Chelsea vs West Brom: Chelsea fans expect strong response to Jose Mourinho's 'empty stadium' jibe at Stamford Bridge this weekend

Chelsea manager criticised noise levels generated by home fans during the victory over QPR but Chelsea Supporters' Trust expect a strong response

Chelsea supporters expect an overwhelmingly positive response to Jose Mourinho's remarks on the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge this Saturday.

The Premier League leaders play West Brom in their first home match since Mourinho said he felt his side had been "playing in an empty stadium" during the defeat of QPR.

Chelsea have played since - drawing at Maribor in the Champions League and beating Liverpool at Anfield - but not yet at home.

Mourinho's comments created a stir, but Chelsea Supporters' Trust chairman Tim Rolls told Press Association Sport: "He's very, very popular with the fans; I would expect people would respond to it.

 

"I would anticipate at the start of the game he'll get a big cheer, they'll chant his name and there will be lots of chanting.

"I would expect a good atmosphere on Saturday."

Mourinho's comments sparked a debate about possible reasons behind any crowd apathy. Ticket prices have been put forward as mitigation, as have all-seater stadiums and a growing number of day-trippers to grounds.

"If it's a very sterile game the atmosphere does tend to die off these days," Rolls added.

"That's a by-product of the changing demographic of football.

"There's less young people, people are seated. It's less conducive to an exciting atmosphere.

"It's the same at all the top clubs. Old Trafford and Anfield in the '70s were pretty hostile places.

"It's a lot less now, certainly at Liverpool. Chelsea were on top for large periods of the game and Liverpool weren't getting the support from the Kop that they'd have got a generation ago.

Jose-Mourinho-2.jpg"Maine Road was a pretty vibrant place. The old days at Highbury, at White Hart Lane. It's just different now.

"Clubs that have come up, (with) smaller, more tightly packed grounds like Burnley, there's probably more atmosphere.

"The design of modern grounds, plus the changed demographic and the fact people have to sit, means it is less vibrant than it used to be."

In a bid to try to see if Mourinho's words were true of other Premier League grounds, Press Association Sport armed its reporters with a 'Sound Meter' smartphone application which would attempt to record decibel levels.

Some may associate Old Trafford more with prawn sandwich eaters than hearty singers, but Manchester United's match with Crystal Palace registered highest.

While this level of research can in no way be considered scientific and is nothing more than a rough guide, it does indicate that United and Palace fans made a greater din than any others by as many as six decibels, although for balance there were 30,000 more fans there than anywhere else.

In the interests of fairness, all samples were taken from kick-off to the 60-second mark, the highest recorded point has been used and, as no goals were scored in this period, the decibel levels can be considered to have been generated in similar circumstances.

Old Trafford recorded a decibel level (out of 120) of 84, while Southampton's St Mary's stadium reached 78.

Those marks give Chelsea fans something to aim for as the recordings will be repeated this weekend in order to gather readings from every Premier League ground.

PA

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