There's been plenty of talk about Chelsea's proposal to buy the Stamford Bridge freehold back from the Chelsea Pitch Owners, much of it under-informed thanks to the nature of the internet. Now Chelsea have waded into the fray, giving us some answers to questions that keep popping up.
The club have gone into extra-deep detail on why they can't really expand Stamford Bridge, and since one of my
many two talents involves renovating existing buildings (the other is Mario Kart 64) I kind of nerded out a little bit over the excuses about not expanding the Bridge - the explanations seem more or less to ring true with what I'd expect from a project that size. You definitely don't want to cantilever a whole stand unless money is no object, and the egress issues sound about right as well. I think we can probably trust the club when they say any meaningful increase in capacity simply isn't going to happen at the current location.
More interesting, however, was the response to a couple of the other questions. Let's look at those after the jump...
Why can't the club wait until a site for a new stadium is known and reveal it before offering to purchase the Stamford Bridge freehold from CPO?
Because no owner of a potential site would enter into extensive negotiations or agree a deal with Chelsea FC unless it knew the club could deliver on that deal, and the club couldn't guarantee completion of the deal without certainty over the subsequent redevelopment of Stamford Bridge.
This is more or less what a lot of you have been saying for a while - that Chelsea simply have to get the CPO roadblock out of the way to seriously look at moving. Of course, this leaves two questions unanswered: What does 'extensive' actually mean and why wait until now to have this discussion? The answer I might advance to both is that we're on the edge of non-extensive vs. extensive negotiations to move somewhere, and this is where we have to act. But that, of course, is speculation.
There are suggestions that the club is considering sites more than three miles to the north of Stamford Bridge, near Wormwood Scrubs or Old Oak Common, with a view to moving there after 2020. Has the club already identified a site beyond the three-mile radius?
No such sites have been looked at or discussed. The club's objective is to remain at Stamford Bridge or move to a new stadium within three miles.
I'm actually curious as to what the readership of the site thinks of a potential Chelsea move, but I'd favour a new stadium so long as it was well-designed and located reasonably close to the current site. It sounds like that's how the club feels too, so yaaay Chelsea. What think y'all?