Enlarged Stamford Bridge should be CFCs future

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Enlarged Stamford Bridge should be CFC’s future

Friday March 9, 2012

Chelsea Football Club’s future should be at Stamford Bridge and an expanded stadium is possible, the local council said today.

The 2010 Premier League champions voiced concerns last week that a 60,000 new-build stadium on their current central Fulham site would cost over £600million and that the planning risks would be ‘insurmountable’.

A Chelsea Football Club (CFC) statement claimed: ‘It is clear that a complete new build of a 60,000-seat stadium has little chance of acceptability and that after discussions with the local council, they have come to the same conclusion.’

However, Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council has today (March 9) said that, while it recognises that expanding the Blues’ historic home to 60,000 would not be easy or cheap, it is feasible to add capacity in a way that would benefit the club and local businesses, and would not unreasonably affect residents.

The alternative of moving away from Stamford Bridge to gain extra match day revenue from a bigger stadium could cost much more than £600million, according to the council.

Stamford Bridge currently has a capacity of 41,837 making it the eighth largest ground in the Premier League but CFC wants to generate extra match day income so it can compete with rivals like Manchester United and Arsenal.

A CFC proposal to buy the freehold of its 107-year home last year from current owners, Chelsea Pitch Owners, was rejected. Many observers saw the move as an attempt to clear the way for a possible departure from The Bridge but the council has said that the club should continue to explore ways to add capacity to their current stadium.

Cllr Nick Botterill, H&F Council's deputy leader, says: “Stamford Bridge is Chelsea’s historic home and the council believes it should be their future home. We want the Blues to stay at Stamford Bridge and, if it can be done sensibly without negatively affecting local people, increase the ground's capacity so they can retain their position as one of Europe’s top clubs.

“We cannot comment on the financial conclusions CFC has drawn but it is very likely that any move away from Fulham would cost far more than either the £600million the club claims it would cost to rebuild its current ground or the cost of upgrading and expanding the existing Stamford Bridge structures.

“We are proud to be the only borough in the country with three Premier League Clubs and we do not want our local businesses and residents to lose out on the economic and social benefits that this brings. CFC is a thriving business which contributes significant benefits to the area and we will continue to work closely with CFC to explore all possible avenues for keeping the club here at their original home."

Opened in 1877, Stamford Bridge was used by the London Athletics Club until 1905, when new owner Gus Mears founded Chelsea Football Club to occupy the ground. CFC has played its home games there ever since. It has undergone numerous major changes over the years - most recently in the 1990s when it was renovated into a modern, all-seated stadium.

