Chelsea news as surprise Stamford Bridge stadium alternative emerges following Pitch Owners statement

Todd Boehly and Chelsea’s new owners are continuing their attempts to expand the capacity for the club’s stadium with several options remaining on the table. After 15 months of the Boehly-Clearlake Capital consortium being in charge there is still no clear roadmap towards the desired outcome.

As Roman Abramovich found in the final years of his own tenure and many predicted, expanding the current capacity via redevelopment or a permanent switch to another are both complex issues. It has lead to very little genuine movement from the club, though it was announced last week that a 1.2 acre plot of land had been purchased from veteran housing charity Stoll.

That gives Chelsea room to manouvre in the future but nothing is imminent as the Blues wouldn’t be able to use the land until at least 2025. However, that hasn’t stopped Boehly from making moves to sound out the possible routes for the club to go down.

On the same day that the Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) released a statement regarding the future of Stamford Bridge it was reported in the Daily Mail that Boehly, who is club chairman, had held ‘informal talks’ with west London neighbours Fulham over a possible groundshare.

The Cottagers play just one mile away by the Thames and have been going through some stadium renovations of their own, expanding the capacity slowly over a number of years with partial closure of stands dating back to 2021. However, they can currently hold less than 30,000 fans, nearly 15,000 less than Stamford Bridge.

Although any move or change is still some way off, CPO said that they had ‘not yet been informed of any decision made by the Club on its future plans for the stadium’, there are plans being explored with the belief that remaining on the current site is still preferred. This raises questions of its own though as the chances to do a stand-by-stand redevelopment remain small.

That would take much longer to complete with reports suggesting that a 2030 finish date labelled as ‘optimistic.’ It is also not certain whether there is room at the current site to carry out such extensive work and have the stadium remain operational.

The only other way to work with this would be to move away from SW6 for a period, like Tottenham did between 2017 and 2019, but that means finding another ground. Wembley and Twickenham have been mooted as options though both have their complications logistically.

Craven Cottage is an outside option which makes sense in terms of its geography but perhaps not much more due to the rivalry between Fulham and the Blues. This latest report of Boehly’s talks indicates that it is not being rules out though. Although there is currently no timeframe on when things might change, the CPO did add: “We believe their decision is due to be finalised shortly, having worked through all the available options.”

The statement continues: “As we understand it, although the purchase of the Stoll site has been agreed, it will be some considerable time before the site can be vacated. In addition, a new planning application would be required, even though some of that work was done during the earlier project under Roman Abramovich.

“Once an application has been approved, estimates on the time required for demolition and rebuild vary from four years up to as much as seven years, during which time the Club would need to relocate its home games.” This would also be a medium-term solution with work expected to take at least four years if this is the way that the club go.

Craven Cottage is certainly a new option when it comes to this with Wembley as the most obvious first choice, but Ben Jacobs pointed out the positives and negatives of such a move. “Chelsea, the options mentioned, do they stay local?” he questioned whilst on the Si Phillips Talks Chelsea podcast.

“Is there maybe a groundshare with Fulham? Would they be open to it and does it cater to Chelsea’s needs and does it hit the capacity numbers? Beggers can’t be choosers. Wembley wouldn’t go down well because it’s in north London but it’s the right size and it’s not used as much so that’s a possibility. There’s no way that West Ham or Tottenham or Arsenal would ever be possible so the options are few and far between.

“Technically, you’ve got Selhurst Park but it’s in the wrong part of London. In theory you’ve got somewhere outside of London but if it’s for over four years it’s a long-time to go to somewhere like the Madejski Stadium but I use that as an example because again, on a motorway it’s quite accessible, it’s the right type of size and you would definitely have a club like Reading say ‘brilliant, we would love that business, make that stadium your own’ but I don’t think the fanbase would allow for that, it’s too far away, outside of London. There aren’t really any positive solutions that please everybody.”

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