Marina Granovskaia makes Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge returns

Marina Granovskaia, Bruce set to leave Chelsea after Abramovich report

Marina Granovskaia has returned to Chelsea twice over the past month, but the club’s former director was not a guest of the Clearlake Capital-Todd Boehly owners on either occasion.

Chelsea hosted a ‘legends of Europe’ game in tribute to Gianluca Vialli on Saturday night with a number of the club’s 2012 Champions League winners playing against a Bayern Munich team.

A host of former players and staff members were invited back for the game and it is understood Granovskaia went as a guest of friends, rather than being asked by Clearlake or Boehly.

A number of supporters at the game spotted Granovskaia sitting in the middle tier of the West Stand at Stamford Bridge and Telegraph Sport has confirmed it was her.

It has also emerged that Granovskaia was seen at the Game4Ukraine charity match at the start of August, when she is believed to have purchased general admission tickets.

Chelsea have confirmed that Granovskaia was not invited by the club’s owners on either occasion and that she has not been a guest of theirs at Stamford Bridge since leaving.

Granovskaia’s departure from Chelsea was announced at the end of June last year, less than a month after Clearlake and Boehly bought the club from former owner Roman Abramovich.

She is still fondly remembered by a large group of former players, illustrated by the fact Didier Drogba paid tribute to Granovskaia before the start of last season.

Drogba last year posted a message on Instagram that read: “First of all, I want to thank Marina for always supporting me in the good moments and even the difficult moments at the club, when most people were criticising me for saying loud (maybe a bit too loud actually) and clear what I felt unfair (Champions League CFC v Barcelona 2009 ).

“Only Marina and a handful of people understood it as someone who cared for the club, the badge and the fans. Her contribution to this club is beyond what people on the outside know. Over 19 years she worked so hard to build a world class club and to keep the blue flag flying high in the world of football.”

During Granovskaia’s time at the club, Chelsea completed the full set of Champions League, Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, Super Cup and Club World Cup successes and, in 2021, she was awarded ‘Best Club Director in European football’ at the Italian-run Golden Boy awards.

Granovskaia effectively ran Chelsea for Abramovich during the final years of his ownership and worked on the sale of the club to Clearlake and Boehly, having, according to the club’s website, “acted as a representative of the owner at the club and in support of the board of directors” since 2010.

A Russian-Canadian, who graduated from Moscow State University and started work for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, the oil company he then owned, Granovskaia moved to England shortly after Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and joined the club’s plc and football club boards in 2013.

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