» Send us your comments now

NEVER HEARD OF Chelsea FC? lol!!!!! hahaha joke!!! its up there in big letters!!u blind mate! Living there for 35 years blind! couldnt u hear blue is the color? Listen mate! dont come to an area where theres football if u dont like it! Stay away! the area is posh only cause the clubs around! if we left ur place that costs so much now will be a joke! Take it or leave it! we have been here and shall always be here. Chelsea was formed for stamford bridge and not the other way round. We could lose the right to call ourselves chelsea if we leave! do u know that? no u dont. do u know what it feels like to lose ur culture? No u dont cause u have none!!! What is chelsea? we are the heart and soul of that area! Carefree!!!we love u chelsea its all we have to love!!! dont take it away from us!!!!
From Stefan-Kai on 07/06/2012 at 19:29
As a local resident living near the Stamford Bridge football ground, I am alarmed and disappointed that H&F (Hammersmith & Fulham)council are prioritising profit and business far over and above their H&F residents. There should be greater balance in meeting both needs of business and residents.
I have lived in the area for over 28 years and can state that the behaviour of football fans on match days has got much worse with urination in the streets, vandalism, litter, binge drinking and poorly managed traffic blighting the area EVERY TIME there is a football match.
Until the council gets a better control of this situation on match days, for the benefit of everyone including their residents, the council are in no position to lend their diluted support for the club to stay let alone enlarge.
H&F council saying that an enlarged Stamford bridge stadium "would not unreasonably affect residents" is grossly misguided and boarders on the arrogant.
Please could Hammersmith & Fulham Council meet its duty and manage football matches more professionally, before jumping the gun and going against what most of your hard working, council tax paying and council voting H&F residents want.
From Local Residents Say NO on 31/05/2012 at 11:13
I spoke with a fellow restaurant owner today who informs me that on Saturday matchdays they do in the region of 400 covers at average over 40 a head. On European evenings fewer covers but with much larger drinks spend. They estimate over 500,000 a year of business which they would not expect from a redeveloped Stamford Bridge. Their landlords should be told that future leases have to include downward provision for rent which would become a millstone if Chelsea move and the Council should also realise that the vibrant shopping and eating and bars would be decimated. The reduced rent would massively impace on Council tax income with residents suffering the increase to make good the shortfall. How many local job losses? There are many aspects affected by the freed of the oilygarch.
From Peter Brown on 19/03/2012 at 03:02
Fantastic refreshing attitude from the council - well done and about time! Also nice to have the club's bluff called again - yet more mis-information from 'the firm' about redevelopment possibilities, it seems they will do anything to trowser that 1B in potential profit if they sell up.
Oh, and anyone who has lived near the ground for less than 107 years really has no business complaining about congestion on match days!
From Blue Boy on 14/03/2012 at 00:20
Stumbled across this thread. Portsmouth Council have done a lot to try and help our club whilst foreign investors have grabbed the property and now try to harangue the Council into assisting in our demise. There are very rough times ahead and it will be a shame for every one who loves football, even Southampton fans if they lose the chance to have a go at us forever. Chelsea - you are so lucky to have a Council stand up to the vast resources of a man who has boats worth more than your club whilst his countrymen can only look inward. Who knows what will happen in the Bereshovsky court case but win or lose there will be an appeal and your owner may need to run for money. I just hope they are not carving other property up between their mates the way it has happened down here, and the way they tried to carve CPO up as explained by the Dan King articles in The Sun newspaper. Never thought I would praise that paper. Strange times.
From Steve Portsmouth on 13/03/2012 at 16:24
I am also a local resident and must stress that if it was not for Chelsea Football Club being in its present location the new Fulham Broadway shopping centre would probably not have ever been built. In fact many shops, pubs and restaurants along the Fulham Road would collapse financially if the football club were to be relocated. My concerns would be that the area would become like many other desolate high streets up and down the country.
I must confess that parking becomes more difficult when matches are played, but that is a small price to pay for the vibrant shopping facilities that we all presently enjoy. To lose that would be a travesty for my family and friends who benefit daily by living in the vicinity.
I don`t know the politics of the football club, I`m not a supporter, but feel the council have a duty to do everything in their power to ensure that Fulham Road and the Broadway remains and flourishes in its present state. After all that is why many of us bought properties in the area in the 1st place.
If the area becomes desolate I for one will want a council tax reduction.
From Peter Moore on 13/03/2012 at 14:07
Being a resident in Battersea I`m quite amazed that people who bought their houses in the close proximity of Stamford Bridge are complaining about the club being on their doorstep and all the problems that entails. Why move them to my area I ask, do you think me and my fellow neighbours will be happy?
80,000 crowds were quite common in years gone past, it`s the clubs spiritual home and should remain there.
From what I can see the present ground is very expensive real estate that can be redeveloped and one must wonder whether this is the real motive.
The council should do everthing in its power to allow expansion rather than allow the present owner to rip out the identity of one of London`s football clubs.
From christopher standish on 12/03/2012 at 21:16
I have lived in the area for many years and also operate my business locally. I am certain that if Chelsea moved away my business would not generate the local trade that the many games produce. I do not find the games intrusive to my personal life - we have lots of notice and know when to avoid the Fulham Road closures. It does seem a shame that the Club appear to have, at best, badly misunderstood their discussions with the council and at worst been less than candid. I hope a way can be found for Chelsea FC to stay at Stamford Bridge and if they should be moved that the Council will turn the area into a large park for residents rather than a development for rich occasional visitors to London.
From Local restauranteur on 12/03/2012 at 19:00
Don't know what prompted this about-turn suddenly when the club wants to leave and the council wants them to stay, but it is must be the most obvious solution for everyone, not to mention the cheapest, for the club to stay right where it is, and to those who say the club seems to be playing more games and the crowds seem to be getting bigger, which planet have you been living on?
League games used to be 21 a season, now there are only 19 of them, and crowds used to be 60, 70, 80,000, so not sure where you get your info from!
Finally, there is already controlled match day parking, I know because I live in the zone, and next year the district line is getting a massive upgrade- bigger new trains and more of them. That is no secret either, it is on TfL''s website! But don't let the facts get in the way of a good moan!
From douglas, Walham Green on 12/03/2012 at 15:57
I am a local resident and proud to have Chelsea FC close to where I live. It is a major employer and it would be to the detriment of Walham Green and the local area if the club moved away. Well done to the local council!!!
From Tony James on 12/03/2012 at 14:13
Keep Chelsea at Stamford Bridge! Let's keep this little bit of London's history alive and current!
From Camilla on 12/03/2012 at 14:10
To all the nimbys complaining about having a football club in their backyard, when you moved to the area I take it you didn't spot the large concrete structure with Chelsea FC prominently displayed at its front gates?

