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Steve

Stamford Bridge thread

Started by Steve,

2,663 posts in this topic
1 hour ago, Laylabelle said:

Especially when for cup games they sometimes the the whole shed. No piss off! Its ours!

I dont mind the East but being at the top..vertigo! Same as West!

Nothing is as bad as Newcastle no one over 40 can sing for the first 15 minutes the amount of stairs is unreal.

 

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12 hours ago, Iggy Doonican said:

Nothing is as bad as Newcastle no one over 40 can sing for the first 15 minutes the amount of stairs is unreal.

 

Our west stand mullers me, took me grandson to one of our games, Watford last season.

He's telling me come on you old bastard, and there's me gasping for air only half way up, thinking i aint gonna make it, and as Layla say's i was fucked when i did get there with the height i was fucking giddy as well.:D

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2 hours ago, bigbluewillie said:

Our west stand mullers me, took me grandson to one of our games, Watford last season.

He's telling me come on you old bastard, and there's me gasping for air only half way up, thinking i aint gonna make it, and as Layla say's i was fucked when i did get there with the height i was fucking giddy as well.:D

so the blue in bigbluewillie stands for

Image result for code blue

:ph34r:

 

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4 hours ago, bigbluewillie said:

Our west stand mullers me, took me grandson to one of our games, Watford last season.

He's telling me come on you old bastard, and there's me gasping for air only half way up, thinking i aint gonna make it, and as Layla say's i was fucked when i did get there with the height i was fucking giddy as well.:D

Haven't done it yet but very tempted some tube stations have lifts instead of climbing a couple of flights of stairs :)

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1 hour ago, Vesper said:

so the blue in bigbluewillie stands for

Image result for code blue

:ph34r:

 

999 now there's a band I forgot about first heard them on this punk compilation from 79 I think. First time I heard The Cure as well the now controversial Killing an Arab.

Image result for 20 of another kind album

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1 hour ago, Iggy Doonican said:

Haven't done it yet but very tempted some tube stations have lifts instead of climbing a couple of flights of stairs :)

Try covent garden with stairs, comes with a warning message "there are a 129 steps, equivalent to a 5 story building" that would give me a coronary:D

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2 minutes ago, bigbluewillie said:

Try covent garden with stairs, comes with a warning message "there are a 129 steps, equivalent to a 5 story building" that would give me a coronary:D

Wembley Park going up the stairs after a skinful I feel like doing the Rocky wave when I get to the top :)

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Inside Chelsea: The clock continues to tick on the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge – will it ever happen?

https://theathletic.com/1585623/2020/02/06/inside-chelsea-stamford-bridge-redevelopment/

chelsea-stadium-2-e1580915016149-1024x681.jpg

Three years ago, the project team responsible for the proposed redevelopment of Stamford Bridge left Hammersmith Town Hall on King Street in jubilant mood and headed across the road to The Salutation, the nearest pub. Having just secured unanimous council approval for the construction of a new 60,000-seater stadium inspired by Westminster Abbey and dubbed the “Cathedral of Football”, they understandably felt like celebrating a big step forward in what promised to be one of the most transformative events in Chelsea’s history.

Instead, that momentous evening in January 2017 is at real risk of going down as a monumental false dawn. Planning approval from the council for the new Stamford Bridge, subsequently endorsed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, expires on March 31 and cannot be extended. With less than two months to go until the deadline, the first phase of the project — demolition of the buildings around the stadium, including the Millennium and Copthorne Hotels — has not begun.

It is understood that Chelsea don’t have to physically begin working on the site before March 31. They can issue a pre-commencement application, notifying what labour is being carried out and when. As a source told The Athletic: “It is not necessarily a case of Chelsea knocking through a wall — they can file paperwork with the intention of knocking down the wall and when.” But if no communication is received by the deadline, the application process must be started all over again.

There is, as yet, no indication that Chelsea will resume the project, paused with an abrupt 49-word statement on the club’s official website in May 2018 that cited an “unfavourable investment climate”, in time to meet the planning approval deadline. Club officials insist that if it is allowed to lapse, they are confident that a second application would not prove quite as onerous as the first one. Other obstacles — most notably a “right to light” dispute with a local family affected by the proposed redevelopment — have also been overcome.

But even the revised schedule, disclosed a few months before the project was officially shelved, had Chelsea moving into their new stadium no earlier than the start of the 2024-25 season after spending as many as four years in a temporary home. With no demolition taking place, let alone the first spade in the ground, it is reasonable to question whether the new Stamford Bridge will be realised before the decade we have just entered is over — or even if it will happen at all.

Chelsea’s decision to halt the redevelopment came amid owner Roman Abramovich’s stand-off with the UK government over an extension to his Tier 1 investor visa. Contrary to noise on social media around the start of the year, sources have told The Athletic that he has not applied for a new one since withdrawing his application in the spring of 2018, and those familiar with the Russian have asked why he would fund a lavishly expensive construction project that he is not welcome to visit.

