Mark Fleming: Gourlay gambles with fans feelings
Friday 06 November 2009
Ron Gourlay's idea of selling the name of their Stamford Bridge ground to the highest bidder is a brave plan. It risks alienating supporters who fear it will provide ammunition to rival fans, who say Chelsea have no history. However, it is a proposal that does make commercial sense.
Given that the club have given up plans either to redevelop the Bridge or move to another site, it is pretty much the only option open to Gourlay to raise the revenues generated by the stadium. If he can attract £15m a year for naming rights, Chelsea will take a substantial step towards their ultimate goal of breaking even.
Gourlay can point to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium as an example of how selling naming rights can succeed. But Chelsea fans are not being asked to rename a new stadium. They, like Newcastle United supporters this week, are being told the club want to re-christen the ground that has been their home for more than 100 years purely for financial reasons.
Chelsea fans might wonder why the club are doing this when they are owned by one of the richest men in the world, Roman Abramovich, who recently spent £300m on the world's biggest private yacht.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga