Friday 30 December 2011


We always knew that the SayNo rump of no voters were a little flaky but today saw them outdo themselves with a statement of such childishness we are almost reluctant to even mention it! However we must, because there are fans out there who will read such nonsense and be tempted to give it a shred of credibility. The statement, or open letter, carried on weird CFC website is accompanied by a footnote, presumably written by the person responsible for The footnote confirms what our last blog referred to as the graveyard of paranoid football fans; Milton Keynes. There appears no limit to how far these people will go to stir up hysteria and fear.

We ought to laugh, and we do, but even we have to admit there is something grotesque in all of this and laughing won't make it go away. The statement itself centres on Hammersmith and Fulham Council, a council whose current dificulties we have made very clear in these pages. A council who are struggling with two major developments and who have failed to convince CFC to bless their Old Oak Common project. SayNo are peddling the quite ludicrous assertion that CFC merely want to "land grab" Stamford Bridge as a prelude to a hugely profitable flotation, to develop SB and to banish the club to the wilderness of Buckinghamshire. No, really, that is what they assert.

They also accuse the club of being liars because "NO PLANNING APPLICATION WHATSOEVER HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM COUNCIL REGARDING THE POSSIBLE EXPANSION OR PARTIAL REDEVELOPMENT OF STAMFORD BRIDGE IN THE LAST 7 YEARS." The capitals are theirs, not ours. Now, quite apart from the fact that CFC have never claimed to have submitted a planning application (which would have been public record!) this blast of childish nonsense demonstrates that the individuals writing it have no idea whatsoever of how such things work. SayNo have been having "weeks of discussions" with H&F. And apparently, several supporters groups have put forward ideas of how Stamford Bridge can be expanded to sixty thousand and would you believe it, the club have refused to consider any of them! (Look, don't blame us. We know this sounds absurd but we are just playing along. They really did say all of this)

Now, far be it from us to doubt the word of SayNo but CFCTruth have been having discussions with quite a few people as well and most of them are way above the level any individual from SayNo could ever encounter. A read of our blog might give you some clues. However, if you are in any doubt about the club's investigations into the possibilities at SB, there is plenty of public record information about the development of the current ground.

So why might Hammersmith and Fulham be concerned to hear talk of Battersea? Well, because they don't want Chelsea to leave the borough of course. Yes, yes, we know that. Anybody reading this blog will have already discovered that. Will anybody from Hammersmith and Fulham (who is anybody) tell a caller from SayNo what they and the club are discussing? No they won't. We have been telling you for some time that Chelsea's concerted efforts with Battersea and other activity are all designed to bring Hammersmith and Fulham to a point where they need to try to address the issues at hand and to seek genuine options.

It is hardly surprising that SayNo, as they did when H&F made their post vote statement, would take an obvious fact and drain it, strangle it of all sense and logic and then apply a slant that not only shows up their really quite surprising lack of knowledge but also reveals them to be terrified of just about any solution to the club's future that doesn't involve Stamford Bridge. Not only has the club flushed out the council but they appear to have done the same with SayNo.

On that point, there is one other issue we would like to address. Did SayNo stalwart Gray Smith, recently (very generously in our view) invited onto the board of CPO endorse such a ridiculous "letter"? Does he support the ill-informed abuse of the club? Is he not embarrassed by it? Does he also accuse the club of conducting a land grab? Is he representing the interests of shareholders or just his friends? Another reason to ensure he is rejected at the AGM.

Thursday 29 December 2011

Just because you're paranoid....

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.