Questions about Abramovich’s broader commitment to owning Chelsea were answered emphatically by the revelation that he pumped £247 million of his personal wealth into the club during the last financial year, coupled with his move to use the club’s global platform as part of his broader efforts to eradicate antisemitism. Legitimate questions remain, however, as to just how much of the Stamford Bridge redevelopment he is prepared to pay for with his own money.

Chelsea held talks with several investment banks in 2017 about the possibility of borrowing £500 million to fund their new stadium and the estimated overall cost of the project had ballooned to around £1 billion before it was paused. Last summer, a report by New Civil Engineer claimed that the club had instructed the design team to cut costs by as much as £500 million before the project could be resumed, and were even open to the idea of building on an alternative site.

Chelsea pushed back strongly against the suggestion that a permanent departure from Stamford Bridge was being considered, insisting that they remain committed to keeping the club in its historic home on Fulham Road for the long term. Eight years have passed since the club were outbid by two Malaysian companies for Battersea Power Station, and west London is far from flush with plots of empty land or vacant property big enough to accommodate an elite modern football stadium.

There is also the fact that Chelsea cannot permanently relocate anywhere without the agreement of Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO), the supporter-led group which has owned the freehold to Stamford Bridge since 1997. The club failed in an attempt to buy back the land from CPO at the direction of Abramovich in October 2011, falling well short of a required 75 per cent majority. There is no desire to revisit an episode that sparked considerable hostility from fans, as well as accusations that those acting on the club’s behalf had purchased shares to try to sway the vote in their favour.

CPO remain adamant that they will not support any attempt to take Chelsea away from Stamford Bridge permanently. The club have also moved to strengthen ties with the group since 2011 and the two parties now enjoy a good working relationship. Details of how to become a CPO shareholder can be found on Chelsea’s official website, while supporters who take tours of the stadium can purchase shares in the museum reception, as well as at a variety of events. There are now around 13,000 CPO shareholders globally, owning approximately 21,000 shares in total.

But while Chelsea may be committed to Stamford Bridge — by choice and by circumstance — for the long term, the design challenges of the project are at a different level of complexity to those faced by Arsenal or Tottenham with their new stadiums. Bordered by train lines on two sides, building out to accommodate 18,000 extra seats was not an option. Plans for the new Stamford Bridge required digging down, resulting in a pitch below ground level, and building up, including a raised walkway over the railway lines to reduce the number of fans accessing the ground from Fulham Road.

Chelsea stadium problems

The proposed demolition and construction phases present a myriad of logistical difficulties. Chelsea officials have privately expressed concerns about ease of access for heavy machinery and large trade vehicles to the stadium site. Building the walkways over the railway lines would need to be accomplished without disrupting National Rail or Transport for London services. Vibration levels from heavy plant machinery must also be limited to avoid disrupting the catacombs in Brompton Cemetery.

When the full nature of the undertaking is considered, Chelsea’s estimate that they would need to spend four full years elsewhere — more than double the length of time that Tottenham spent as tenants of Wembley — begins to seem almost optimistic. There are legitimate fears that the club’s supporters may not have the stomach for such a prolonged exile, and it is also likely that their absence would have a profound impact on the area surrounding Stamford Bridge.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council are convinced that a redeveloped Stamford Bridge would be a significant long-term benefit to the borough but many businesses nearby fear the more immediate pain caused by the project. Many of the pubs within walking distance of the stadium estimate that between 25 and 30 per cent of their overall revenue comes from match-days. “If they did move, most of the pubs around here would end up closing,” admits Scott Kirwan, owner of the Broadway Bar and Grill on Fulham Road.

Business rates and rents in the borough are high even by London standards and when the stadium redevelopment was first approved in 2017, there was no indication from the council of reductions while Chelsea would be away. “I know that when Tottenham’s new stadium opened, pubs in the area increased their trade by 3000 per cent,” Kirwan adds, though others are less convinced of the benefits. “How much better can it be though?” asks David Nahmad, GM of the Tommy Tucker. “We’re fully booked on match days, with a waiting list as well.”

But the successful transition that Tottenham have made to a state-of-the-art home looms large over Chelsea. Many at Stamford Bridge are bracing themselves for some grim reading when their bitter London rivals publish their latest financial results in the coming weeks, bolstered for the first time by the increased match-day revenue made possible by their shiny new stadium.

“Match days are probably where clubs can make the most difference financially, especially going forward,” Kieran Maguire, Football Finance lecturer at Liverpool University, tells The Athletic. “If you look to see what Spurs have done, going from a 35,000 capacity stadium to one that fits 62,000, they will be able to increase their match-day income from around about £35-40 million (per season) to close to £100 million. That will make a significant impact.

“At present, Chelsea are reliant on Abramovich. There is no questioning his generosity — he is still putting the money in — but they’re also reliant on player sales to help them get through Financial Fair Play [FFP]. With FIFA restricting the amount of players going out on loan and subsequently being sold, Chelsea could be hit quite hard because that has been part of their business model.