If everyone were to adopt your attitude there would be no pubs restaurants no cultural centres no museums no cinemas, just bland residential districts with nothing that could cause any noise or disruption (as all the above do) for said nimbys

We live in a fantastic vibrant city if you dont like the hustle and bustle do us all a favour and move
From malden blue on 12/03/2012 at 14:07
Delighted by the Council stating that it would be possible to redevelop Stamford Bridge, its great to know the council are supportive of Chelsea remaining in our home. The local council had rejected previous ideas throughout the mid 80's and this was due to maybe a conflict of interest due to Fulham fans being involved in senior positions within the borough.
I hope the council can work with Chelsea fc to make sure the situation is resolved as soon as possible.
Up the Chels!
From Joe Chelsea on 12/03/2012 at 12:50
In response to my earlier comments, several people have asked if I had not noticed CFC before I moved in. I moved to the area (Parsons Green) about 35 years ago and at the time I had never heard of CFC; I have never been to a football match in my life nor seen one on TV. The fact is that I am very aware of the club now because of the much increased road and tube congestion and the much more visible presence of the supporters, and I would guess that the vast majority is not local. If that is the case why does it matter where the stadium is? A few pubs may do well from the fans but it is hard to imagine that they have a positive effect on the local antique and specialist design shops. Why not formally ask the opinion of the locals and see what they think?
From ARY on 12/03/2012 at 11:40
LBHF should certainly not consent to anything without a constraint on parking by non-residents within at least a mile radius of Stamford Bridge. What about underground parking for fans under the development? If people want to watch football they should use public transport or paid parking. We are north of Lillie Road and if we want to park near home we daren't take the car out on match days, so we are the ones suffering. Several neighbours have had their cars towed because all the spaces were taken by fans. All the residents in my street are fed up and furious and, much against their wills, will have to settle for 7-day a week parking restrictions to stop this. But that will mean our visitors will have to pay. Let all football fans pay in designated areas if they use cars.
From hilberry on 11/03/2012 at 14:05
anyone who lives in Fulham, irrespective of whether they are football supporters or not, must be totally fed up of being trapped in or out of Fulham when Chelsea is playing at home. The District line tubes are full to breaking point all the time anyway and the football crowd just makes it even more unbearable. Driving anywhere is impossible on a match day. Let Chelsea FC go to Battersea Power station and sell their Fulham ground to make enough money to offset the move.
From tired fulham resident on 11/03/2012 at 11:42
I live in front of Stamford Bridge and although noisy I love to feel part of this incredible historical stadium. Can't see any other neighbour let alone another stadium. My dog and I spend the half an hour before and after the matches to look at Chelsea supporters from the window.Please make sure we keep it.. we feel the club mascotte and money is not everything afterall!
From Daniela on 10/03/2012 at 23:10
It`s all about money, Stamford Bridge can become a redeveloped housing complex with an estimated return of 1.6 billion pounds for its present owners. Therefore spending 600 million pounds on investing in a new site for the football club gives a nice healthy financial return for someone who wants his money back with interest ! Especially if the new site is then leased back. Its a no brainer.
From season ticket holder on 10/03/2012 at 09:58
What a ludicrous article. As an resident I cannot wait to see Chelsea FCC go. I am glad they have come to their senses. Please go now. I will gladly help you pack.
From Concerned Citizen on 10/03/2012 at 08:43
I'm a magpie and no lover of the blues but I can tell you when they change your stadium's name to Gazprom you''ll wish you had listened to the voices of concern. Russians do not have any need or understanding of Democracy. Fight for your club now or you'll have a long time to regret it. Abrahmovich owns nothing but a pile of debt don't let him swindle you.
From Toon Man. on 10/03/2012 at 07:26
As a long time CFC supporter and Pith Owner, I feel the club should exhaust all options to stay in the neighbourhood. My biggest issue with the CFC management is lack of honesty and transparency. This article does a nice job supporting my claims.

