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Stamford Bridge Stadium
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Chelsea FC is planning to demolish Stamford Bridge and build a new £2bn stadium

In the meantime, Chelsea would be forced to play at Fulham's Craven Cottage

Written by
Alice Saville

Footie fans the world over will go a bit misty-eyed at the mention of Stamford Bridge, Chelsea FC’s iconic London home. Since 1905, it’s been a haven for Chelsea supporters, and it’s seen all kinds of epic footballing thrills and spills, from FA cup finals in the ’20s to pitch invasions in the hooligan era of the ’80s. Still, although it did get a bit of a spruce-up in the ’90s, Stamford Bridge has definitely seen better days. So it’s not surprising that Chelsea is revisiting plans to give it the mother of all makeovers.

The conversation about revamping Stamford Bridge began in 2011, when its then owner Roman Abramovich dreamt up a scheme to move the club to a new home that would rival Europe’s greatest, shiniest new stadiums. In 2017, the club was granted planning permission for a new stadium featuring a complex roof lattice of steel rods, with the aim of completing the rebuild by 2021. But then that plan was suddenly shelved, with Chelsea citing an unfavourable investment climate.

Now, the plans are back on the table. And it's easy to see why. Even though Chelsea is one of the UK’s biggest teams, Stamford Bridge’s 40,303 capacity means it’s only the eleventh-largest stadium in the UK, making it hard for fans to get their hands on tickets.

Current owner Todd Boehly is an American billionaire who’s overseeing plans to tear down Stamford Bridge completely and rebuild it, in a vast project that wouldn’t be completed until 2030 at the earliest. It would also mean years of upheaval for Chelsea season-ticket holders and fans. It’s likely that in the interim, matches would be held at Fulham’s Craven Cottage stadium, despite the two teams’ longstanding rivalry, while the rugby stadium at Twickenham or Wembley stadium offer other potential temporary homes. 

Still, the rewards would be massive, with the planned new stadium offering a capacity of 60,000, as well as improved facilities for the thousands of fans who pour through the turnstiles each weekend. The proposed designs have yet to be released, but Boehly’s deep pockets mean it will be a home that'll make Chelsea fans feel truly proud, whatever happens on the pitch.

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