TROPHYLESS: Chelsea won zero silverware this season Photo: EPA
On the verge of Russia 2018 kicking off and I’m still fending off mail regarding the apparent collapse of Chelsea Football Club.

Can we give it a break for a little while?

Not that I’m bothered in the slightest, but it gets a bit tedious repeating my response to, what is, stupid banter with no foundation

OK, I don’t have the answers and with the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge on hold following the UK Home Office refusing Roman Abramovich a visa, it appears, yes, that it’s all going pear-shaped in West London.

That, of course, coupled with the club’s silence over coach and player movement, makes a compelling story for haters of the Blues who have jumped on the Armageddon bandwagon.

I swear to you guys, I haven’t lost a minute’s sleep.

VISA PROBLEMS: Roman Abramovic Photo: EPA

I’m not one of those Chelsea fans slagging off Roman and the board. I’m a realist and I’m used to the coming and going at my club. I’m used to the piss-taking and the rumour.

But guess what? I’m also used to a constant stream of silverware clogging up our trophy cabinet.

For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I hate the modern money game.

I was happier standing on cracked concrete terraces and playing in the second division.

It was honest, it was hand-on-the-heart stuff - everything that football ain’t today.

If I could, I’d stop supporting Chelsea. But I can’t.

It’s been a journey that’s spanned nearly half a century. It’s in the blood.

So you’re not getting under my skin.

I’ve been there and back, the good, the bad and the craziness of a multi-billionaire bringing untold success.

What is for sure is that with Russian money or not, Chelsea FC is now a global brand and whether it’s Abramovich or not, the work has been done to place us within the football elite.

What will upset the peanut gallery is the news that Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe (founder, chairman and majority owner of chemicals firm Ineos) has reportedly offered Abramovich £2 billion for the club.

Yep, that’s three quarters of a billion over the club’s current valuation!

TYCOON: Prospective billionaire buyer Jim Ratcliffe Photo: Twitter

A bid that would see Roman make a huge profit from the billion he’s invested.

Let’s put Jimmy’s wealth in perspective his net value is approximately five times that of the Manchester United-owning Glazer family.

The type of cash resource that could buy the top 11 players in the world plus a coach, without batting an eyelid.

So let’s not get too carried away. There’s no difference between any of the top-end sides today, money buys success, and it’s simply a lottery with regards to who will be doing what over the next few years.

For all we know, some Chinese tycoon might takeover at Southampton and suddenly there’s a new face turning the top six into a top seven.

But anyway, it’s World Cup time and more so than ever a stage for the planet’s best to showcase their value ahead of what should be a fast and furious transfer scramble mid-July.

I’m struggling to predict the outright winner, although Germany feel like the team to beat currently.

The bookies, however, have other ideas with Neymar’s Brazil being backed as favourites to lift the trophy (9/2), with Germany (5/1), France (13/2) and Spain (13/2) the next three.

There’s a long drop to the chasing pack, with Argentina given odds of 10/1, Belgium 11/1 and old hopefuls England at an embarrassing 20/1.

Of course, as per usual, Gareth Southgate and his young, more attacking squad are creating that four-yearly sense of patriotic hope!

But I’m not holding my breath.

Follow Nick on Twitter: @thehonestnick