“Unless they can generate more match-day revenue, there is going to be a gap: Arsenal are 60,000 capacity; West Ham are 60,000; Manchester United are 75,000; Manchester City are 55,000 going to 60,000; Liverpool are 54,000 and are planning to take it to 61,000. Chelsea are sticking out like a sore thumb.

big six matchday income chelsea stadium

“If Chelsea are able to redevelop Stamford Bridge to make it more competitive, they will be able to offer more add-ons, such as we are seeing at Spurs, which is a multi-functional stadium. Supporters are prepared to spend four hours there. Obviously, the longer you stay in the stadium, the more money they can make off you. Spurs have been really smart in the route they’ve taken and that will make a financial difference to them.”

Chelsea posted a pre-tax loss of £101.8 million in January, their largest since 2005. The results covered a year in which the club won the Europa League, and their stagnant match-day revenue failed to paper over the cracks caused by the absence of Champions League participation. The financial pressure on Frank Lampard to secure fourth spot this season is considerable.

“Without the benefits of a bigger ground, it makes finishing in the top four more vital for Chelsea,” Maguire adds. “The way that UEFA split the prize money means roughly 80 per cent goes to the Champions League clubs and 20 per cent to the Europa League. Chelsea and Liverpool both won their respective competitions last season but Chelsea earned just €39 million for the Europa League and Liverpool got €107 million.

“Liverpool had a further advantage though because they could charge a higher price for match day last season because of the superior opposition. Everything racks up. The difference between making and not making it can be £80-100 million when you factor everything in.”

The “unfavourable investment climate” cited by Chelsea when halting the stadium project was also impacted by the prolonged political and financial uncertainty that followed the Brexit vote in 2016. Now that the UK has officially left the European Union, there is at least a measure of clarity to the situation but Maguire does not expect recent events to do much to limit the already-spiralling costs of such an expansive project.

“The price has gone up to an extent because the pound has fallen in value since the Brexit vote, although there has been a recovery in the last few months,” he explains. “If you look at the cost of building anything, it’s a combination of material, labour and overheads. It could be a case that raw material prices will go up if originally importing from the European Union and now there are going to be complications in terms of logistics and supply line.

“It’s fair to say the construction cost will rise because there is certainly evidence that construction workers from the EU are returning there, so that will push up domestic prices for staff. Overheads in general will equally rise because if goods are being imported and there is not a free trade deal, then those costs will be passed on to the buyer, which in this case will be the football club.

“I don’t think it will be a deal-breaker, though. It’s just not going to help on the cost front.”

The key to Chelsea resuming the stadium project post-Brexit could well be Abramovich securing more favourable terms on bank loans, or partnering with outside investors.

“Chelsea will be looking for some third-party funding,” Maguire says. “If you look at the Spurs deal, what they’ve been smart in doing is borrowing money on a very long-term interest-only mortgage of about 2.5 per cent. So let’s say Chelsea’s stadium costs £1.5 billion, of which Abramovich puts up half and the banks put up the other half — the interest cost per year at 2.5 per cent will work out at £17-18 million a year.

“That’s nothing compared to the additional match-day revenue you hope to generate and also, Chelsea will be able to potentially get extra hospitality income and start to pitch for events that Wembley and Tottenham go for, like outdoor concerts and the NFL. As for spending four years away, Spurs covered that relatively easily when they played at Wembley. West Ham pay £2.5-3 million to rent the London Stadium. That’s not going to cause Abramovich to blink.”

The problem for Chelsea is that their stadium redevelopment has become something of a staring contest. If next month’s planning approval deadline is allowed to lapse, the prospect of a new elite stadium fit for a modern European giant will recede beyond the horizon — and until it is brought firmly back into view, Chelsea are a club on hold.

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On 1/13/2020 at 0:50 PM, Iggy Doonican said:

999 now there's a band I forgot about first heard them on this punk compilation from 79 I think. First time I heard The Cure as well the now controversial Killing an Arab.

Image result for 20 of another kind album

20 Of Another Kind

Full Album

 

Label:
Polydor ‎– POLS 1006, Polydor ‎– 2383 524
Series:
20 Of Another Kind –
Format:
Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Country:
UK
Released:
1979
Genre:
Rock
Style:
New Wave, Punk

R-1734376-1392892215-1528.jpeg.jpgR-1734376-1392892215-5581.jpeg.jpgR-1734376-1299957164.jpeg.jpgR-1734376-1299957156.jpeg.jpg

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3 hours ago, Vesper said:

Inside Chelsea: The clock continues to tick on the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge – will it ever happen?

https://theathletic.com/1585623/2020/02/06/inside-chelsea-stamford-bridge-redevelopment/

chelsea-stadium-2-e1580915016149-1024x681.jpg

Three years ago, the project team responsible for the proposed redevelopment of Stamford Bridge left Hammersmith Town Hall on King Street in jubilant mood and headed across the road to The Salutation, the nearest pub. Having just secured unanimous council approval for the construction of a new 60,000-seater stadium inspired by Westminster Abbey and dubbed the “Cathedral of Football”, they understandably felt like celebrating a big step forward in what promised to be one of the most transformative events in Chelsea’s history.

