England: An expanded Stamford Bridge closer than ever?

source: theguardian.com; author: Kuba Kowalski

England: An expanded Stamford Bridge closer than ever? Chelsea have not made a final decision on their plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge, although they have agreed terms to purchase a plot of land next to the stadium. Winning the race to buy the site will mean that The Blues will not be forced to look for a new home.


Will Chelsea stay at Stamford Bridge?

The future of the venue may depend on who wins the bidding war for the 1.2-hectare property held by Stoll, a supplier of homes for veterans and handicapped veterans. Owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital have made it a priority to build one of the biggest and best stadiums in the nation, and the way forward has become a little clearer since the Stoll board of trustees approved the sale of the majority of the Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions site, subject to further resident consultation.

The site's expansion does not, however, guarantee that future goals will be a complete success. If Chelsea is unable to find a way to stay in its current site, it is claimed that Chelsea is also thinking about moving to Earl's Court and considers it to be an appealing option. Any action would be based on the club gaining the backing of the Chelsea Pitch Owners, who are the legal owners of Stamford Bridge stadium and the Chelsea FC. This would need extensive discussions. However, it seems that the club is more likely to stay in the Fulham borough if it commits to the area adjoining Stamford Bridge.

Buying the Stoll-owned land is essential for Chelsea if they want to demolish Stamford Bridge and proceed to build from scratch or rebuild the arena in stages. Surely the club would then have more room to manoeuvre - that is why they cannot let another developer win the bidding process. Stoll has received 13 bids and the consultation with residents will last nine weeks. A final decision is expected in the autumn. Under the proposed plans, Stoll will retain 20 flats on the Fulham site.

Red covered area may be new Chelsea's ground

Chelsea's three options

Chelsea will have a choice of three options when considering how to increase attendances and matchday revenue: a complete redevelopment of Stamford Bridge, redevelopment "stand after stand" or a move to a new location.

A 'stand-by-stand' redevelopment is seen as the least attractive option. It is believed that the project would take too long and be an unnecessary compromise. It is believed that Chelsea would gain little by going down this route and would not get a world-class stadium. Nor is there room to minimise inconvenience to fans by building new stands behind the existing ones. The preferred option would be for Chelsea to demolish Stamford Bridge and rebuild. It is estimated that this would take at least five years, meaning Chelsea would have to play in a temporary home.

Stamford Bridge - view of empty stands© Matt Rayns - Groundhopper