It looks black for Blues if Roman can’t get in

"YOU ain't got no 'istry," is an enemy chant that Chelsea fans turned into their own defiant battle cry. But as they celebrate a 15th trophy win in 15 years, they are now wondering if they have much of a future.

The FA Cup winners are in a mess. Their manager is begging for the sack. The star player is demanding better signings. Others are eyeing the exit. The stadium project is stalled. And the owner hasn't got his visa.

Of course, Chelsea have been in a mess before. Many times. They thrive on the chaos theory. If turning a post-Fergie Man United around looks like refloating the Titanic, Chelsea can do it overnight.

From 10th place to champions; from a thrashing in Naples to kings of Europe; from Scolari refuseniks to FA Cup winners; from Champions League flops to Double winners. They write their own "istry".

But as they woke up on Monday morning, Blues fans wouldn't have been sure whether they were suffering the mother of all hangovers or their worst nightmare: could the Roman empire be about to fall?

It may be a blip, a bureaucratic bungle or a bit of misfiling. Nothing untoward. The delay just part of the chilling of relations between Britain and Russia following Spygate. He may have got it by the time you read this.

But for the first time since half the Soviet Union's oil wealth became their transfer kitty, the unthinkable is being thought: he couldn't, could be?

Even if Roman Abramovich is denied entry to Britain, it does not mean he would leave the club. There are plenty of absentee owners and he's been absent quite a bit himself. But there's already been an ominous feeling that he's losing interest.

The slashing of spending, the frustrations over the stadium, another divorce and the fact that Chelsea have won everything anyway have all suggested he is no longer living the dream.

This season in particular he's not been the trigger-happy owner that managers feared to look in the eye. If he had been, Antonio Conte would have been sleeping with the fishes since September.

No one has tested the Russian's patience more. Not even Jose Mourinho. Roberto di Matteo won the supreme prize but his face didn't fit. Luis Felipe Scolari caused a dressing room revolt, AVB lacked authority. Carlo Ancelotti barely raised his left eyebrow. All got the thumbs down.

But Conte has questioned the competence of Abramovich's chosen people as well as the club's ambition. His sins have been cardinal yet he's survived. For the owner to tolerate this level of insubordination just to avoiding paying him off could be telling.

If he's not feeling the pinch – scraping by on his last £9 billion (RM48 billion) – it's a new message he's sending out: Chelsea no longer offer the most sumptuous buffet on the managerial gravy train.

He wants them to be self-sufficient and no longer dependent on his handouts. And the ace he once had in his hand has been trumped – Man City are richer. They also have Pep Guardiola, the manager he tried so desperately to woo.

Although he has enjoyed consistent success, there is still a gnawing sense of unfulfilment. His dream was not just to win but to win with style and Chelsea have for the most part been a bit too workaday for that.

And he's not had the best of luck. He was denied the Holy Grail in his home town by John Terry's slip and a year later in the semifinal against Barcelona there were those penalty claims. And when he did win it, it was with a manager he didn't rate.

Off the field, it has been even more frustrating. Almost since he arrived in 2003, he's wanted to move from Stamford Bridge. But a forensic search of central London produced only Battersea power station that was big and close enough.

But the chance of an iconic backdrop was lost when he was outbid by none other than a Malaysian consortium. So it was back to the drawing board and a rebuilt Bridge.

But the planning rules and rights of obstructive neighbours have driven him – a man who rode roughshod over the old Soviet Union – to distraction.

And now, when all that has been finally sorted, he finds that Wembley stadium, where they'll have to play for at least two seasons while the new stadium is built, could be sold to the owner of Fulham, of all people.

The home of football may never be the same after Shahid Khan has done with it as he has big plans for gridiron among other desecrations. Slotting home games around them on a pitch that has been defiled the day before is not part of the master plan.

Abramovich loves the club too much to leave Chelsea in the lurch but the days of unlimited largesse – outbidding the rest – are already over. If he can't come back, its days as a super club might be over too.

It would mean no more silly money – either for players or managers – no more ridiculous payoffs; some seasons in the Europa League and the top four would still be aspired to but not the default setting. It could also mean fewer trophies.

The new stadium? Only he knows. Whatever happens, at least the fans will be able to look back fondly – and even shout about – their "istry". It wouldn't be much consolation.