Chelsea fans leave Roman Abramovich’s new stadium bid in tatters


Fans yesterday rejected club proposals to buy the freehold to Stamford Bridge.


By James Pozzi

Chelsea fans left Roman Abramovich’s bid for a new stadium in tatters yesterday after rejecting club proposals to buy the freehold to Stamford Bridge. 

The Chelsea Pitch Owners voted 61.6% in favour of the proposal, falling short of the 75% needed for the club to take ownership of the supporter owned pitch and stands.

It is now unclear whether or not Abramovich will move forward with plans to take Chelsea away from their 106-year-old home to a new, increased capacity stadium.

Jonathan Evans, 33, a Chelsea supporter who attended the meeting, said: “The fans have spoken and made it crystal clear that this move is not good for the club.

“People will talk about the board getting a bloody nose but it runs a lot deeper than that – the terms of this move were simply unacceptable to us,” he added.

The issue of a new stadium has been on the agenda ever since Abramovich – who is said to be worth £9bn – took control of the club from Ken Bates in 2003.

The club had hoped to entice fans into backing the proposal by offering incentives such as placing the names of CPO members on a wall of honour at Stamford Bridge.

The incentives were criticised by fans at the meeting to Chairman Bruce Buck and Chief Executive Ron Gourlay, who were both in attendance.

Had the proposal been accepted, the Russian Oligarch would have gained ownership of £300m worth of real estate, a notion that left fans suspicious to his motives.

But in a statement on the club website, Mr Buck says the incentives were fair and insists Abramovich doesn’t stand to gain financially from any possible move away.

“I know it’s been ridiculed and I am sorry and disappointed by that but we made that proposal in good faith,” he said.

When contacted by The South West Londoner, the CPO was unavailable for comment.

However, supporters who voted in favour of the club’s plans say they are disappointed with the decision and still hope an agreement can be reached.

Chelsea season ticket holder of 30 years, David Tarker, 52, said: “I love Stamford Bridge, but its 41, 000 capacity is far too restrictive for a club with our aspirations.

“If we are to compete with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal who both get more than 60,000 a game, then we have to leave our spiritual home in order to do so.”

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