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Jets owner Woody Johnson bows out of bidding for Chelsea FC

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Jets owner Woody Johnson.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson expressed his disappointment on Monday over his failed bid to buy England’s Chelsea Football Club, lamenting the “enormous” price of professional sports teams.

“Not getting Chelsea is disappointing,” said Johnson. “The numbers have gotten so enormous that on one hand I’m disappointed and on the other hand, financially, I think it’s going to be a huge challenge.”

Johnson, who is the heir to the Johnson & Johnson medical fortune, and who purchased the Jets in 2000 for $635 million, had made his unsuccessful bid to buy Chelsea after previous-owner Roman Abramovich agreed to part ways with the franchise amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich is the former Governor of Chukotka in the west of Russia, and boasts a net worth of over $7 billion, largely from taking over Russian state-owned nickel mining. 

Johnson attempted to buy the team, but backed out as the bidding reached new highs for a professional sports team. 

“I’m a fan of Chelsea,” Johnson told ESPN

He also reflected on his time serving as the United States’ ambassador to the United Kingdom — a position that former-President Donald Trump appointed him to at the beginning of his term in office in 2017. 

“When I was over there, I couldn’t be a fan of a particular team,” Johnson said. “I had to be diplomatic. I had to like all the teams, but we were Chelsea fans.”

“It’s London’s team. The concept of New York and London, I thought was one that we could do pretty well with that. I thought it would be another interesting endeavor for us.”

Johnson, 74, has seen 6 playoff berths for the Jets in his tenure as owner, most recently in 2010, when the team lost in the AFC Championship to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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