The actual football has taken a bit of a back seat in the last couple of weeks due to off field issues regarding the pitch ownership.
In its most simplistic terms – Chelsea pitch owners are being asked to vote yes to a motion to sell the freehold of Stamford Bridge back to the club. The club claim that the timing of this is not significant in any way and it is simply a “housekeeping” issue. They claim that no new site has been identified for a potential new stadium and that they haven’t even actually decided whether they are going to leave Stamford Bridge or not. Yet, they have offered shareholders that vote yes, priority in the selection of season tickets in the new stadium and their name displayed in a “wall of fame”….but they haven’t decided to leave the Bridge or have a new stadium planned or anything….
I could go into every aspect of this issue as it has many factions and varying opinions and this really is one of those instances where no one is right or wrong – it is totally subjective.
As far as I am concerned, I believe, that in the long run, fans will always do what they feel is best for the club
For me there are two main issues here – the first one is geography. Chelsea is a London club. Not only is it a London club, but more than any other I think it is associated totally with the particular part of London where it is situated. The King’s Road, the well-heeled, the bars, restaurants and boutique shops – the buzz of a metropolitan hub – Chelsea would not be Chelsea in some wasteland in the arse-end of nowhere.
I believe that Abramovich is here for the duration. I believe that he wants what is best for the club and has become a real fan since he took over. I believe he is not in it for the money and is fully committed to making Chelsea as successful as ever.
But I do not believe that he feels that location is that important – he does not feel that association between area and club. The club will only commit to move within a three mile radius in the next eight years – a new stadium in the next 8 years is simply not going to happen – and everyone knows that.
I am a realist, and although it will break my heart, I accept that we are going to have to move but where to? If the club announced tomorrow that they had secured a site at Imperial Wharf, or Battersea, or Earls Court, I would vote yes tomorrow. The question that even I can’t answer, is how far away am I willing to accept – when does Chelsea cease being Chelsea? It is a question which varies from supporter to supporter. One of the guys that sits next to me said that he would accept as far out as Richmond or Cobham – that’s not London – neither geographically or spiritually.
The other big issue with me is asking us to give up such a powerful institution – something that is almost unique in football. We have all heard that the long term future of the club is secure – that Abramovich intends his son to take over eventually providing long term security. But how does he know that? When Gus Mears left the club to his children he thought he was securing the long term security of the club and look at how that turned out. This is why CPO was established.
With all the best will in the world, once Abramovich senior has gone, who is to say that Junior will even be interested? What’s to prevent him losing the family fortune at the casino tables of the world? The possibilities are endless. So why not establish CPO at the new ground wherever it is? Makes perfect sense – should the unthinkable ever happen, it would protect against potential buyers more interested in a quick property deal than in the long term future of the club.
There is a widespread misunderstanding surrounding those of us who will be voting no on the 27th – and that is that we are sentimentalists who want to see Chelsea at Stamford Bridge forever, no matter what the circumstances – that is not true – certainly in my case and in that of most who I have spoken to. No does not mean never. It means we want more information, more assurances and more transparency before we say yes – and it seems that at the moment, the only way to negotiate that is a no vote in the interim. But back to the football.
QPR this weekend – RELEASE THE DOGS OF WAR!! This is a MUST win game!! Local pride dictates that we must crush them – this time, it’s personal.