Meet Bruce Buck (pictured left), the Chelsea FC chairman, member of Roman Abramovich’s inner circle, and London managing partner of giant US law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
During his journey to the pinnacle of law, Buck has traded heavily on his reputation for being hard-headed, and even curmudgeonly. “Nothing is a natural fit with my personality, because my personality is grumpy. There aren’t too many cultures that fit with that,” he once told The Lawyer magazine, proudly.
Buck is most definitely not the sort of man who’d, for example, get carried away by a few good early season football results to publicly issue an excitable prediction that would turn out to be embarrassingly wrong.
On 6 October last year, speaking to the BBC, a chirpy Buck said this of freshly-installed Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas: “He has really been able to relate to the players. He is a very organised guy who really understands football.”
Throwing caution to the wind, the City lawyer – on whose judgement rests billion pound deals – continued: “We do envy Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in terms of longevity, but it shouldn’t be longevity for longevity’s sake. It has to be the right guy in the job for 10 or 15 years and, in light of Andre’s age, he may well be that guy,”
Not a little giddily, Buck added: “Everyone thinks [Villas-Boas’] age might have been a negative but it’s a positive.”
On Sunday, just five months after Buck’s comments, Andre Villas-Boas was sacked amid rumours of a player revolt. His brief tenure saw him become Chelsea’s worst performing manager in a decade.