Last week I missed the chance to watch a live game at FC Chelsea's home ground Stamford Bridge due to the tube strike and in a few years time the venue might not be the home of the Blues anymore. Speculations have once more come up in London that Chelsea could build a new 60,000 seater stadium at what is now the Earls Court exhibition centre.
But why are Chelsea considering to move elsewhere? Stamford Bridge in southwest London has been the home of Chelsea FC for over a hundred years, but to compete at the top level in the English Premier League and also the UEFA Champions League the club needs a bigger and better stadium. Stamford Bridge currently can hold up to 42,000 spectators, which is way too small for a club of the size and ambition of Chelsea FC.
Let's look at their rivals. Manchester United's Old Trafford Stadium can hold 76,000; the Emirates Stadium of Arsenal has a capacity of 60,000; while FC Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspurs are working on plans for new and bigger stadiums. The advantage of size simply means extra revenue for the clubs plus also better facilities in the case of the Emirates, which is only four years old. And this is a gap which Chelsea needs to reduce and eventually close. The only problem is that Stamford Bridge cannot be expanded further as it is on Fulham Road with no expansion possibilities around the ground, parking being always a problem.
And getting a suitable plot in west/southwest London is difficult to impossible. So the Earls Court exhibition centre looks the best potential option for the club to fulfil their dreams of a 60,000 seater stadium with all modern amenities integrated into the facility.
This is only becoming possible as the Earls Court exhibition centre is likely to be demolished by its owners to create new housing with up to 8,000 flats. But in the centre of the property there is space for a sports arena and there Chelsea could build their new home, only a few kilometres away from Stamford Bridge. If the stadium will become a reality will have to be seen as there is local opposition to the plans of the owners Capital and Counties plus Chelsea haven't official said anything in public, but the plans aren't new and could be relooked at by the club.