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Chelsea Terrace Talk – Irish Examiner Article By Trizia

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.

Discussion

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  1. I don’t have any shares (was 8 in 1993) but it seems to me that the club are asking shareholders to have blind faith in the club, and I think that that is just unrealistic no matter what Abramovich has done.
    As the article points out – Roman could and probably is the real deal but what about after him and then bloke after him.
    Seems to me that the shareholders are custodians of the club as well as the pitch and should not sell unless they are absolutely certain that what has been planned is for the good of chelsea and it seems that no-one is prepared to legally make those promises.

    Posted by Bez | October 19, 2011, 11:47 am
    • And that is all some people want – some assurances

      Posted by Trizia | October 19, 2011, 2:55 pm
      • The point that I think has been missed by a number of people is Bruce Buck’s statement that if we do not move the investment in the club will be hard to sustain and that the quality of player will decline.
        If we vote no I suspect we may end up back in the top-6-looking-forward-to-the-odd-cup mode that we were in the 1996-2004 period.

        Posted by Fraser Bailey | October 19, 2011, 9:08 pm
        • Reminder of what the club says. Thisis the real driver – if we don’t expand we will fall back, probably to the level of Sp*rs and the like.

          “Most of our major competitors in England and in Europe have, or are planning, substantially
          larger stadia than Stamford Bridge, which will allow them to generate additional revenue and
          thereby enable them to attract and retain world class players. The Club will only be able to
          continue to do this if it can increase its own revenues.”

          Posted by Fraser Bailey | October 19, 2011, 9:14 pm
          • Fraser – no does not mean never – we just want some assurances – why can’t the club give us those?

            How far are you willing to move?

            Posted by Trizia | October 20, 2011, 7:51 pm
  2. I agree with Trizia that the local promise is pretty empty given that any large project in London takes years to plan never mind build – this will include any potential redevelopment of the bridge. The only ‘quick’ solution would be out of town which none of us want.

    Posted by David Morrell | October 19, 2011, 1:13 pm
  3. One further point – given the FFP rules coming into force soon, perhaps Roman will want to personally buy the Stamford Bridge site for an inflated price (a la Real Madrid) as a way of injecting funds into the club. Many top clubs abroad don’t actually own a ground.

    Posted by David Morrell | October 19, 2011, 1:25 pm
  4. People need to understand that the only real constant in a football club is its fans – as great as Roman has been – the fans have the power and they must make the choice and that is as it should be.

    Posted by Tony P | October 19, 2011, 2:38 pm
  5. I am a CPO, I have completed proxy form to vote no. Like Trizia I am more than happy to consider moving, the world changes and we have to change with it. In fact I would go further and say that I favour moving, I would like tonse CFC self sufficient and at the top table. Chelseas insulting offer to me and the cack handed way they have handled it, coupled with the dipstick that is Gourlay mean that I am voting no. Abramovich is human, he will die, he could die tomorrow, or be arrested etc etc. No mater how much he has done the current proposal is not the right answer.

    Posted by Brian | October 20, 2011, 8:07 am
  6. Good article – good comments – what Fraser failed to digest was that nobody is saying ‘no never’!
    Show CPO some respect – show CPO some guarantees – and show CPO some realistic plans – and it’s a YES !

    Posted by D. Spring | October 20, 2011, 11:44 am
  7. Trizia – has this been raised at the fans forum? If so, what was said?

    Posted by psm | October 22, 2011, 1:41 pm

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