champions of Europe! Up The Blues!”

The two-part Blueprint Ken Bates interview is available on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and all major podcast providers. The full eight-part series will be available from May 2023 Click here to listen to the Teaser Trailer and to view the episode guide.

For more information, visit


About HWY61

Founded by sports writer, broadcaster and Chelsea FC insider Garry Hayes in 2020, HWY61 specializes in narrative podcasts that unlock listener passions and transport them behind the scenes to hear the real story beyond the headlines.

HWY61 podcasts include The Neil Reynolds Podcast, Track + Field, a production for European Athletics ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and Gonzovation Conversations, inspired by books on conservation written by Ceri Levy and the artist Ralph Steadman.

HWY61 also produced a 65-part World Cup podcast for the FIFA Training Centre in 2022.

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