Instead, that momentous evening in January 2017 is at real risk of going down as a monumental false dawn. Planning approval from the council for the new Stamford Bridge, subsequently endorsed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, expires on March 31 and cannot be extended. With less than two months to go until the deadline, the first phase of the project — demolition of the buildings around the stadium, including the Millennium and Copthorne Hotels — has not begun.

It is understood that Chelsea don’t have to physically begin working on the site before March 31. They can issue a pre-commencement application, notifying what labour is being carried out and when. As a source told The Athletic: “It is not necessarily a case of Chelsea knocking through a wall — they can file paperwork with the intention of knocking down the wall and when.” But if no communication is received by the deadline, the application process must be started all over again.

There is, as yet, no indication that Chelsea will resume the project, paused with an abrupt 49-word statement on the club’s official website in May 2018 that cited an “unfavourable investment climate”, in time to meet the planning approval deadline. Club officials insist that if it is allowed to lapse, they are confident that a second application would not prove quite as onerous as the first one. Other obstacles — most notably a “right to light” dispute with a local family affected by the proposed redevelopment — have also been overcome.

But even the revised schedule, disclosed a few months before the project was officially shelved, had Chelsea moving into their new stadium no earlier than the start of the 2024-25 season after spending as many as four years in a temporary home. With no demolition taking place, let alone the first spade in the ground, it is reasonable to question whether the new Stamford Bridge will be realised before the decade we have just entered is over — or even if it will happen at all.

Chelsea’s decision to halt the redevelopment came amid owner Roman Abramovich’s stand-off with the UK government over an extension to his Tier 1 investor visa. Contrary to noise on social media around the start of the year, sources have told The Athletic that he has not applied for a new one since withdrawing his application in the spring of 2018, and those familiar with the Russian have asked why he would fund a lavishly expensive construction project that he is not welcome to visit.

Questions about Abramovich’s broader commitment to owning Chelsea were answered emphatically by the revelation that he pumped £247 million of his personal wealth into the club during the last financial year, coupled with his move to use the club’s global platform as part of his broader efforts to eradicate antisemitism. Legitimate questions remain, however, as to just how much of the Stamford Bridge redevelopment he is prepared to pay for with his own money.

Chelsea held talks with several investment banks in 2017 about the possibility of borrowing £500 million to fund their new stadium and the estimated overall cost of the project had ballooned to around £1 billion before it was paused. Last summer, a report by New Civil Engineer claimed that the club had instructed the design team to cut costs by as much as £500 million before the project could be resumed, and were even open to the idea of building on an alternative site.

Chelsea pushed back strongly against the suggestion that a permanent departure from Stamford Bridge was being considered, insisting that they remain committed to keeping the club in its historic home on Fulham Road for the long term. Eight years have passed since the club were outbid by two Malaysian companies for Battersea Power Station, and west London is far from flush with plots of empty land or vacant property big enough to accommodate an elite modern football stadium.

There is also the fact that Chelsea cannot permanently relocate anywhere without the agreement of Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO), the supporter-led group which has owned the freehold to Stamford Bridge since 1997. The club failed in an attempt to buy back the land from CPO at the direction of Abramovich in October 2011, falling well short of a required 75 per cent majority. There is no desire to revisit an episode that sparked considerable hostility from fans, as well as accusations that those acting on the club’s behalf had purchased shares to try to sway the vote in their favour.

CPO remain adamant that they will not support any attempt to take Chelsea away from Stamford Bridge permanently. The club have also moved to strengthen ties with the group since 2011 and the two parties now enjoy a good working relationship. Details of how to become a CPO shareholder can be found on Chelsea’s official website, while supporters who take tours of the stadium can purchase shares in the museum reception, as well as at a variety of events. There are now around 13,000 CPO shareholders globally, owning approximately 21,000 shares in total.

But while Chelsea may be committed to Stamford Bridge — by choice and by circumstance — for the long term, the design challenges of the project are at a different level of complexity to those faced by Arsenal or Tottenham with their new stadiums. Bordered by train lines on two sides, building out to accommodate 18,000 extra seats was not an option. Plans for the new Stamford Bridge required digging down, resulting in a pitch below ground level, and building up, including a raised walkway over the railway lines to reduce the number of fans accessing the ground from Fulham Road.

Chelsea stadium problems

The proposed demolition and construction phases present a myriad of logistical difficulties. Chelsea officials have privately expressed concerns about ease of access for heavy machinery and large trade vehicles to the stadium site. Building the walkways over the railway lines would need to be accomplished without disrupting National Rail or Transport for London services. Vibration levels from heavy plant machinery must also be limited to avoid disrupting the catacombs in Brompton Cemetery.

