Why Chelsea Needs to Move to Battersea Power Station

pink floyd animals Why Chelsea Needs to Move to Battersea Power Station

Ever since The Observer newspaper reported that Chelsea were seriously contemplating a move from Stamford Bridge in west London to a new stadium site next to Battersea Power Station, executives at the Blues have been acting very fidgety.

First, some background. The distance between the two locations is exactly three miles, but psychologically the locations are worlds apart. Stamford Bridge is in the very affluent boroughs between Hammersmith and Fulham. Battersea is south of the Thames river in the borough of Wandsworth. Chelsea is synonymous with the fashionable shops of nearby King’s Road. Battersea is best known for the Battersea Power Station, made famous for being featured on the cover of Pink Floyd’s album, Animals (pictured above). While the power station is a London landmark, it is so for all of the wrong reasons — giant smokestacks that pierce the London skyline.

So how and why have Chelsea been acting weird about the whole situation? First, Chelsea were very quick to deny the story but they contradicted themselves in the first two sentences of the official statement. The first sentence read “This story is total nonsense.” The second sentence then read “Chelsea is not actively considering moving to this site in Battersea.” The emphasis on the words “not actively” were added by me, but the message is clear. Chelsea is not refuting that they’re examining Battersea as an option. They’re just using doublespeak to diffuse the situation before Chelsea supporters become enraged at the thought of leaving their sacred home where they’ve been since 1905.

Three miles may not seem like much, but it’s a one hour walk from Stamford Bridge to Battersea Power Station. But more importantly, it’s a big psychological difference. North of the River Thames is synonymous with riches. South of the river Thames signifies the working class. As you move further outside the city centre of London to the west and the east, the north south divide becomes less important. But near the heart of London, it’s a massive deal.

Don’t forget that Arsenal played their early part of their existence in Plumstead, nestled south of the River Thames before they moved to north London and Highbury in 1913. That was after property magnate and Fulham chairman Henry Norris tried to merge Fulham and Arsenal together, but failed. By moving Arsenal to north London, Norris rescued the club from certain bankruptcy and extinction.

Here’s a satellite image of London to show how close but far apart Stamford Bridge is to Battersea. Notice how the smokestacks from the power station cast a shadow over the Thames directly above and to the left of Battersea, identified by the letter B below.

stamford bridge battersea Why Chelsea Needs to Move to Battersea Power Station

Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon was interviewed yesterday on Sky Sports and was asked about the stadium move. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a video of the interview, but you can tell from the following interview about Chelsea’s financial situation that Kenyon appears uncomfortable answering the question and is quite fidgety.

The potential move from west London to Battersea must be of huge interest to Roman Abramovich especially considering that the Russian billionaire holding’s have lost as much as $20 billion in paper value according to one source. The opportunity for Abramovich to redevelop Stamford Bridge into luxury apartments is immense. According to The Observer, “While Highbury is one of the more expensive areas of the capital in which to buy property, it is dwarfed by the value of land at Stamford Bridge’s west London location. While Arsenal were restricted to 711 apartments at Highbury, as the old stadium was a listed building, Stamford Bridge has no such limitations. With its far greater area, including the club’s Chelsea Village complex and extensive parking, at least 1,000 properties could be built.”

Despite Chelsea’s denials, the potential move from Stamford Bridge to the site next to Battersea Power Station makes economic sense. It would provide the Blues with a  state-of-the-art stadium with a much larger capacity than the current Stamford Bridge (capacity 42,055), which doesn’t have much room – if any – for redevelopment. It would establish Chelsea as a much bigger Premier League heavyweight with a ground closer in size to the two biggest club stadiums, Manchester United’s Old Trafford (capacity 76,212) and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,000).

For Chelsea, it makes economic sense and is a move that the club and its fans seriously need to consider. Roman Abramovich won’t be around forever. Chelsea needs to start planning its financial future today to cope when Abramovich isn’t there to sustain the club. Battersea Power Station may be the answer.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →

14 Responses to Why Chelsea Needs to Move to Battersea Power Station

  1. Panda says:

    Isn't there some kind of deal where the supporters club owns the name Chelsea and if they ever moved from Stamford Bridge the club couldn't keep the name Chelsea?

  2. John hannam says:

    Chelsea Pitch Owners is effectively a trust that was set up which owns “the pitch” and name and was set up specifically to prevent proerty developers trying to buy the ground and throw the club out as looked likely for a while in the 80's. It was a very clever ploy by ken Bates and it worked. In this situation it's very likely that any move would (although sad) still be to the benefit of the club and supporters and would probably be reluctantly agreed so would not cause any problems.

  3. dave says:

    Yep – The CPO, Chelsea Pitch Oweners would have to give the go ahead for Chelsea to keep the name

  4. peter says:

    What a complete and utter load of old bollo this article is. There isn't one piece of factual data. “it takes an hour to walk from SB to Battersea” ha hah hahahah

  5. Rob says:

    My Grandad used to walk from Battersea to SB to watch Chelsea and later on my uncles as well. I am willing to bet that a large percentage of Chelsea's original supporters came from there and the surrounding areas south of the Thames.

    Not a bad choice of location if they were to move. My only concern would be for the dogs home as we have had 2 dogs from there and they do a fantastic job.

    Also as mentioned previously the name is owned by CPO, so they would have to agree to the move.

  6. Since66 says:

    The site that has the biggest rumour is on the North side down by the river along Townmead Road – a derelict gas site. A new railway station is already under construction and has been named as Imperial Wharf.

  7. The Gaffer says:

    Peter, if you don't believe me, try Google Maps at http://tinyurl.com/63yxkl It shows 59 minutes estimated walking distance.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  8. PaulieB says:

    It takes 51 minutes actually, and it's common knowledge that Chelsea will be moving and selling Stamford Bridge using the model Arsenal used when selling the flats built in Highbury.

  9. Abhimanyu says:

    being a club of such stature chelsea have to leave stanford bridge someday. it is the time for them to be in a stadium filled with state of the art facilities.
    chelsea should leave the present and look at the future.
    giving the growth,we need a mamoth stadium to compete with real or man utd.

    and for the wealth,roman is still one of the richest and he is staying at the club for atleast next 5 years as he still needs to earn from his investments.
    what say chelsea fans???

  10. PJ says:

    My dad was a Chelsea fan born in Battersea in 1922. I don't think he worried too much about the walk. Nowadays, the majority of London-based Chelsea fans are in South London as far as I can make out. If anybody is too worried about the walk, they could always try Queenstown Road station anyway. Or, with the price of a ticket into Stamford Bridge, they'll probably run to a sherbet in any case – it ain't that far “Nah, South of the river guv' really.

  11. WHIZZ says:

    The talk about it being a 'massive deal' moving south of the river is rubbish. I'd say the walk is more like 40 mins and traditionally Battersea is home to a large majority of true Chelsea fans.

  12. zola says:

    I think we can safely assume the author of this “article” does not live in London or visit the Bridge much. The stuff about the “psychological difference”, north/south divide etc. is total rubbish. It would be sad to leave the Bridge but we have to plan for a post-Roman world sooner rather than later. And if we develop the Bridge into flats and sell them off at >£500k a pop then the move could be almost self-financing.

  13. Yoonis Kaamil says:

    Chelsea should we want look new design for stadium for good showing and how we know the Blues believed whose following leaving a Stamford Brigde and moved to Battersea power station, Blues up capacity 55.000 or 60.000 is maybe following a working for design stadium for show good.

  14. Diagi says:

    Cant d CPO transfer d ownership 2 d new pitch after it has been built?

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