Chelsea "In Talks" Over Leaving Stamford Bridge

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 93 months ago
Chelsea "In Talks" Over Leaving Stamford Bridge

0911_chelsea.jpg
Photo / Vespa125125
11.30 update: The Telegraph quotes Chelsea sources stating that the club are likely to reject the move.

Original article: According to a report in The Guardian, Chelsea are engaged in talks to leave Stamford Bridge, their ground for 105 years, and move to a new, 60-000-seater purpose-built stadium built on what is currently Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Despite the success brought to the club under the auspices of Roman Abramovich, there has long been a concern that. with a 41,000 capacity and surrounding rail lines and houses meaning limited room to expand, the ageing stadium cannot match the club's ambition. A move nearby would seem an ideal choice, with the Earls Court site mooted for several years; the exhibition hall will be demolished after the 2012 Olympics, and the owner, Capital & Counties, are keen to tempt the Premier League champions into a move.

The deal could hinge on how a proposed new residential area around Earls Court, currently under public consultation, would be affected. Should the club succeed in its move, the new ground wouldn't be complete until 2015, but it does raise the prospect that, come the decade's mid-point, Chelsea, along with West Ham and Spurs, could be playing in a new home.

It would mark the end for a ground that, though lacking the architectural merit of, say, Highbury, is one of London's more storied stadia. Opened in 1905, with early spectators standing on embankments fashioned out of the subsoil from the construction of the nascent Metropolitan Railway four decades earlier, in the Twenties it boasted a capacity of 100,000 and was the venue for the first three FA Cup finals after the First World War. Later years have brought expansion, but the current 41,000 capacity is significantly lower than that of their main rivals and, the club would argue, not befitting a side hosting Champions League clashes.

Should no deal be made, the club is planning other commercial activities: they haven't given up on the notion of getting a stadium sponsor, and are currently tapping up brands in Asia.

Last Updated 09 November 2010