When the full nature of the undertaking is considered, Chelsea’s estimate that they would need to spend four full years elsewhere — more than double the length of time that Tottenham spent as tenants of Wembley — begins to seem almost optimistic. There are legitimate fears that the club’s supporters may not have the stomach for such a prolonged exile, and it is also likely that their absence would have a profound impact on the area surrounding Stamford Bridge.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council are convinced that a redeveloped Stamford Bridge would be a significant long-term benefit to the borough but many businesses nearby fear the more immediate pain caused by the project. Many of the pubs within walking distance of the stadium estimate that between 25 and 30 per cent of their overall revenue comes from match-days. “If they did move, most of the pubs around here would end up closing,” admits Scott Kirwan, owner of the Broadway Bar and Grill on Fulham Road.

Business rates and rents in the borough are high even by London standards and when the stadium redevelopment was first approved in 2017, there was no indication from the council of reductions while Chelsea would be away. “I know that when Tottenham’s new stadium opened, pubs in the area increased their trade by 3000 per cent,” Kirwan adds, though others are less convinced of the benefits. “How much better can it be though?” asks David Nahmad, GM of the Tommy Tucker. “We’re fully booked on match days, with a waiting list as well.”

But the successful transition that Tottenham have made to a state-of-the-art home looms large over Chelsea. Many at Stamford Bridge are bracing themselves for some grim reading when their bitter London rivals publish their latest financial results in the coming weeks, bolstered for the first time by the increased match-day revenue made possible by their shiny new stadium.

“Match days are probably where clubs can make the most difference financially, especially going forward,” Kieran Maguire, Football Finance lecturer at Liverpool University, tells The Athletic. “If you look to see what Spurs have done, going from a 35,000 capacity stadium to one that fits 62,000, they will be able to increase their match-day income from around about £35-40 million (per season) to close to £100 million. That will make a significant impact.

“At present, Chelsea are reliant on Abramovich. There is no questioning his generosity — he is still putting the money in — but they’re also reliant on player sales to help them get through Financial Fair Play [FFP]. With FIFA restricting the amount of players going out on loan and subsequently being sold, Chelsea could be hit quite hard because that has been part of their business model.

“Unless they can generate more match-day revenue, there is going to be a gap: Arsenal are 60,000 capacity; West Ham are 60,000; Manchester United are 75,000; Manchester City are 55,000 going to 60,000; Liverpool are 54,000 and are planning to take it to 61,000. Chelsea are sticking out like a sore thumb.

big six matchday income chelsea stadium

“If Chelsea are able to redevelop Stamford Bridge to make it more competitive, they will be able to offer more add-ons, such as we are seeing at Spurs, which is a multi-functional stadium. Supporters are prepared to spend four hours there. Obviously, the longer you stay in the stadium, the more money they can make off you. Spurs have been really smart in the route they’ve taken and that will make a financial difference to them.”

Chelsea posted a pre-tax loss of £101.8 million in January, their largest since 2005. The results covered a year in which the club won the Europa League, and their stagnant match-day revenue failed to paper over the cracks caused by the absence of Champions League participation. The financial pressure on Frank Lampard to secure fourth spot this season is considerable.

“Without the benefits of a bigger ground, it makes finishing in the top four more vital for Chelsea,” Maguire adds. “The way that UEFA split the prize money means roughly 80 per cent goes to the Champions League clubs and 20 per cent to the Europa League. Chelsea and Liverpool both won their respective competitions last season but Chelsea earned just €39 million for the Europa League and Liverpool got €107 million.

“Liverpool had a further advantage though because they could charge a higher price for match day last season because of the superior opposition. Everything racks up. The difference between making and not making it can be £80-100 million when you factor everything in.”

The “unfavourable investment climate” cited by Chelsea when halting the stadium project was also impacted by the prolonged political and financial uncertainty that followed the Brexit vote in 2016. Now that the UK has officially left the European Union, there is at least a measure of clarity to the situation but Maguire does not expect recent events to do much to limit the already-spiralling costs of such an expansive project.

“The price has gone up to an extent because the pound has fallen in value since the Brexit vote, although there has been a recovery in the last few months,” he explains. “If you look at the cost of building anything, it’s a combination of material, labour and overheads. It could be a case that raw material prices will go up if originally importing from the European Union and now there are going to be complications in terms of logistics and supply line.

“It’s fair to say the construction cost will rise because there is certainly evidence that construction workers from the EU are returning there, so that will push up domestic prices for staff. Overheads in general will equally rise because if goods are being imported and there is not a free trade deal, then those costs will be passed on to the buyer, which in this case will be the football club.

“I don’t think it will be a deal-breaker, though. It’s just not going to help on the cost front.”

The key to Chelsea resuming the stadium project post-Brexit could well be Abramovich securing more favourable terms on bank loans, or partnering with outside investors.

“Chelsea will be looking for some third-party funding,” Maguire says. “If you look at the Spurs deal, what they’ve been smart in doing is borrowing money on a very long-term interest-only mortgage of about 2.5 per cent. So let’s say Chelsea’s stadium costs £1.5 billion, of which Abramovich puts up half and the banks put up the other half — the interest cost per year at 2.5 per cent will work out at £17-18 million a year.