Let's keep the club at The Bridge and support the local economy.
From Reagan40 on 10/03/2012 at 07:12
Gate17scott. If they obtain the freehold from CPO what guarantee do you have that the money will be invested in a new stadium and where that new stadium is? Roman has boats worth more than the 600 million while Russian people starve. Will you feel so happy when Roman is repaid in full from the asset and the club is a tenant or as someone else says a new ground debt financed. Take a look at the history of Portsmouth with its myriad of foreign ownership? Given contracts for an appropriate new stadium and a land swap to continue the protection I would not disagree with you but Portsmouth shows we would be stupid to give up our unique protection and anyone decent should be ashsmed to promote it. I wonder what Richard Glanvill's concise mind would make of it.
From MHU on 10/03/2012 at 06:54
As a season ticket holder I welcome the council's answer to the club stating a move was inevitable. Whether it is or isn''t I hope this opens genuine dialogue and discussions as to whether my beloved club has a realistic future of staying at Stamford Bridge. I am a little puzzled that local residents are calling for a ''quiet life'' on the Fulham road. Did they not notice the football stadium when they moved in?!
From Blue1108 on 10/03/2012 at 06:24
We are proud to be the only borough in the country with three Premier League Clubs and we do not want our local businesses and residents to lose out on the economic and social benefits that this brings.
WHAT SOCIAL BENFITS DOES IT BRING TO LOCAL RESIDENTS....I ASK?
Having lived in the borough for 30 years between Craven Cottage and Stamford Bridge I have to say - this is a load of nonsense..match days are a nightmare for local residents whether they are held in the afternoon or in the evening; with traffic at a standstill in both directions down the New Kings Road, and often blocked off on the Fulham Road. Parking is impossible for residents with even single yellows obstructed..By increasing the stadium size where do the council think the extra cars will go and the pedestrian footfall is already unappealing to most residents. However I can see the increased revuenue in parking fines for the football-goers must be an incentive to make the club bigger. And as for being proud to have 3 premier league clubs in the borough - I think if they did a survey the majority of residents would not agree with this at all - quite frankly I just see it as a major nuisance!
From LRS on 09/03/2012 at 21:10
Ary you must be 107 Yrs old at least , it's not as if Chelsea have just moved in is it.
From Nuneaton Blue on 09/03/2012 at 19:49
I, for one, am pleased that Chelsea FCC has come to their senses and will be leaving soon. I, like many Fulham residents, would gladly help them pack up their thins and go. They are blight on an otherwise pleasant place to live. If the council allows a 60,000 seat capacity stadium to go in I will be the one moving on. With the current traffic mess and game day disruption we suffer as esidents the suggestion that a 60,000 capacity stadium would be acceptable is sheer lunacy. Send them on their way please.
From A concerned citizen on 09/03/2012 at 18:29
If the local residents don't like living in an area where there is a football ground and 2 exhibition centres Paolo and Ary, why did you move there in the first place? Very pricey and you knew what you're letting yourself in for!!

On the subject of the stadium though, fantastic news for all! It's not just the supporters who want to stay in sw6, but many public houses would have gone under by now were in not for football crowds. Of which if you feel threatened, be greatful you don't live near a less pleasant ground Ary! Chelseas home crowd are very well behaved.

