It's been revealed recently that Chelsea FC is intending to pursue buying back the land on which sits our club's stadium, Stamford Bridge. The land is currently owned by a group known as Chelsea Pitch Owners, or CPO, who purchased it in the 1990s when the future of the stadium was up in the air.
But now, as a result of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's "ownership and long-term commitment" to the club, the second-party ownership is no longer needed.
The buzz, however, is that this could be an omen to a potential relocation of CFC's home ground sometime in the future, seeing as the area around the current stadium in too congested to simply modify and renovate Stamford Bridge as it is now.
As a fan, I personally don't have a position on this issue yet, but here are three reasons each for leaving and staying...
First, here are three reasons to stay...
One reason to stay at Stamford Bridge is the history of the venue.
Designed by noted architect Archibald Leitch, the stadium was built in 1877, and was the home of the London Athletics Club from that year until 1904, when the stadium's owner, Gus Mears, founded Chelsea Football Club to occupy the ground.
It originally had a football pitch in the middle encircled by a running track, distancing fans from the action.
The Bridge has gone through several renovations over the last 100 or so years, the most notable being after Ken Bates bought the club in 1982. The ground's track was removed, and the stadium was turned into an all-seater arena following the Hilllsborough disaster of 1989.
Today, the Bridge holds almost 42,000 spectators, who are certainly happy with their home just as it is.
More information on Stamford Bridge's history can be found here.
The fact is, the Bridge as it is now is not a completely unsuitable home for our Blues. Sure, the seating capacity isnt as great as the stadiums of some of our rivals, but 42,000 isnt a horrible max capacity at all, considering Manchester City's newly built stadium is only at 48,000 capacity.
For perspective, here is the capacities of some of our rivals' home grounds:
- Old Trafford - 76,000
- Eastlands - 48,000
- Emirates Stadium - 60,000
- White Hart Lane - 36,000
- Anfield - 46,000
- Goodison Park - 40,000
- Stadium of Light - 49,000
- St. James Park - 52,000
- Villa Park - 43,000
Given these numbers, Chelsea is about in the middle, meaning that by no means are we in a must-move situation.
Many fans and home-game-regulars say the Bridge possesses something a newer venue probably never could - atmosphere.
There is a certain atmosphere about older stadiums that just isn't achieved with newer-built ones like Etihad, Emirates and Wembley. There's much less character, hominess and soul with newer stadiums, which all seem to be just a big oval of seats with a pitch in the middle. The Bridge has character and an ambiance to it that a new one could probably never provide.
For example, compare Stamford Bridge here to the newly-built Emirates Stadium here. Theres a hugely obvious difference in the two. The modern Emirates looks more like a showpiece than a stadium - where tens of thousands of fans should be able to go to passionately support their club in an environment that feels warm and welcoming.
Give up Stamford Bridge now, and we may never get the abstract things it provides back again.
And here are three reasons to leave and relocate...
One reason to leave Stamford Bridge would be that relocating and building a new stadium would be a huge step into the future for our club.
Obviously, we had a major overhaul in 2003 when it changed ownership, and that turned out for the best. Who's to say moving to a new ground wouldn't produce the same positive results?
Some of our rival clubs like Arsenal and Manchester City have relocated and moved into newer, more modern stadiums with much larger capacities than their former ones, as seen on the left.
Some people may think, if Chelsea has a chance to do the same, we'd be crazy not to take it.
Another reason to move to a larger stadium is the increased revenue from the additional ticket sales.
Seeing as a move to a new stadium is reported to mean our club's ground's capacity could almost double, it would bring in a huge increase of money to fund other club initiatives and help us to become more self-sufficient.
It would also be a plus to the fans, allowing more to visit each home game.
And the last reason for a move would be that it may just be time for a change.
We have wonderful memories of our time at Stamford Bridge that most fans will never forget, but doesn't part of being a club with a bright future include being able to say goodbye to the past?
In the end, this debate is likely to have two opposing sides to it for a very long time, considering a move isn't likely at all before the year 2020.
So what do you think? Should we stay at Stamford Bridge, or relocate to somewhere new?