Stamford Bridge

Capacity41 631
13,500 (West Stand)
10,925 (East Stand)
10,884 (Matthew Harding)
6,831 (Shed End)
Country England
CityLondon
ClubsChelsea FC
Nicknames The Bridge
Inauguration 28.04.1877
Renovations 1905, 1973, 1984, 1990-1998
Record attendance 82,905 (Chelsea - Arsenal, 12.10.1935)
Design Archibald Leitch (1905), KSS Group (1990-1998)
Address Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London SW6 1HS


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Description: Stamford Bridge

The ground was opened in 1877, but for first decades only athletics were played here. It was in 1905 that Chelsea was founded by owners of the venue at that time after Fulham refused to move in. In its initial form the ground had room for some 100,000 people, but only 5,000 under a covered stand designed by renowned Archibald Leitch. Remaining 95,000 has to use uncovered terracing surrounding the athletics track. Interestingly, the main stand was a copy of identical structure erected at nearby Craven Cottage not long before.

Further decades brought several changes with one almost leading the club to fold. A new east stand, first one to be built close to the pitch (without athletics track), was opened in 1973. It was supposed to be first of four new ends, but costs grew so much in the course of work that Chelsea lost ownership of part of the freehold. Part of the stadium was then bought by property developers Marler Estates. Only after the company went bankrupt in early 1990's did the ground become Chelsea's property. Or actually property of Chelsea supporters as they were major shareholders in Chelsea Pitch Owners, a trust established to assure stable future for the stadium.

A fun fact (or so it seems today) is that in 1984/85 season electric fence was built around the pitch to prevent fans from invading it. However do to no approval of local authorities it was never actually turned on. In 1990's remaining parts of the athletics track were removed and changed with new stands – with roof and seats, as the Taylor Report required.

It would be quite a challenge to count all events that took place here. Starting from athletics and little known shinty back in 19th Century, through greyhound races, cricket, baseball, American football and last, but most important, obviously – football. Three FA Cup finals were played here (1920-1922), national team also gave 5 appearances (last one in 1946) and Chelsea gives the ground day-to-day use with average attendances not falling below 41,000 even once since the 2003/04 season, meaning sell-out crowds at nearly all home fixtures.

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