It has been a while since our last blog but we have been busy talking to people and listening to the various stances taken by fans' groups on the forthcoming EGM.
Battersea has occupied many minds and the recent news of its successful purchase by the Malaysians has been disappointing. "It is not a dead duck", said one who is extremely close to the process, "but it is a severely injured one". A watching brief. One expects the club's lack of statement on the matter is a glimmer of hope that all is not lost there.
On our travels we have also managed to garner information from others who have been closely involved with the process of Chelsea's stadium search (no names of course). One industry source had revealed that CapCo had commissioned a stadium feasibility at Earl's Court and a "third party" (i.e. not CFC in this instance) had also asked for a stadium expansion at SB to be studied. The outcome of the latter also deduced (like CFC's) that major compulsory purchase was necessary, particularly of Oswald Stoll mansions. Which is intriguing when you think about it. LBHF recently strongly suggested to the CPO board (in the report of that meeting published on the CPO website) that the club should try to buy the old soldiers homes.
When we asked (the industry source of the information for the third party study for those who have difficulty understanding) what it would cost just to rehouse the tenants should they accede to the sale, the answer was "between 100 and 150 million pounds". So we could add that to the enormous cost of a not very productive expansion. As well as the land. And the planning war that would ensue, the dreadful PR etc etc. There was some interesting exposition on the nature of the stadium design they came up with too...and you wouldn't like it!
Anyway, on the subject of Earl's Court, this would appear to now be CFC's best hope. We had heard that the study ordered by CapCo had determined that the design would be best placed at the West Brompton end of the development site which is where the most profitable residential properties would be located. CapCo are not mad keen for that to happen of course but the answer to that is to be found at Stamford Bridge.....
We just have to wait and see.
Which brings us on to the EGM. Some fans groups and websites are still trumpeting about "dodgy shares" and have been suggesting that fans should vote for shares to remain suspended. We have read clarion calls for "democracy" from people who fear the involvement of other fans, especially younger ones who they obviously don't believe should have a say in Chelsea's future. The slogan appears to have become "you 'aint a real fan!" if you feel CFC should move away from Stamford Bridge.
The shares from last October have been dealt with by Mr Smith and he has firmly advised that the company must urgently begin to sell shares again. Mr Smith's conclusions may not have been what some intent on a witch hunt wanted to hear but that is that. What groups who are supposed to cherish the existence of CPO, believe they will achieve by this advice we do not know. It is highly likely that should the vote on share sales be lost, CFC will seek the immediate liquidation of the company which seems an odd aim for fans to have. We know that many fans, who feel CFC should be free of the conspiracy theories and accusations to do what they think is best for the club, have decided to vote no to the resumption of sales in order that CPO is indeed disbanded. Which is a shame.
The shares that people keep harping on about did nothing to change the outcome of the October EGM. They did nothing to change the outcomes of votes at the last AGM either, despite a procession of speakers claiming the whole event was a farce because those "dodgy" shares would swing everything. Besides, the ten share limit resolution tabled for the EGM should deal with the matter. As a footnote to this point, some individuals ought also to be very careful with their accusations against certain people too. Just some friendly advice.
Our own position on the vote is that shares should go on sale and the CPO should begin to engage with many more fans of all generations so that they have their say too.
We would also welcome measures to prevent profiteers; something it becomes ever more worryingly obvious is the driving motivation behind some shareholders' actions.
CFCTruth will continue to search for the facts and bring them to you. You will no doubt be assailed by ever more hysterical statements and accusations over the next few days and the EGM will no doubt descend into a bar room brawl of misinformation, conspiracy and intimidation. If you are attending the EGM, don't be intimidated. Stand up and say your piece (whatever side of the fence you sit). Don't allow yourself to be harangued or swept up by showboating campaigners. It is your club too. Have your say and cast your vote as you see fit.