Monday 26 December 2011

Discretion is the better part of valour....and take overs

The great thing about football fans is their honesty. And their big mouths. When engaged in something they feel is a "mission", they just cannot help themselves and like to tell all and sundry what they are up to. Especially in pubs. It is thus how we come by the information that SaynoCPO intends to effect a board takeover of CPO at the forthcoming AGM. One wonders whether Gray Smith, the SayNo mouthpiece who was invited onto the board to represent all sides has been playing mediator or Trojan Horse? With Mr Todd seemingly confirming the plan on his website one can only wonder what they hope to achieve. It is hard to imagine the club taking a very conciliatory position with a group who seem hell bent on preventing the club developing. Ironically, the club appear to be engaging in plenty of activity that one would expect most Chelsea fans would find acceptable with regard to the potential move. However, some elements, obsessed by their own paranoia (and who tend to contribute to lots of strange conspiracy theory muck-chucking websites) are intent on obstruction. Even though they themselves partook of some highly questionable share purchasing after October 3rd, these same elements are continually risking legal pursuit by casting undiminished aspersions on what were legal purchases. After writs were apparently issued to The Independent, that particular "route to market" was closed off. The fact that these accusations are made anonymously does little to hide the source. We have to put the issue of share purchasing to bed. It is now common knowledge that over forty percent of the No vote was cast by shares purchased after 3rd October. We are not of the opinion that these shares were purchased with a view to forcing the club into upping their offer financially after a No vote. Nor do we believe the story, also expressed by aforementioned motormouth in said pub, that the people who did buy these shares were unaware when doing so that the offer price for them could not, in fact, be increased. We don't believe that at all. We believe they did so in order to prevent the club from moving anywhere. Under any circumstances. Not EC, not Battersea...just not at all. The relevance of this issue becomes less and less profound with every day, with every new commissioned architect. And with every new development in London's political chess game too....but if you want the club to have options for the future, we suggest you make the effort to attend the AGM and ensure that a wholly unrepresentative group of people does not acquire a position to cause great harm to Chelsea FC

Friday 16 December 2011

Greenhalgh is off

So who is Greenhalgh? He is the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council and in six months time he is off. Six months, you may be aware, is when Boris may well be confirmed for another term of office as London Mayor and rumour has it that Greenhalgh is being lined up as his deputy. Greenhalgh is of interest to CFC because in Hammersmith and Fulham, his is virtually the only word with any currency. Basically, what he says goes. It is not clear how his departure will affect the situation at Stamford Bridge or more critically, Earl's Court. Boris, we know, is happy with the idea of CFC at Earl's Court. And with the difficulties being experienced with the current development (Greenhalgh and his counterparts at Kensington and Chelsea have been getting a thoroughly good kicking from residents) there is always a possibility that Boris will reassume the development back into his office.  Meanwhile, the architects who were working on that unpopular, but only speculative "north London" project have now also been engaged to produce designs for Battersea - namely Fosters. Greenhalgh, it has been alleged, was offering CFC all manner of incentives to explore the Old Oak Common development and Chelsea appear to have played him well. His departure is evidence of that. We become more convinced that Chelsea's activities, which cover a variety of options, are not all with the definite intention of moving or certainly not very far. There is a distinct suspicion that Greenhalgh has been "removed" with a bribe from Boris. He is responsible for two very critical London developments and they haven't been going well. Politicians like Greenhalgh are more than capable of binning principals for power and being deputy mayor of London would appeal to him strongly. This may well be a first move in a line of them that may open up the possibilities of Earls Court or indeed the radical development of Stamford Bridge. Suffice to say, in the corridors of power in Fulham and Kensington, with whom Greenhalgh has recently jumped firmly into bed with government encouraged bi-borough initiatives, his announcement came as something of a surprise. A little mole of ours who knows about such things would only say that his stepping down was for personal reasons. His successor will be interesting. As one local councillor put it to us, "Members in Hammersmith and Fulham won't know what to do with themselves. They barely take a shit without Greenhalgh giving them permission." On other matters, we chuckled on reading the unedited register of shareholders. Some of the people who had purchased lots of them late in the day are very interesting! However, we continue to take the view that such things are totally irrelevant. Anyway, it is a chilly day and we are off for a hot Toddy. Keep watching.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Pull yourselves together