“That’s nothing compared to the additional match-day revenue you hope to generate and also, Chelsea will be able to potentially get extra hospitality income and start to pitch for events that Wembley and Tottenham go for, like outdoor concerts and the NFL. As for spending four years away, Spurs covered that relatively easily when they played at Wembley. West Ham pay £2.5-3 million to rent the London Stadium. That’s not going to cause Abramovich to blink.”

The problem for Chelsea is that their stadium redevelopment has become something of a staring contest. If next month’s planning approval deadline is allowed to lapse, the prospect of a new elite stadium fit for a modern European giant will recede beyond the horizon — and until it is brought firmly back into view, Chelsea are a club on hold.

Interesting article, we need a stadium rebuild but I just dont see Abramovich funding it. We have been left behind sadly, he should have allowed investors into the club. 

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12 hours ago, Vesper said:

20 Of Another Kind

Full Album

 

Label:
Polydor ‎– POLS 1006, Polydor ‎– 2383 524
Series:
20 Of Another Kind –
Format:
Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Country:
UK
Released:
1979
Genre:
Rock
Style:
New Wave, Punk

R-1734376-1392892215-1528.jpeg.jpgR-1734376-1392892215-5581.jpeg.jpgR-1734376-1299957164.jpeg.jpgR-1734376-1299957156.jpeg.jpg

I forgot how terrible the B side was ! even if Stuart Pearce's favourite band The Lurkers are on it who were a second division punk band 

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17 minutes ago, Iggy Doonican said:

I forgot how terrible the B side was ! even if Stuart Pearce's favourite band The Lurkers are on it who were a second division punk band 

 

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I doubt we could fill a 60,000 stadium for quite a few games. I'm sure i remember Ray Wilkins being honest enough to admit it too.

Imho, a classy referb (+ a bigger pitch would help) and an extension to 50,000 would be just fine for us and that could surely be done without us moving out for 3 fecking years.

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So the planning permission expires next month. If Roman doesn't resume the process of rebuilding Stamford Bridge during next month, everything will be cancelled and if in future we want to rebuild the Bridge, we have to start from scratch again including asking the neighbours for permission.

Not happy.

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Spoke to one of the folks that do the tours at the bridge yesterday and asked about this. She was adamant that the build will definitely go ahead once a building firm was found that would be competent and able to fulfill the work. Personally not sure it's that simple. Aside from Romans issues obviously

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Unwritten: How Chelsea almost lost Stamford Bridge

https://theathletic.com/1691469/2020/03/25/unwritten-how-chelsea-almost-lost-stamford-bridge/

ken-bates.jpg

 

Chelsea supporters could be forgiven for feeling downbeat about Stamford Bridge.

With planning approval set to lapse on March 31, Roman Abramovich’s lavish redevelopment project remains on indefinite hold amid spiralling costs and the Russian’s ongoing stand-off with the UK government. There are no clear indications it will ever be resumed and the current stadium, while iconic, is too small and old-fashioned to meet the needs of a modern European superclub.

History, though, offers greater perspective. Chelsea are fortunate to still be playing at the Bridge at all, even if we are now almost three decades removed from the chain of events that led them to the brink of losing their historic home. The battle to decide the fate of the west London stadium – and by extension the fate of the club – raged for 10 years from the conference room to the court room, with chairman Ken Bates on one side and property developers on the other.

This is the story of how Chelsea nearly lost Stamford Bridge – and, in doing so, ended up forging a new relationship with a ground that defines the club to this day.


Abramovich is not the first man to harbour lofty ambitions of making Stamford Bridge the envy of world football.

The history of the stadium is punctuated by a succession of grand design projects, beginning in 1904 with the vast, open bowl with a maximum capacity of 100,000 that was commissioned by Chelsea’s founders, Gus and Joseph Mears, and drawn up by renowned Scottish stadium architect Archibald Leitch.

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In 1961, architect and lifelong Chelsea fan Charles Brown published dazzling plans to redevelop the site as a sports centre featuring a three-tiered national football stadium that could hold 150,000 spectators. The project sparked considerable excitement, but the financing depended on the Football Association guaranteeing the FA Cup final would be played at the new ground on an annual basis. They refused to do so.

Nine years later, chairman Brian Mears, Joseph’s grandson, launched a redevelopment project that had more far-reaching consequences. Stamford Bridge was to become a state-of-the-art arena with a capacity of 80,000, looming as high as Barcelona’s Nou Camp over the adjacent Fulham Road and featuring a 330 square-metre restaurant in the South Stand that granted views across London. The estimated total cost was £6.25 million, a gargantuan sum at the time.

Beset by logistical problems and unforeseen expenses, the project never made it beyond phase one: the construction of a new East Stand. Chelsea’s relegation to the second tier of English football in 1975 took a further toll and, two years later, the club faced liquidation with debts of around £4 million. In the course of restructuring the finances, accountant Martin Spencer made the fateful decision to separate Stamford Bridge Properties Limited (SB) – the company that owned the freehold to the land the stadium sat on – from the football club.

