The average attendance figures from across Europe for the previous season popped up in a few places this week and, to no Chelsea supporter's surprise, the club remain firmly in the middle.
Chelsea rose three places to 28th on the continent with an average attendance of 41,435. That's a jump of 10 from 2009-10, but short of the figure established in 2008-09 (41,590). Last season's average is excellent in relation to the stadium's capacity of 41,800, hitting right at 99 percent. But, then again, that's to be expected.
At the summit, of course, is Barcelona with an average capacity of 79,200. Borussia Dortmund's impassioned fanbase has them in second at 79,100. Signal Iduna is a superb stadium, by the way. Manchester United (75,11), Real Madrid (71,300) and Bayern Munich (69,000) complete the top five clubs. All shockers.
Among English clubs, Chelsea rank sixth behind United, Arsenal (60,025), Newcastle (47,715), Manchester City (45,905) and Liverpool (42,820). Not much change over the past few seasons; nothing surprising, either.
The club's position here would somewhat explain a rise in ticket prices - see Champions League group stage - even if that hardly condones it. This also suggests that, with financial fair play rules in our scope, a move to a larger, and thus more attractive, venue will continue to be a major talking point amongst both supporters and our higher-ups. Perhaps more than just a talking point actually.
I would think a move, as much as it pains me to say, is necessary to compete in this current climate. The question is whether Roman can, first, unearth a proper lot to build on in the city and, second, recreate the one-of-a-kind atmosphere that is Stamford Bridge. Difficult ask on both fronts.
Anyway. What are your thoughts on all this?
Note: Be sure to check out the take on all this offered by The Chels. They do a great job, as always.