Posted on November 16th, 2017
Chelsea won’t go home to the new Stamford Bridge stadium until 2024 at the earliest, with redevelopment work delayed by at least four years. The ambitious project to build an entirely new, modern stadium on the grounds of Chelsea’s beloved home turf is underway, but cannot begin in earnest until the Blues hit the road. So, what does this all mean?
Once the 2018-19 season ends, a temporary home needs to be found for at least four years whilst the building work is underway. Originally, the club hoped to move into the redeveloped stadium for the 2020-21 season, but this date has now been pushed back. Perhaps this may be troubling news for a team whose performance this season so far has been underwhelming in comparison to last year’s success.
Home to Chelsea F.C. since its formation in 1905, Stamford Bridge is an important part of the club’s history and currently seats 41,600. The redevelopment project will see the capacity increase to 60,000 whilst remaining on the original site. This will add 13,374 extra, general admission tickets per game, providing the club with the perfect opportunity for a boost in revenue. Although it’s no match for Old Trafford’s 75,643 seats, it will provide Chelsea with the joint, fifth-biggest football ground in England.
Sadiq Khan granted the club planning permission in March 2017 to go ahead with the £500 million project to redevelop the iconic stadium. However, the architects responsible for the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, Weiwei, Herzog, Xinggang and de Meuron, were contracted to carry out the redesign, and their plans promise a world-class, state-of-the-art football ground. Club owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly talking to Chinese investors about financing the project.
A complete change of location was initially under consideration, with the former Battersea Power Station being featured in suggestions. In fact, it was even thought that because of limited space and the proximity of local train lines, staying in Stamford Bridge’s current location was unfeasible.
Ultimately, however, it has been decided that Chelsea should remain at the club’s birthplace. Despite potential funding that could have been raised through selling naming rights to the new stadium, they will also retain the name ‘Stamford Bridge’ after the redevelopment. Apparently, it wasn’t worth losing such a historic name in football.
The London club rivals, Tottenham Hotspur F.C., have recently also been displaced whilst their home ground White Hart Lane is being redeveloped. And they’ve done well in their recent stint at temporary home Wembley, setting a new record for attendance at a Champion’s League game. The odds now stand at 16/1 for them to win the league.
Chelsea currently sits fourth on the table, followed closely by Liverpool and Arsenal. They face a tough battle to ensure a Champion’s League qualification for the 2017-18 season and may struggle to make it in. The Premier League champions need to qualify for next season in order to profit from those potentially lucrative Champion’s League games.
Both Wembley and West Ham’s London Stadium are being touted as viable options to host the displaced team, with no confirmation of where the team will move to yet. Manager Roman Abramovich, however, will certainly be feeling the pressure to keep the players at their best with so much uncertainty about where the team will be until the new Stamford Bridge is finished. We’ll all be watching how this plays out.