When the Mears family finally offloaded Chelsea, and the associated debts, to Ken Bates for just £1 in 1982, the freehold to Stamford Bridge was not part of the agreement. The incoming chairman tried to strike a separate deal for SB Ltd that consisted of a £450,000 cash payment and assuming liability for the £1.6 million debt incurred during construction of the East Stand. There were, according to Bates, some other extras.

“David Mears (Brian’s brother) was going to get £5,000 a year for five years plus a Volvo estate car – it’s amazing how giving people cars swings them, you know? – plus a seat in the box, all the usual things,” he says in Rick Glanvill’s book “Chelsea: The Official Biography”. “But it all took so long. He always says he couldn’t get me to the table, but Sheila Marson (Bates’ secretary at the time) will tell you it was the other way around.”

Bates’ offer was rejected and SB Ltd was instead sold to Marler Estates for a million shares in the property development company. The deal gave Mears a lucrative stake in the profits arising from any Stamford Bridge redevelopment, but it also made Chelsea tenants in their own stadium, vulnerable to the business interests of a hostile new landlord. “When this gets out, you’ll be a fucking leper,” Bates told Mears.

Chelsea had signed a seven-year lease to play at the Bridge until August 1989, but Marler’s priorities were clear. The stadium sits on a hugely valuable plot of land in the heart of affluent west London, and preserving it for the sole use of a football club did not constitute the best return on investment. Marler’s chairman David Bulstrode envisioned a “much smaller and more compact stadium”, and in January 1985 his plans were given the green light by Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

Bates knew that if he allowed Chelsea to be forced out of Stamford Bridge, the club was unlikely to ever return there. The terms of the lease stipulated that Marler had to find the club an alternative home within 15 miles. The firm offered £3 million to buy Selhurst Park to facilitate a ground-share with Crystal Palace while it developed a £32 million housing and office complex.

Marler already owned Craven Cottage and in 1986 a new Labour-led council had to step in to veto a similar proposed arrangement with Fulham. The following year the property developer pitched something even more outlandish: a merging of west London neighbours Fulham and Queens Park Rangers to form a new club, “Fulham Park Rangers”, to be based at QPR’s Loftus Road, while Craven Cottage was transformed into luxury riverfront housing on the Thames. Chelsea, it was hinted, would then become co-tenants with the merged club.

Bates’ strategy throughout this period was to wage a war of attrition. He sought to delay and frustrate Marler at every turn, even purchasing a 20 per cent stake in SB.

“He is a real bastard to get in a tangle with,” David Mellor, the member of parliament for nearby Putney from 1979 to 1997 and a Chelsea supporter, said of Bates. “He knew the score of business and was completely ruthless. He used the Companies Act at every opportunity. There are unattractive sides to him, of course there are. But the people who took him on didn’t realise how sharp he was.”


In 1989, with Chelsea approaching the end of their seven-year lease at the stadium, Marler sold SB Ltd to another property developer, Cabra Estates. John Duggan – previously a major investor in Marler – was now the man in charge and Bates refocused his efforts on exasperating and exhausting a new adversary. Cabra served the club notice to quit the Bridge but it was quickly embroiled in more legal proceedings that stretched beyond the expiry of the lease.

“Chelsea had got planning permission to redevelop Stamford Bridge themselves but there was a clause which stated they had to implement it,” Mark Taylor, the lawyer who acted for Bates against Cabra, tells The Athletic. “I think they dug a few trenches and claimed that was implementation of the planning permission and Cabra issued court proceedings to say that it wasn’t.”

Events far beyond Bates’ control then tilted the battle in his favour.

The UK economy lurched into recession and the property market tanked, devastating the value of Cabra’s assets – including the Stamford Bridge freehold. “By 1990 the ground was worth much less than in 1989, so Cabra suddenly changed course, withdrew the case and said Chelsea had implemented the planning permission,” Taylor adds. “They wanted £17 million or £18 million and it was worth £12 million. Ken fought them on that, saying they couldn’t withdraw their case.”

Bates also contested Cabra’s valuation of SB Ltd, but suffered defeat at the High Court and Court of Appeal. His last hope was to petition for permission to appeal to the House of Lords and wait for a hearing date. “It’s very likely that Chelsea would have lost that case, not been allowed to appeal and that would have been that,” Taylor admits. But once more, fortune intervened on the club’s behalf when it was most needed.

Duggan, tormented by a relentless barrage of abusive phone calls at his home from Chelsea fans, was also out of moves. Cabra, having posted a pre-tax loss of £22.1 million, went into liquidation in November 1992. “The reason Chelsea won is because they didn’t go bust before Cabra did,” Taylor says. “The property crash in the 1990s finished them off, but Chelsea were probably one court hearing away from losing Stamford Bridge.

“Ken’s fortitude in fighting it was astounding, because I don’t think anybody ever told him he’d win the case. He just bought time, more time and more time, and eventually won because the other side died, effectively.”

“I had to remind him that he was not the first guy who had tried to do such things to sport — to want to put a five-storey development on to a ground,” Mellor said of Duggan. “I told him that the reason it would never be done at Chelsea is that there is a life in football that will never die. Much later, I had another meeting with him when he shook his head and admitted he should have listened to me in the first place.”

