As technical director at Chelsea, overseeing recruitment at all levels, and with the ear of Roman Abramovich, he is one of the most powerful men in world football.

Emenalo’s rise on to the Chelsea board, and into Abramovich’s trust, is one of the more surprising stories of the modern era at the club. All of the other board members have long-standing business ties with the owner.

Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, a corporate lawyer, worked on the deal to sell 72 per cent of Sibneft, Abramovich’s oil company, to Gazprom for $13bn in 2005. Marina Granovskaia worked for Abramovich at Sibneft for years and is his most trusted adviser. Eugene Tenenbaum was head of corporate finance at Sibneft, and also goes way back with Abramovich. They belong to a remarkably tight group, and have worked with each other for years all over the world.

Yet, Emenalo, a Nigerian ex-pro and coach, has risen to an influential role among them. He is the only one on the board with direct football experience, which makes him an authority on football issues.



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