Sunday 18 November 2012

Time for a message?

It has been a while since anything of note regarding CFC's stadium situation emerged. Earl's Court remains interesting now that the residents of West Ken and Gibbs Green estates have won the right to challenge the development in the High Court. All sorts of things might happen there.

One curiosity though is Battersea. More specifically, since it was announced that the Setia bid had been successful, we have heard nothing from the club; no submission, no statements giving up on it - nothing. We do find that a bit curious and as ever lots of rumours are flying regarding what is going on there, what might be happening with the development, hints of viability issues for the Malaysians. More specifically that Almacantar were the only recognised developer in the
running with an end-user for the Power Station. If we were the Malaysians, we would ask why none of the big UK players wanted it? It all leads us to believe that the club have certainly not given up the ghost; the circumstances have changed now that the Malaysians own the
site. Those chimneys, no doubt English Heritage and the costs of conversion et al are causing issues for the developers but could Chelsea be digging around, offering to remove the major "risk"? We think it highly likely but it got us thinking about the new status quo that exists.

It is our firm belief that the "no" vote caused a critical blip in our plans to hijack the Earl's Court development. Big players in the property market play all the angles, especially when they own the rights to a lucrative plot - CapCo most certainly did that and it was up to CFC to deliver. Crucially, what one imagines they will have to deliver is Stamford Bridge so that a developer has something to make up for allowing the club to occupy a swathe of valuable potential residential property space. Can CFC provide that as part of any deal? Is the first "no" vote giving Setia, or CapCo for that matter, pause for thought? It seems unlikely to us that SAYNO would muster enough support to stymie a stadium at either Earl's Court or Battersea. And we have heard even the most ardent SAYNO supporters say that they would be happy to see the club move to either site.

With locations limited, the club find itself in a very awkward position. It is one thing CFC wanting to play its cards close to its chest but one imagines that Setia and/or CapCo, searching as they are for capital and political support, feel the same way about revealing anything radical. The
one uncertainty remains the reaction of this small band of Chelsea supporters. The fact is that Chelsea fans are generally inactive when it comes to forcing positive change but are adept at working themselves and others into a lather about perceived wrongdoing. Conspiracy theories have dogged this entire issue. The almost total acceptance of LBHF's position is evidence of that.

The conundrum is impossibly tricky. For the club to ask CPO shareholders for their shares, one expects they will now, after the first fiasco, explain the plan. That plan may depend on swift manoeuvres and secrecy up to a point. But any potential CFC partner will want to know
that the club can deliver the land at Stamford Bridge in return for a plot at either EC or BPS. But how can it do that until a vote is taken?

The only solution we can think of is for Chelsea Pitch Owners to make it abundantly clear what they WOULD accept by way of location and perhaps then the club can enter into negotiations with confidence should such negotiations be on offer.

Could a resolution committing to sell for a site within, say, 2.5 miles of SB be a way forward? It would probably be unwise to mention the specific sites or tie it down to the two main ones; who knows what might emerge? And we have to bear in mind the delicacies. But we do know that certain areas, previously discussed, would be unacceptable so the mile marker is crucial. Could the various fan groups make it abundantly clear what their position on the two sites are? We, for example, are more than happy to say that we would sell our own shares for Battersea or Earls Court.

Whatever is done, we have an awful fear that the unpredictability of CPO shareholders and the recent bad blood is shackling the club somewhat. How often might the club be asked "can you get the shares?" Maybe the destiny of the club is more in our hands than we think? Maybe we have to give a strong positive message to the club and others about what we will do and thus strengthen their hand as they try to achieve what we all aspire to?


  1. Good post. Let's see a positive initiative from CPO to move things forward.

  2. This is a good blog, needs to be spread as far and wide as possible. Hopefully this post will reach CPO ears.

  3. As a Pitch Owner I would have absolutely no issues whatsoever in giving up my share for a guarenteed move to either Battersea or Earls Court. I am also convinced that the majority of share holders would be of the same opinion. Having sat in the extraordinary meeting all those months ago the argument was lost by the CFC board not won by the SAYNO campaign. Hopefully this will be passed on within the pitch owners circle and CPO will be able to give the club a very positive message.

    1. What do you mean "hopefully"? Go pass it on!

  4. Bit confused by this blog. While I agree that EC and Battersea are desirable locations, I see no reason to believe the club would get anything but a positive result in any vote were it clear it would be either of these locations. Regarding Battersea, plans have been unveiled. Chelsea made a statement upon losing the bid, why should they have made a statement since? I don't understand. If the vote put the blockers on any EC plans, as you assert, why did the club insist upon their 10 mile radius or whatever it was? That doesn't make sense either. If they were really serious about EC and were dependent upon a "yes" vote to convince CapCo, they certainly went the wrong way about it. The other thing to throw into the mix is this: Chelsea may be able to offer SB to any interested developer, but LBHF do not have to grant planning consent, particularly if it involves Chelsea going to Battersea and leaving the borough. The site is no good on its own, it will require compulsory purchasing orders and planning approval for whatever plans the developers have. Lastly, if the club require CPOs to give their approval to moving within 2.5 miles, you would have thought they would have asked for it first. What you seem to be suggesting is that CPOs give their consent to something that isn't even being asked for, and that seems strange. Thanks for your thoughts however, an invaluable service you provide to all Chelsea fans. If you can answer some of my questions that would be great :)

  5. Anon.
    It is not clear in the minds of everybody that CPO would win a vote although we believe CFC would win on either of those sites. Have the club made a statement since Setia purchased the site?
    The club offered a 3 mile radius which got many people thinking about a site in Scrubs Lane. LBHF have been trying to keep CFC at SB in order to keep them out of EC for all of the reasons we have put forward on this blog. EC is but a few hundreds yards down the railway line and still in the borough. CFC could not reveal their plan at EC for obvious reasons - rock and a hard place...though hints were enormous.
    If Chelsea, a business resident in the borough, decide to move to Battersea, something has to be done with the land they vacate and no planning authority has a right to be spiteful in blocking what would be a valuable development and which would no doubt include many social benefits to the borough.


    Not sure why you find it curious the club haven't said any more. I don't think there is any more to say, certainly not as yet anyway.

    Thanks for your response I am a lot clearer now.

  7. Since that statement, the bid HAS been confirmed which would have normally suggested the club would withdraw and accept it was no longer an option. They haven't. And now we know why.