Royal Bank of Scotland assumed control of SB Ltd and, on December 15, 1992, struck a deal with Chelsea: a new 20-year lease to stay at Stamford Bridge, together with an option to purchase the freehold to the site at any time for the fixed price of £16.5 million. Bates was informed by a phone call at 7:30pm from trusted aide Yvonne Todd as he drove home in his Bentley, listening to classical music.

“I don’t care what anyone says about me,” Bates said in Brian Woolnough’s 1998 biography “My Chelsea Dream”. “I kept my promise. I said from day one that Chelsea would not leave Stamford Bridge and that phone call confirmed it. When I walked through the door for the first time I saw what I wanted from this club. I didn’t realise it would take so long because I didn’t realise that Chelsea were in such a mess. But I knew that night in 1992 that anything was possible.”


Bates did not dwell on his victory for long.

“Ken went off to see his son in South Africa and came back in early January,” Taylor recalls. “He called me on January 15, 1993 saying, ‘I’ve had this idea.’ He wanted the fans to own the freehold of the site so the problem with Cabra would never happen again.

“The initial idea was to divide the pitch into 70,000 squares and sell a square to each person for £100, which would have raised the £7 million needed to buy the freehold to the pitch from RBS. I spoke to the Land Registry and they said, ‘You’ve got to be joking!’ So what we decided to do was set up CPO as a company that owned the freehold, then sell shares in the company.”

Bates’ idea became CPO, short for Chelsea Pitch Owners. It offered the fans a lasting stake in Stamford Bridge – and Taylor went to great lengths to ensure it could never be taken away from them. “It was my idea to limit the number of votes you got, however many shares you owned, to make sure some property developer couldn’t come and just offer all the shareholders a lot of money,” he explains. Voting rights were limited to 100 per shareholder.

Sales of CPO shares didn’t get remotely close to raising the required £7 million, so Bates and Taylor got creative again, using some of the £75 million Chelsea had raised using a securitised Eurobond in 1997. “Chelsea Village (the holding company) sent CPO £10 million so it could buy the freehold to the ground, and CPO granted a lease to Chelsea Football Club for 199 years at a peppercorn rent,” Taylor says.

But there was a final touch: “I put a clause in the lease which said that if Chelsea stopped playing at Stamford Bridge, the lease would automatically determine and the name ‘Chelsea Football Club’ could no longer be used by Chelsea Football Club anywhere else,” Taylor adds.

The unique structure of CPO did not take long to prove its value as a deterrent to those of a similar mind to Marler and Cabra. “In 1998 an American fund approached us to buy Chelsea,” Taylor reveals. “We were very suspicious and as soon as they found out about CPO, they pulled out. They obviously just wanted to knock the stadium down.”

Abramovich came closest to taking the freehold back out of supporter hands in 2011, but fell short of the required 75 per cent majority in an acrimonious CPO vote.

The defeat forced Chelsea’s hierarchy to refocus on ways to redevelop their historic home, rather than pursuing high-profile alternative stadium sites nearby, such as Earls Court and Battersea Power Station. Without it, the now-paused vision for a new “cathedral of football” on Fulham Road would never have even been conceived.

There are now approximately 13,000 CPO shareholders globally, owning around 21,000 shares in total – an enduring testament to Taylor’s efforts. Bates’ legacy can be seen in CPO and in Stamford Bridge as it looks today; victory over Cabra and acquisition of the freehold paved the way for the construction of the Matthew Harding Stand, the renovation of the Shed End and the expansion of the West Stand, as well as the hotels, bars, health club and flats that make up Chelsea Village.

The latter has not enjoyed universal approval. “If we had to do it over, we would have just built a top-notch stadium,” Bruce Buck, Bates’ successor as chairman, said. “We would not have built the hotels, and certainly not the flats. We would have built a bigger stadium — or a stadium that could have more easily been capable of being expanded.”

Chelsea are limited in financial terms by the 42,000 capacity of Stamford Bridge, and it is far from certain whether Abramovich’s grand redevelopment project will ever happen. But if Bates had not found a way to set the club on its modern course, it is almost impossible to imagine the Russian arriving at all – or the cascade of trophies that followed.

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Chelsea Football Club acknowledges that the planning permission we obtained for a new stadium expires on 31st March 2020.

We are grateful to all our fans and stakeholders, especially Hammersmith & Fulham Council, for their patience and understanding in the matter. We will continue to consider our options for a new stadium, should economic conditions improve.

Vesper likes this

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So that’s it then? Once this permission expires, we will have to start all over again asking permission within all fronts.

We are the only top 6 club with such a small stadium.

Vesper and xPetrCechx like this

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24 minutes ago, Mana said:

So that’s it then? Once this permission expires, we will have to start all over again asking permission within all fronts.

We are the only top 6 club with such a small stadium.

Fans from London want to stay on SB? Moving to different place is not a option?

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