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Chelsea Terrace Talk – Irish Examiner Article By Trizia

I CANNOT believe that the England captaincy is still making headlines in the papers isn’t it time to just move on? Ferdinand acting like some scorned Victorian maiden is obviously not helping matters, and the Press’s best attempts to resurrect the original molehill has been enough to keep the embers of the story burning, while providing enough encouragement to the England boo boys to continue their campaign against JT and by association, the other Chelsea players. After all, why focus on what’s best for the team when there is clearly another witch hunt to be instigated.
 
With John Terry as captain, England have won 75% of games under Capello. That drops to 67% under Gerrard’s captaincy and 57% under Ferdinand. There is nothing else to be said.
 
But back to domestic matters – and some worrying news is beginning to leak out about a ground move out of the borough and to a not so salubrious part of North West London. As much as I am a tradionalist, I am also a realist and although I hoped that I would be long gone before a move away from Stamford Bridge was on the cards, I understand why the powers that be feel that such a move is necessary for us to compete.
 
Personally, I think that there could be more inventive ways of generating increased revenue – after all, isn’t that why we pay such exorbitant sums of money to the men in the grey suits? That aside, Chelsea moving ground will be a contentious subject and one will split opinion radically amongst the supporter ranks. I imagine that I would probably be in the minority in terms of preferring to stay where we are and make the best of what we have – but then forever success has never been the basis for my support. I’ve seen us win the league, more than once, I can die happy. This is a selfish view I know.
 
I could accept (although not easily) a move away from Stamford Bridge, if we remained in the borough, or even pitched up in neighbouring Kensington& Chelsea – anywhere else, Chelsea just wouldn’t be Chelsea. I appreciate that suitable sites in these two boroughs are scarce and if one were to be identified, probably horrifically expensive, but we are Chelsea Football Club – not Oak Green Football Club, or  Harlesden FC
 
I don’t want to move to some lifeless bowl in the middle of a wasteland “ear-marked for regeneration”. I may be being a tad over-romantic here, but a football club is more than a team and its fans that can be moved independently to anywhere and still retain the essence of what it was. A football club inherently absorbs its surroundings and in turn so do its supporters. It’s what makes a club special to its fans – the sum of its parts. When I was younger the excitement would begin as we crossed Putney Bridge and would intensify as we turned right onto New King’s Road. Then we would proceed onto the world famous King’s Road proper and once parked up we would strain to see who would see the top of the East Stand first. The familiar streets, the regular watering holes, the recognisable faces – all mixing, in Chelsea’s case, with the high end boutiques, the Chelsea “set”, the multi-million pound houses. It’s what has made Chelsea unique for over 100 years.
 
A new ground would open a new chapter which would eventually produce its own history. I understand that, but to make the transition successfully and retain the majority of its support, the soul of the club must remain – otherwise, it will, in effect be a new club, in a new borough, in a new ground – not Chelsea FC – not “my” Chelsea. And to be able to keep its soul, in my opinion, it needs to remain within the same area.
 
It’s an emotive subject and something that will occupy many column inches in the future but a club needs not only to take into account what it will gain from such a move but also what it would lose. Corporate “fans” are playing a bigger and bigger part these days in the fortunes of football clubs. You could build the best corporate facilities in the world, but if they are in a ground located in one of the most deprived areas in the country, would they really want to go? Debateable I think.
 
Often, those in favour of a move to a new stadium will claim that an increased capacity will mean cheaper tickets overall – I don’t think I have seen one instance where this has been the case. Also, a new stadium doesn’t actually guarantee anything no matter what those championing a move will tell you. In fact, it is actually a huge risk. This club was nearly bought to its knees by the building of the East Stand! The point is, you don’t know what is round the corner so to commit to possibly hund eds of millions of pounds to a move which may see you actually alienate a portion of your hard core support is at best, risky, and at worse, catastrophic. And that’s before you even get into the “would we fill a 60,000 seater stadium week in week out” argument.
 
But enough of this (for now), luckily we have an actual football match this weekend to divert my attention temporarily from this potential path of doom. Still lot’s to play for, including London bragging rights, so – come on Chelsea!

Discussion

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  1. Good piece as usual Trizia but, just to confirm, the rumoured site, despite being in NW10, is also in Hammersmith & Fulham.

    Posted by mrparkersdogbite | March 30, 2011, 5:11 pm

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