Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he was close to investing in Chelsea before Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the club.
Ecclestone has an estimated personal fortune of over £2 billion
Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, the head of the Renault team, were "interested" in the club before Abramovich took over in 2003.
"We had the money OK and were definitely interested," Ecclestone told the Sunday Express.
"We weren't outbid - we just got fed up with all the ins and outs."
Ecclestone, who was not a football fan before his Chelsea interest, has now become hooked and watches the newly-crowned Premiership champions from one of Abramovich's private boxes at Stamford Bridge.
"It was one of those things that seemed a great idea at the time and Flavio and I were deadly serious," said Ecclestone, who has an estimated personal fortune of £2bn.
"But then you get fed up and don't want to bother any more. And you say: 'To hell with it' - and that's what happened.
"It is probably as well that Roman was the buyer. I don't think I would have forked out anything near as much money as Roman has to put the team on the world football map."