The next time you are at a Chelsea match, in the pub, chatting with fellow fans, strike up a conversation about the stadium move. You'll find it either uproariously entertaining or deeply disturbing. Possibly both. Among the sensible, concerned, honestly anxious fans who will express an understanding of the issues facing the club, you will find some - too many in fact - who have an extremely jaundiced, hostile view of the intentions of CFC and Roman Abramovich in particular. On our Twitter page this past few days, a succession of posts have suggested just that; in essence, he came about his money by dodgy means and thus cannot be trusted. The expenditure he has made up to now is totally irrelevant. We will also be in hock to banks and sundry other evil institutions. What it actually boils down to is that Chelsea fans, whilst biting very hard down on the hand that has fed us are in actual fact asking him to feed us more and guarantee that he will go on doing so in perpetuity. If it wasn't so perverse, it would be hilarious.
You will also encounter some fans who rabidly refuse to countenance any move whatsoever away from Stamford Bridge. It seems it is these fans who make up the motley crue that is SayNo and who are plotting so indiscreetly to take control of the CPO board. Don't let them fool you into thinking that they have the best interests of CFC at heart. If that best interest involves moving away from Stamford Bridge in any form, they will fight tooth and nail to stop it, whatever the need. They will tell you that the club intends to move to some outer London brownfield site (and Milton Keynes, the graveyard for all football fans' paranoia is frequently mentioned) and thus rob CFC of all of its tradition and history.
They ask why the club needs the freehold of the pitch before a new stadium is built and refuse to accept that the club cannot maintain two stadiums, one of them an enormous development and hope that a small minority of rabidly paranoid and hostile fans will grant them the privilege by voting 'Yes'. It is a ludicrous suggestion and one can hardly blame the club for not trusting them. After all, the club know who they are dealing with.
It is pointless trying to explain why a business like Chelsea needs to hold all of the cards when negotiating on some of the most fluid and volatile property developments in Europe. It is also pointless trying to suggest that all of the activity as reported in this blog may well be pointing towards a rather complex and high risk game aimed at one thing...staying at Stamford Bridge. Of course, the previous No vote has both helped and hindered in this process but the cards appear to be falling in the club's favour at the moment. But, should the wish to stay at SB go ungranted - an outcome we believe all Chelsea fans would relish above all else - then the club needs options. Which brings us back to Abramovich and his intentions.
There are some very logical questions fans should ask of themselves;
Why would Abramovich want to move out of the immediate area?
Why would Abramovich want to pursue a course (leave CFC prone to destruction by future developers)that would lay waste to everything he has done here?
There are several other considerations too but those two are just about the most pertinent. At present, despite the invitation by Steve Frankham to SayNo to put up a board member (an offer that was refused at first on account of them demanding two but which was later accepted after their folly was roundly ridiculed by Chelsea fans on both sides of the fence)too many of those who support them have nothing but abuse and suspicion for everybody involved with CPO. Some of it is pretty vile AND ill informed. Much of it was conducted through a particular journalist. There have been accusations of dodgy dealing that fail to acknowledge the number of late purchased shares that were cast as "no" as well as the public and concerted campaign by SayNo that encouraged purchases in order to vote no! We continue to say that this issue is no longer of any relevance whatsoever.
There is a much voiced view that Frankham is a club stooge. In fact Frankham probably harbours his own doubts. And he is determinedly fair by the looks of him when you consider he has allowed Gray Smith of SayNo to sit on the CPO board. This has done little to assuage the No voters who support SayNo. It has only encouraged them and it would seem more evident by the day that Smith should never get a clear view of Frankham's shoulder blades. One hopes Frankham's sense of fairness and openness is not a petard upon which he will be hoisted. Time will tell. Which brings us to the AGM on 20th January.
We would most firmly suggest that all shareholders cast their votes. We would encourage you to endorse all members of the board being proposed with the very clear exception of Gray Smith who should be rejected. This is a view at odds with that of Frankham and the board who are recommending the resolutions to you. We feel Frankham is wrong. We do not feel that anybody from SayNo who are themselves in a minority of a minority of No voters should be given the credibility of a board seat and should not be allowed to infect the process of sensible consideration should the club come calling again. SayNo members and advocates, as shareholders, have the right to vote as they wish on any resolutions put before them. That should be the limit of their influence. And rightly so. Logic, common sense and reason are required on the board. We do not believe, despite the words they may use and the appearance of good sense an operator like Gray Smith can effect, that SayNo apply such criteria to their thinking.