Leaving Stamford Bridge

Leaving Stamford Bridge - Emotional, but necessary

Chelsea are one of the biggest and most well-supported clubs in the world and have been hugely successful since the turn of the century. The Blues won the Premier League title in 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2015, the FA Cup in 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012, the Europa League in 2013, and the Champions League in 2012. Chelsea may not have had a rich and illustrious history before Roman Abramovich took over in 2003, but there can no doubt that in the 21st century, the London club are a global superpower.

The Blues are still not at the level of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Manchester United yet, though. Chelsea are only the eighth richest club in the world and are behind London rivals Arsenal and Manchester City among others. Although Chelsea make a lot of money through TV deals and selling merchandise, one area where they lose out is in matchday revenue.

Necessary Move
The club's home ground, Stamford Bridge, has a capacity of 41,631 - the seventh biggest in the Premier League at the moment. Even Sunderland's Stadium of Light and West Ham United's London Stadium can accommodate more spectators. Newcastle United play in front of over 50,000 fan at St. James' Park, and they are in the Championship. Chelsea, who are favourites to win the title in the English top flight according to Paddy Power Premier league odds, have an average attendance of 41,526 this season.
For Chelsea to become an even bigger club and compete with the likes of Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United on a financial level, they need to move to a bigger stadium. A £500 million plan to redevelop Stamford Bridge has been given the green light. This will increase the stadium's capacity to 60,000. It will not be ready until after the 2020-21 season, and the Blues will have to find a temporary new home from 2018.

Emotional Journey
Stamford Bridge has always been Chelsea's home and it will be quite emotional for the fans to move to a new ground. It was first opened in 1877 and was used by the London Athletic Club until 1904 when the Mears brothers, Gus and Joseph, decided to set up a football club - Chelsea - and play the home games there.
At the time, Stamford Bridge had an official capacity of around 100,000; only Crystal Palace in England could have more spectators in their ground. The stadium also had an athletics track running around the pitch.
The first major development of Stamford Bridge started in the early 1970s. Only the new East Stand could be completed due to a multiple of factors, including a shortage of materials and a strike by the builders. Chelsea then went through financial crisis which saw Ken Bates buy them in 1982 for just £1. Bates, though did not buy Stamford Bridge, which was purchased by property developers Marler Estates.
In 1990, when all grounds in the Premier League were ordered to have no stands, Chelsea had a plan for an all-seater stadium at Stamford Bridge approved. As part of the redevelopment, the running track was removed, which brought the fans closer to the pitch and made the atmosphere better. Over the past two decades or two, the stadium has become very modern, and is one of the best there is in England. And now it seems that the stadium is going to a whole new level with the redevelopment plan.

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