Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Trust: Chelsea fans split over H&F & CFC

Chelsea Football Club and Hammersmith & Fulham Council seem split over whether the existing Stamford Bridge stadium can be extended to accomodate 60,000 fans or whether the club will have to leave the borough.

The Football Club said recently that in all likelihood our Council would turn down planning permission for a larger stadium and that therefore they should leave, having already appointed architects to look at the Battersea power station site. 

But last week our Council replied that it would be possible to enlarge the stadium and that the club should stay. Chelsea fans suspect the Clubs motivation has more to do with the failed attempt to buy the pitch from the fan organisation that owns it, infuriating owner Roman Abramovitch

My fellow blogger over at True Blue, a Chelsea fan site, asks the question - who do you trust? The Council or the Club? It's a question over trust on planning issues that for me has come to define this Council, with trust being in short supply from residents after being repeatedly ignored in favour of property developers - just think of the Hammersmith King Street project which is on ice (and will return if Boris is re-elected), the Goldhawk Road scheme, the Shepherd's Bush Market scheme and of course the West Ken estate. In each case a 'consultation' is launched, but the Council does what it wants anyway - and then tries to gag the planning committee that is supposed to act independently.

True Blue puts the Chelsea situation thus:

Hmmmm, do you trust the club? 

Hammersmith and Fulham council, is by and large extremely sensitive to criticism, and what it sees as political pressure being heaped upon it, especially when the next election is never too far away. 

Councillor Nick Botterill, deputy leader of the council said in his awe-inspiring way: “Stamford Bridge is Chelsea’s historic home and the council believes it should be their future home.

“We cannot comment on the financial conclusions CFC have drawn but it is very likely that any move away from Fulham would cost far more than the £600million the club claims it would cost to rebuild its current ground or the cost of upgrading and expanding the existing Stamford Bridge structures.”

So if they cannot comment on Chelsea financial conclusions, how DID they come to conclude that it would cost Chelsea FC more than £600million to move out of the borough.

Chelsea would no doubt, like it to be known that the council hasn’t come up with any figures to back up that assertion.

So who do you now trust?

The club say that they have no plans (yet) to propose a new buy back of CPO shares.

The council says its willing to talk to the club - the club says likewise.

Neither seems willing to make the first move towards meaning and binding dialogue.

For my penny’s worth, I think both sides are so disingenuous - their past actions and words are paradigm examples of this, that it is clear that the present incumbents are neither truly willing or capable of finding a solution.

A reasonable conclusion. 

1 comment:

  1. Chelsea probably should move away from the borough. The borough is already well served by 2 other premier league clubs conveniently situated in both the north and south of the borough, and of course Chelsea is the name of our neighbouring borough - so it really doesn't sit naturally in LBHF. The other reason for moving is that the Chelsea supporter base is mostly from the south western corridor, out of London through Kingston and out into the home counties (there's a club shop in Guildford) - there's very few local Chelsea fans these days, many having abandoned the club when prices went astronomical. With QPR vying for a new ground too, and in such a small borough, if one does need to leave, then it seems logical that that would be Chelsea. There isn't a single club serving that huge south western gap.

    Having said that, Chelsea's shady owners are exactly the types that this council likes to court, so will be watching this saga unfold with interest (or most likely bewilderment).