From Stamford Bridge To …… Where Exactly?

There has been an amazing smoke and mirrors, game going on that even David Blaine would be proud of. Why oh why such a big fuss over the CPO shares and why now? This sort of housekeeping as said by the club, should really have been attended to long ago, so what has really changed?

We must assume it’s the UEFA new rules on expenditure (really where else in business as sport is not a sport any more its business) do you get these crazy rules saying what you can and cannot do with your revenue. Chelsea FC is a business, but is being told by some organisation how it spends its money…. how the hell can that be enforceable? We have 25 plus countries in Europe, all with different rules depending where you live; some funds are more transparent than others. Plus the fact is the PL is by far the most attractive football product, which gives English clubs the edge in the money game.

Since when have UEFA been the guardians of European football? All very nice of them to care so deeply about our future survival, but I’m sure with their track record it much more sinister than that, the gut feeling it to limit the dispersal of power from the old guard of clubs and stop the new rich not just taking over the party, but taking control away from UEFA, that’s the real concern.

However, we are told that the club has been reviewing the situation of SB for many years. Look we know that, and most of us supporters knew back in 1997 that SB’s capacity was going to be to low for the future, if we were going to sustain any consistent success, the hotel behind the shed was a novel idea at the time but, it’s a real disaster on the football front.

From a sweeping bowl of a stadium to quite a compact ground, SB is still a bit of a mishmash of a ground, the shed capacity of 6,831 is about half what it should have been, and even trimming up the old east stand which is really restricted at the rear, I can’t see being able to do much with The Mathew Harding either, and if we tinkered around a bit the best we could really get would be 53-54,000, which is still way short of the projected 60-65,000 now being quoted by RG.

 Health and Safety has strangled the club, and really the access debate, restricting our capacity has some minor merits, it has really been over played, the club is basally right our current site is to small for what we want.

Of course SB is prime real estate, we knew that 20 years ago, but never had the clout to do anything about it, survival was the name of the game, not challenging for the European cup and a global TV audience. Success was a sound upper mid table place and getting to a cup final… how times have changed.

So if SB is not big enough, I’m not saying the club have not tried, I’m sure they have, but I’m also sure they knew many years ago that SB was not a viable long term future, In the wake of the CPO farce and yes it’s a farce, give a Chelsea supporter a chance to put the boot in and he will even if it means damaging ourselves in the process, and people say we don’t have history oh yes we do, we are often our own worse enemies.

Regardless if you were a yes or no voter, I’m convinced the club had a site short listed and was working away quietly to broker a deal, a deal now which considering recent events has possibly changed. (However I do think now we are maybe on a win win situation, even with the CPO farce) The local council has gone public it will bend over backwards to help the club… then it threw in the comment “ to stay at Stamford Bridge”….  Which could be we will help you all we can to stay in our revenue area… read that how you like, but no way will the council let Chelsea leave the area without a fight to keep our tax revenue…. So is Earl’s Court back on the agenda? The one thing about Earls Court, its even closer to the now defunked Lillie Bridge Grounds home of the 2nd FA Cup final

Look at it this way, if Hackney Council are prepared to invest several million in grants to help Tottenham stay where they are, and they are one of the poorest councils in London, what do you think H & F will do to keep Chelsea?… I know how councils work, I’ve been a councillor…. Money talks and they need that revenue now more than ever; I’ve seen the budget cuts planned for the next few years.

We also announced that there is to be a stadium sponsor in the new year, great news, more funded revenue, talks must have been on going for sometime, this is another long term project, I’m very keen to see who it will be I’ve already got my favourite and if its true it will be a big coup for the club…. I’ll just say it’s the world’s number one brand!

This also adds a double edge, Stamford Bridge mostly won’t be called Stamford Bridge anymore, and I’ll be surprised if it’s incorporated in the new name. Little by little we are adjusting to change, so when the right move does come along, we are less attached to SB, than we once were. For my two-penny worth, it means little to me now, my SB died when the old shed was knocked down, there also went my childhood and teenage years. Don’t get me wrong I still like SB, but it does not have the same emotional attachment anymore.

So who or where was the possible new site…. I’d have plumped for Nine Elms / Battersea power station. Why?

Well we have looked at it before, in 2008, it was reported that we were seriously interested, but the club make a clear denial and any project was not solicited by the club, and we had not considered moving to this site in Battersea. (The plans were quite in-depth for the stadium and quite detailed for it to be unsolicited) I’d say the time was not right, several other projects were already approved for the site, and Real Estate Opportunities (REO) owners had approved plans on a project. Maybe we were still looking at Earls Court.

However, that project has stalled due to funding issues, however this site is massive, enough I think for REO to rebuild the Power Station and do what it wants with it and we can use the land for our new stadium could work well for both parties, of course government funded transport links are required… interesting.

REO lacks funding, the banks supporting them on the 1st September 2011 announced they would give REO more time to find another equity partner, time to talk to Chelsea FC maybe? 19th September 23,000 euros was donated to the conservative party by a developer, early October Chelsea approach CPO to buy back the ownership, with the proviso that the club will not move more than 3 miles by 2020.

Now 2020 is a very interesting date, it’s had me puzzled for weeks why pick that out of the air, there has to be a reason. Well REO’s planning consent was to complete the repair of Battersea power station by 2016 and the remaining Nine Elm’s by 2020!

Nine Elms has some interesting history but that’s for another day.

In short I’m sure the club knows what it wants to do, no business dithers for 7 years on its future, I’m sure we will move and in 5-7 year period or as long as the stadium sponsorship lasts, that gives us time to buy back the CPO shares, sell SB and build another ground.

Is that wood I can see from them there trees?

Posted by ‘Voltaire’

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6 thoughts on “From Stamford Bridge To …… Where Exactly?

  • Brian

    Tickets for the Man City game now on sale at 2 per ST Holder Member.

    With only 13000 tickets available for members per game – almost every game goes to general sale – harldy an indicator of a desperate queue awaiting the privelege of watching Chelsea play.

    Chelsea have completely botched this and seem intent – led by a halfwitted Gourlay – to alienate, upset and belittle supporters of the club. Always had to accept that the club dont really give a toss about the support but we now seemed to have moved into active dislike from the club to the support.

    Just shows that the key requirements in reaching top roles is not ability, skill, knowledge or tactical or strategic awareness – simply a big mouth, hide like a rhinoceros and an ability to BS non stop. How sad.


    I think we will move from stamford bridge in 2020

  • Paul O'Brien

    Excellent post!

  • Basford

    Great article!

  • The problem is the smokescreens put up by the club that seem to have worked on you, they have hinted that Earls Court is an option when it 100% is not, a deal has been done worth millions more than Chelsea could ever afford , that also now has clause worth millions if it doesn’t go ahead, and Chelsea know this. Even Nine Elms is too close to the new American embassy for security reasons it won’t happen. So the question is why do the club hint at possible sights that they know are not viable?

  • Battersea Blue

    I’m afraid Coxy is right – the club are not being honest as usual – there are no viable sites within 3 miles – they’ve let them all pass by. Both sites favoured in the article, Earls Court and Battersea, now have planning permission for residential development, and the Battersea site is not big enough without knocking down the Power Station anyway, which is a listed building ! The Royal Mail site in Nine Elms would have been big enough but not now the Yanks are building their new embassy next door. Facts are it’s Stamford Bridge or oblivion out in Twickenham, Cobham or god knows where.

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