Don't get me wrong the local residents have to be respected, but I feel this could benefit both the local economy and public more than local residents are anticipating!
From Ben on 09/03/2012 at 17:57
This is a non starter for residents in the Moore Park Estate. Already we understand that we are subsidising the cost of policing these matches to the tune of millions. What used to be sporadic matches on Saturdays in the season has now expanded to several days a week all year round. The congestion and hooliganism during matches now degrades the area for locals all too frequently. With Northend rd. going the way of Queensway,wall to wall chewing gum, Arabic script above the stores and halal butchers galore, what's left to protect? The last time CFC expanded we got a new view of the stands from the top floor and some trees in the area. It was made clear this was the last expansion that there could be and that CFC would underwrite all the policing costs during matches. This has not happened! I am very surprised at this council's lack of a plan for Fulham which has a lot of assets that could so easily be capitalised upon. The idea that unlimited expansion for Chelsea will be popular with longsuffering locals is laughable. Very few of the players or supporters are local these dsys. In short it's about as welcome as a great big sewer development silting up Fulham for the next 7 years!
From Moore park estate activist on 09/03/2012 at 17:57
How can N Botterill recommend this proposal when we all suffer from severe congestion on match days and impossible parking for residents around the New Kings Road. Perhaps LBH see another revenue earner!
From Local resident on 09/03/2012 at 17:21
This would be CATASTROPHIC for local residents. Come on H&F, stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes, and we simply don't have the travel or local infrastructure to cope with another almost 20,000 people attending matches. If they have to go, they have to go, as stated, we already have two other Premiere League football clubs in the borough, and if the site isn't fit for purpose, its time to move on and find a new home that is.
From Deborah on 09/03/2012 at 17:19
Ary, didn't you notice a whacking great big football stadium sitting on the Fulham Road when you moved to the area?

Chelsea FC have been there since 1905, hopefully they'll be there another 100+ years.
From shed_63 on 09/03/2012 at 17:12
Im afraid the councils comments are way too vague

Chelsea want to increase capacity to 60k, will you allow it yes or no

This disingenuous ''it is feasible to add capacity'' tells us nothing

That could be just ten extra seats, please tell us if you will allow us the extra 20,000 seats we require
From malden blue on 09/03/2012 at 17:11
Fantastic! And that on the top of the New major development in Earl's Court/Seagrave Road, and with the football crowds gently swelling at regular intervals the increased local urban population, will really make of West Brompton a pleasant, quiet area for ordinary residents like me to live...if only had I supposed..
From Paolo on 09/03/2012 at 16:36
I am sure that many local residents share my view, which is that the area would be much better off without CFC. Football matches cause severe congestion, parking problems and the need for a large police presence. Although generally well behaved, the invasion of shaven-headed, tatooed men in blue can sometimes result in a feeling of intimidation, especially after excessive alcohol.
From ARY on 09/03/2012 at 16:18
"if it can be done sensibly without negatively affecting local people," And how would you suggest doing that H&F Council; come on stop playing politics and do something constructive
From Local resident on 09/03/2012 at 16:12
The club need to be more transparent with CPO shareholders about their supposed relocation plans. It's all very well their now having said expanding Stamford Bridge is not financially viable; what they need to do is sign a tentative agreement for a new site within the promised 3 mile radius, subject to agreement of CPO. Then present a plan to CPO the location where they intend to move to. I am certainly not going to vote for a pig in a poke.
From Blue Baby on 09/03/2012 at 15:12
It may well cost more than £600 million to build a stadium away from Stamford Bridge but the money raised by selling the land would go a long way towards reducing the net cost.
From Gate17scott on 09/03/2012 at 14:52
Great article. The problem is that which the oligarch who owns Chelsea wants and the public image they portray are inconsistent. They would seize the asset, dispose of it and have Chelsea floated, or tenants or debt financed. If their position were true why not simply offer CPO a swap of land? How you deal with people who are clearly dishonest and lying is difficult for you but good luck.
From Season Ticket Holder on 09/03/2012 at 14:17

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