From personal experience, moving home can require a Herculean effort. Not only do you have to eradicate the memory of your old dwelling but you also have to adapt your lifestyle to new surroundings. Will you ever be as content in a new home? All of these thoughts enter your mind as the upheaval of relocating takes hold.
Chelsea have called Stamford Bridge their home for well over a century. The team have a historical and spiritual connection to the ground, that has never welcomed any guest kindly through its doors. However, with the Blues Premier League competitors relocating, or renovating to a very high standard in terms of capacity and facility, the Bridge is gradually diminishing down the list of England’s foremost and capacious stadia.
The Blues had made a substantial offer for the rights to the land that currently houses the abandoned Battersea Power Station, looking to incorporate the structures’ four famous pillars into a state-of-the-art 60,000 seater stadium. Unfortunately, the offer has now been rejected and a Malaysian consortium have purchased the land for new homes and offices. It now seems bleak for Chelsea’s hopes of finding a future home and Stamford Bridge may be in occupancy for a few years yet.
However, with a glance across the city and an observation of Arsenal and their well documented dilemma’s, would Chelsea relocating have generated any success other than an increase in revenue, that would hardly impact the clubs already vast coffers?
The nostalgic supporters of the football world who have been attending the same venue to watch their favoured team for countless years, would find a move away from their settled residency difficult, especially when previous relocations that have been attempted by other clubs have not always provided fruitful outcomes. When Arsenal first moved to the Emirates stadium in 2006, it took the Gunners a considerable amount of time to become accustomed to their new surroundings. Drawing many of their first few home games, unable to find that clinical finishing on their new turf, meant that the clubs move was questioned. The fact that the trophy cabinet at their new stadium remains empty suggests that the upheaval may have disheveled the consistency of success at the North London Club. A more farfetched example can be drawn upon, when England struggled to settle into the new Wembley after the world famous Two Towers that were the gateway to the nations football, were torn down. Should Chelsea move to pastures new in the near future, the club should draw comparisons with the aforementioned relocation situations and choose the perfect moment to move, adhering to form and stability.
Another factor that questions whether moving stadium is a necessity, is the financial aspect of the transition. Granted, the revenue that a wonderfully facilitated stadium brings to a club is positive. However, the financial implications through building costs and maintenance can be a hindrance on a club in subsequent years. Transfer budgets may decrease in size and debts may become uncontrollable. Chelsea may have the fortunate backing of Mr. Abramovich to smooth the financial path but the Blues may have to look at the long term and decide whether a stadium move and an increased revenue is worth running the many risks that come with relocation.
Renovating and increasing capacity at Stamford Bridge is a possibility but will need to be discussed with respective councils. However, for the short term staying put may be the best idea for Chelsea. So many new stadiums lack soul and are comparable to Americanised arenas that display a total dearth of history and culture. Although Chelsea’s loyal fans would fill any Stadium that the club decides to call home, it just wouldn’t have the rich history that a stadium like Stamford Bridge displays so majestically.
With the title of European Champions now firmly written in the history books beside Chelsea FC, in addition to a time of transition at the club with young players arriving and the old guard gradually departing, to add any risk of problematic negativity to the team by moving home and disjointing the positive movement around Stamford Bridge at the moment would be a foolish decision.