According to the latest report, Chelsea are moving forward with their idea of redeveloping their 118-year-old Stamford Bridge. The entire cost of redevelopment will be north of £2billion. So The Blues will need a temporary home and names such as Fulham’s Craven Cottage, Twickenham or Wembley are being considered.
The club also needs to overcome several hurdles in order to go through with their idea of creating a state-of-the-art arena capable of holding 60,000 fans. Some of them are Railway and Tube lines, an underground river and an adjacent cemetery which could force the current pitch at an angle of 90 degrees.
What are Chelsea’s current alternatives for playing home games?
a) Fulham’s Craven Cottage
Fulham’s Craven Cottage is a big contender for Chelsea to temporarily relocate while the rebuild takes place. The Blues’ fans will have to not take a long trip as The Cottagers’ home is just 1.8 miles to the west of Stamford Bridge. The Blues can use this stadium to play the majority of league games and then they could switch over to Wembley for category-A Premier League games and the Champions League. Category-A games consist of major fixtures, like those against London rivals or other ‘big six’ clubs.
Sharing a ground is a very thing as all of the teams have their own home grounds. But Fulham themselves knew a thing or two about sharing homes when they played their home games at QPR’s Loftus Road while Craven Cottage underwent changes. Chelsea’s new owners have already opened up talks with Shahid Khan, the owner of Fulham.
Twickenham is not a football stadium but a rugby union stadium owned by the Rugby Football Union (RFU). The stadium is seven miles to the southwest of Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have not yet approached the RFU with a proposal to allow them to use them for association football matches. The stadium can hold about 82,000 spectators which will mean it becomes a very enticing prospect for Chelsea as more seats will mean more revenue for the club.
c) Wembley Stadium
Chelsea could also replicate Tottenham’s idea of playing all their home games at Wembley Stadium. The Lilywhites relocated temporarily to the home of English football when they were overseeing a rebuild of the now Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
What would be the costs incurred during the process?
Todd Boehly had committed to previous owner Roman Abramovich that they will spend an additional 1.75 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) on Chelsea’s men’s, women’s and academy teams and on infrastructure which includes the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge. An independent expert has weighed in and said that it will take now £2bn by the time it is hoped to be completed in 2030 with rising material costs, traffic and noise restrictions pushing up the build price. But the additional costs incurred have deterred the owners as they intend to go ahead with this rebuilding process.
The club will face a minimum of four years away from their home but Todd is determined to make this stadium into a world-class venue, which could mean not retaining any of the current stands. The Blues will be required to build decking over the London Overground railway line in order to demolish the East Stand. One option would be to make the decking permanent, to create more space for the new construction.
The owners also intend to dig several metres lower than the current pitch due to height restrictions. Chelsea are expected to find out this month whether they have acquired a 1.2-acre site next to the stadium for £50m. The land belongs to Stoll, a housing association which provides housing for military veterans.