We were interested to hear news of a new group called Campaign 55. Fair to say it sounds like the new face of SayNoCPO and on the surface of it this would appear to be a more reasoned and measured approach. Ultimately, however, we are dealing with a group that is essentially saying "stay at Stamford Bridge whatever the cost". They posted an essay on the web so we thought we would examine it.
"After the EGM, Say No continued to put pressure on the board of Chelsea Pitch Owners in connection with outstanding issues such as the disputed/misold shares, which are the subject of a report currently being compiled by Gray Smith of the CPO board, and also the "marriage value" of the ground and the shares."
It is our information that Gray Smith has now - eventually - completed his report. We don't think people should get too excited about it......at all....And we do wish you would stop talking about marriage values. It does you no favours at all.
"SNCPO stalwarts Clint Steele and Dave Spring have stated their intention that going forward Say No's position is intrinsically opposed to any disbanding of CPO, and any move away from Stamford Bridge. "
Have they? Well we always sort of knew that but it is nice to hear them say so.
"However, Campaign55 is intended as a progressive movement."
Glad to hear it.
"I've reported and blogged on CPO issues for TheChels over the last couple of years and have been a member of SNCPO. One of the most frequent allegations against SNCPO (mainly by CFC Truth, themselves a shadowy group with no public spokesperson)"
Ermm, don't think we have said much about this issue in relation to SayNo? Our criticisms have been more general than that. CFCTruth is a conduit for information. As such telling everybody who we are would merely lead you back to who gave us the information. And what would you do without those juicy nuggets we bring you huh?
"However, we want this group to represent as many fans as possible and we are looking to affiliate with as many supporters' groups as possible. We might be the shareholders, but we want to get views of the fans in the street, the pub and the blog, and pass these on to the board."
A worthy aim. Although we should note quite how virulently SayNo people were attacking the club for including a question on this matter in the fans questionnaire. Why should we take the views you collect any more seriously? Just playing Devil's Advocate here you understand.
"The choice of Campaign55 as a name took a lot of deliberation and involved not just the steering group, but members of the wider SNCPO group. It's our belief that the club should ideally be looking to expand Stamford Bridge to a capacity of 55,000. We genuinely feel that the 60,000 capacity being mentioned in recent communications from the club is not a realistic ambition. With the exception of the true marquee games like Manchester United and Barcelona, it's becoming easier and easier for fans who can still afford tickets to pick up the inevitable "spares". "
We think you need to study the principles and models of pricing, marketing and capacity before making rudimentary comments such as these.
"However, if, after full consultation with Chelsea Pitch Owners and Hammersmith & Fulham Council, it can be proved beyond all reasonable doubt and economic viability the ground can't be extended"
Well we would argue that the club have certainly done that already. We ourselves have also done some very detailed financial analysis that goes beyond what the club issued and which we intend to publish when the time is right. It should also be noted that LBHF (so a little mole at the council tells us) have now cancelled the scheduled meeting with CPO board and moved it back a week. There may be nothing in this of course.....but worth noting....
"then Campaign55 would support moving to a new 55,000 seater stadium within the historic Chelsea FC catchment area, i.e. Earl's Court or Battersea."
Aha! But wouldn't we all? The issue, however, is how feasible and possible that might be. And what if it is not possible at either of those sites? A rather closed and inflexible statement we would say and one devalues the notion of a reasonable and sensible organ for debate actually.
"We are also taking steps to liaise with Hammersmith & Fulham Council in order to make the voices of our fans heard."
We would strongly suggest that LBHF will say to you whatever it is they think you want to hear and you ought to tread extremely carefully, approaching them with a critical and suspicious eye. Our many blogs have revealed the political and financial motivations behind their behaviour and you would be well advised to take heed of them. You could very well end up having your Percies royally pulled and your bottoms soundly spanked.
CFCTruth is very keen to see fans involved in this process. But another single issue group with proscriptive aims is not going to help the club much. It is not reasonable for us fans, who wish to see CFC develop and succeed, to put ever moving targets and demands in front of the club and in so doing expect them to engage in ruinously expensive, infeasible and time wasting flights of fancy; "pay up Roman you can afford it".
We require the shareholder base of CPO to expand to include thousands of fans and members and we need facts and a collective open mind in order that we make a decision in the best interests of the club. Whatever that decision ends up being. We might just as easily set up a group, claiming open mindedness, honesty and reason that is called "Campaign Gold plated stadium with free seats for all" but it wouldn't be very sensible, reasonable or possible, now would it?