Would you sell so Chelsea can quit the Bridge?

 

Chelsea have announced that they will ask the 12,000 shareholders of Chelsea Pitch Owners to sell back the freehold of the pitch and four stands to the club in order that – should the decision to build a new stadium be taken – they can sell the Stamford Bridge site.

There are six possible sites in west and north-west London with the three favourites Earls Court, White City and Battersea Nine Elms. But first Chelsea have to convince CPO shareholders to vote "Yes" to sell back the freehold at a meeting on 27 October. The CPO agreement was undertaken in 1993 to protect the club from developers and is close to the hearts of those supporters who each paid for a £100 share to safeguard Chelsea's future.

Here two die-hard Chelsea fans tell The Independent which way they will be voting later this month.

Yes

Chris Carver, 49, season ticket holder for 30 years, lives near Leatherhead, Surrey

The question of our future and the issue of a new stadium is something I find myself discussing with fellow fans on away trips all the time. We are worried about the implications of Uefa financial fair play but my biggest concern is ticket prices.

I am part of the fans' protest to boycott the Champions League home game against Genk on 19 October. The prices are getting higher and higher. For a category AA game (Manchester United, for example) the cheapest price for an adult (excluding the family stand) is £56 plus booking fee. It is driving away the long-standing fans and replacing them with day-trippers.

If we are to build a new stadium then it would have to be done with the fans in mind. If I was to vote "Yes" then I would want a guarantee that we would have a cheap, popular end that we haven't had since the old Shed. If we just moved and prices stayed the same then where is the incentive for CPO shareholders to vote for it?

I have other conditions, too. The only alternative sites I am interested in would be Imperial Wharf or Earls Court. Those would still feel like Chelsea. For a start, us old fogeys could still go to our regular pubs and Earls Court would mean the club being in the Kensington & Chelsea borough for the first time, which would be nice given our name. At Imperial Wharf, we could walk down the Fulham Road. I might be persuaded on Battersea.

As for going north to Old Oak Common or Wormwood Scrubs, well, that would kill it for me. I would go once out of curiosity but that would be it. Up there is QPR. It's bandit territory.

If we do not do something about the ground then we are storing up trouble for ourselves. I think Roman should have done something about it when he took over the club. I also think the club need to investigate the chance of expanding Stamford Bridge further. They missed a chance when we had a Labour mayor and Labour controlled Hammersmith & Fulham council who would have been more supportive.

I want the club to extend their guarantee that they will not go further than three miles if they move before 2020. Also I don't like the incentives, such as the "roll of honour", they are offering to shareholders to vote Yes. It feels like a bribe. As for getting priority on season tickets at the new stadium, I would hope that that privilege would be extended to all long-term season ticket holders.

I have one of the first shares in Chelsea Pitch Owners. It is No 477, bought in April 1993. If I am to sell it back to the club then I want a guarantee that if we are to leave our ancestral home the new stadium still feels like Chelsea Football Club. And also that the cost of watching our team is reduced, to make sure that it is affordable to the next generation of fans.

No

Matt Day, 30, season ticket holder for 15 years (but 'priced out' last summer), lives in Watford

I was presented with my Chelsea Pitch Owners certificate by Marcel Desailly, on the pitch at Stamford Bridge before the last game of the 2003-2004 season against Leeds United. It felt at the time that I was becoming part of the club. At the very least we were securing the future of Chelsea from anyone who wanted to sell it to the developers.

I will be voting No on 27 October because I do not think we need a new stadium. I am well aware that the club want to become a global brand but the bottom line is that we are struggling to sell out a 41,800-capacity stadium every week. Sure, it is full for the games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool but they would draw a big crowd anywhere in the world. This is the most successful period in our history and yet we still do not sell out every week. The only way that they would fill a 65,000-capacity stadium is if we dropped ticket prices to £20-£25. I have had a season ticket since 1996 but I had to give it up this summer because it was just becoming too expensive.

The CPO was formed so that the real fans could look after the future of the club. Yet now it seems like the club are more interested in attracting anyone who can pay the prices that they set. They want those who are after entertainment rather than the real Chelsea fanatics.

I am worried that if we built a new stadium and had 35,000 fans rattling around in it every week we would become a laughing stock. At the moment we get battered at some away grounds for having "no history". One of the aspects of our history that I'm most proud of is that we have played in the same place since we were formed 106 years ago.

There are other things that worry me. The ashes of Peter Osgood (above), our greatest-ever player, are buried under the penalty spot at the Shed End. What happens to them? Do they just get dug up and moved on? There are lots of little things which concern the fans about moving to a new stadium. Stamford Bridge is an atmospheric, historical ground. I look at the new stadiums that have been built like the Emirates and St Mary's and they just do not feel the same.

A lot of the older generation are set against the move. It is probably the younger fans who came on board when Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli were at the club who want a new stadium. They are used to watching top players and probably think they will see more good players if we move. Us older ones can remember when we were not so good.

We have a billionaire owner who has done a lot for the club but they have to be careful that they do not make it look as if they do not need the normal fans any longer. It was us who bought the CPO shares to protect the club in the first place.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice