The primary interest tomorrow will be in hearing the two new board members express their views. We have offered a platform for both to summarise their approach but no doubt questions will be put from the floor. We hope there is no repeat of the hostility and animosity, accusations and conspiracies that have dogged past meetings and there must be a firm hand shown with any sign of intimidation of speakers.
The board and us shareholders will, at some point in the future, be faced with a decision. We have to be able to make that decision based on facts and analysis of which there has been a paucity in the past 18 months. We have tried to weed out the critical processes that have been affecting the search for a new stadium site that will satisfy everybody (or as many as possible).
In recent days you will have seen the council, in the person of Michael Adam, repeat the assertion that they stand ready to help the club. We have asked repeatedly for this to be articulated in more specific terms, have invited them to answer questions; we have not yet been taken up on the offer.
Our other blog from today reports on the travails the council are suffering at EC. In reality, the council do not HAVE to want a stadium at EC, no matter how much we believe it would be a good option for all concerned. But whatever you think are the reasons for that decision, we must consider the council's position on Stamford Bridge in this context. As you can see, lots of people are accusing the council of impropriety and to a certain extent, this is none of our business since the council seem determined to prevent Chelsea moving there regardless. But fans who are utterly convinced there is no reason to move at all need to recalibrate their thinking in light of all of this.
We doubt there is one member of the CPO board who would not wish to see CFC stay at SB were it possible. Continuing to suspect the board of being "stooges" is helping nobody. Such internecine warfare weakens CPO and exposes the company to hostility from the club. We doubt that a certain section of fans will ever be able to see the matter from anything but a caustic, cynical viewpoint, unable to accept or trust any facts or data put before them. That is their right but perhaps they can trust their fellow shareholders to spot a wrongun should it be proposed? To agitate and fight and accuse will only weaken both the board and ultimately the club itself as it seeks to do business with doubtful and anxious conglomerates. For the council, an opportunity is there for them to articulate in explicit terms just what "helping the club" means and to refute this suspicion. Up to now we have not had the benefit of such an explanation. Are the council talking to the club? Are they having practical, constructive discussions to demonstrate the ways in which they can "help"? We don't know and until they tell us we simply cannot, in light of everything else we know, put full trust in them.
Further, as you will see from yesterday's blog, people appear to believe there are designs forthcoming (from where we do not know although we have a good idea) that prove a stadium at SB is possible. We have heard this before but nothing has materialised. Again, we doubt there is a single Chelsea fan who would not be very eager to see the ideas, look at the data, examine the financial model; as we have repeatedly said, only the club has produced any comprehensive information on the possibilities of expansion at SB so it is up to others, including the council, to prove an alternative, viable option exists.
It has also become ever more clear that even a move to Earls Court or Battersea is unacceptable to some fans although we don't think they are in anything but a minority. Again, we would respect their right to this opinion but we do not believe that holding such a view gives them a right to obstruct and poison any process that both proves it is not an option and at the same time proposes a move that would be acceptable to the great majority of fans. To abuse, accuse, scaremonger and slander in order to get their way, even at the cost of the club's future, is neither fair nor appropriate. We believe it has already had a deleterious effect on our chances at both
EC and BPS and continues to do so. Do fans believe that preventing the club from moving at all is in its bests interests? Would that not be a hollow victory were we to be left behind, discovering too late that the promises of help from the council were nothing but delaying tactics? Perhaps one day the club will decide it has to go it alone, the nightmare scenario, whereby it seeks to dissolve CPO and move us to wherever is available, severing decades- long ties with fans who will find the theoretical site beyond the pale?
At the risk of being called club stooges, we would suggest that shareholders and fans should stand together with the club and board, turn to face those obstructing us and challenge them, apply pressure to them, fight them.