No sooner do we park ourselves on the internet with a blog and an email address when anonymous emails, accusations and counter accusations begin to clog up the mailbox. We don't even need to do any investigation, so eager are the combatants to fill us in on what is going on. We have to admit that it is rather entertaining in a dark way. Yesterday we were sent a nonsensical, semi-literate rant by somebody who in the process listed a number  of people "under investigation" for alleged links to the club and who had bought shares after the announcement of the buy-back. Before we had even stopped laughing at it another email pinged into our box from somebody claiming that the twitter account that had posted said nonsense was, in fact, a malicious faux-account created by a Mr Todd who was in fact the author of the document. We have heard of Mr Todd but we cannot verify or prove Mr Todd set up said twitter account and nor do we know if he authored the document. We have some advice for the author; publishing information about people's lives and making barely concealed accusations of wrong-doing is not recommended. We also understand that writs have been issued to the Independent newspaper from some of those so accused. For our part, we would point out that the shares were purchased legally.  As were, incidentally, the 41% of the No vote that were also purchased AFTER the announcement. Above all, we would ask all parties not to include us in their petty point scoring.  CFCtruth has no interest in the way in which the No vote was reached. It is past history. We are not sure what this childish document hopes to achieve or what the ultimate goal of its author actually is. If a twitter account has been set up to in some way embarrass a person, we would advise against such activity. Our interests are purely the activity of the club with respect to the future location of a stadium - which brings us on to the meeting, held recently with the new architects and which we referred to in our previous blog.  It would seem that the said architect is indeed putting forward designs for a stadium at Battersea which suggests the club is seriously pursuing this option. What is certain is that such architects do not come cheap. There is one other small tidbit of information that may form part of the overall tapestry and over which you may wish to mull; we happen to know that the firm to which we refer were recently of the view that BPS was not an option. Suddenly, however, they appear to have changed their mind and have now offered their services to a willing club. One can only speculate as to what information came to light to encourage their change of heart.......

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Well, well, well......

Things appear to be hotting up significantly on the Battersea Power Station front with Chelsea very recently holding meetings with another major firm of architects with a view to them presenting proposals (we can't name the firm but trust us when we say they don't do many loft conversions). We make that three firms now working on proposals. Whilst Battersea's complex ownership issues continue to prompt questions about the eventual possibilities of this site, there is no questioning CFC's commitment to exploring the feasibility of it. In any case, one might reasonably surmise that there are interesting conversations being had somewhere. Think; banks, mayor, joint ventures, Quataris (or even Malaysians).

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Spit it out!

Interesting news has reached us that design company Populous were commissioned by CFC some weeks ago, possibly in order to be involved with the Battersea feasibility project. They have history in such things. It certainly shows that the club are engaging in some very nifty option-exploring projects around the capital and have all and sundry dancing to their tune.

Meanwhile word reaches us from within SNCPO that the people now running the show are Clint “It could still be Milton Keynes” Steele, Mark Wyeth QC, Paul Todd, Dave Spring and Gray Smith, a cabal that managed to push the original committee out of the picture (which certain original members are, allegedly unhappy about). Why, we wonder, can we tell you this when the SNCPO itself refuses to do so? And why are they busy telling all who will listen that Paul Todd is nothing to do with SNCPO any longer when, it would appear, he’s still heavily involved? Very curious.

Friday 25 November 2011

South of the river?

With the intriguing news about the club investigating the option of building a new stadium in Battersea, CFCTruth understands that things are far from dead on the Earls Court front too with the point being argued behind the scenes that a football stadium might fulfil the ‘cultural provision’ part of the planning requirements of the site and with Boris and the Mayor’s office also showing an interest. Maybe the still-mysterious people behind SNCPO (whose interview with TalkSport on Wednesday evening confirmed them as Stamford Bridge agoraphobics still obsessed with a non-existent move to Milton Keynes) should start considering whether any location for a new stadium will ever be encouragement enough for them to rise above the fight for fight’s sake and start supporting the club.

More to come...

Tuesday 22 November 2011

It's a funny old game

With the CPO vote descending into acrimony and with fans celebrating this as a victory in their battle with the Club they profess to love, it is disheartening that certain individuals are happily plundering CPO's funds by getting a QC mate to send countless letters of hysterical, pseudo-investigative complaint to CPO which require formal legal response from the CPO. A little mole tells CFCtruth that the CPO's response to the loose cannon is costing them a small fortune. All this because a few people cannot face leaving Stamford Bridge?

Stay tuned, there is more to follow, the truth is out there.