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Chelsea 3 v 2 Leeds United
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 11th December 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Chelsea Awaydaze
Thursday, 9th Dec 2021 08:15 by Tim Whelan

You might have expected our trip to Chelsea to be televised on one satellite channel or other, but it isn’t So our run of very difficult fixtures starts with a traditional 3pm Saturday kick-off.

If you’re driving the best bet is to leave the M25 at Junction 15 and take the M4 towards London, which then becomes the A4. Carry on over the Hammersmith flyover and after a further one and half miles, take the Earls Court turning (A3220). Continue past Earls Court station and down the one-way system until you reach the junction with Fulham Road (A304).

At this junction, turn right at the traffic lights and after about half a mile, you will see the ground on your right. I’ve been told that the Awydaze was very old school for not including the postcode for sat navs, so here it is. SW6 1HS.

Not that you will be able to park right outside Stamford Bridge if this modern technology took you all the way there. A number of local resident schemes are in operation around the stadium, and the car parks are rather pricey too. so you may well end up having to park some distance away.

You're probably better off parking further away and catching the tube to Fulham Broadway, which is on the Wimbledon branch of the district line. The junction for this branch is Earl’s Court, and as it’s a bit hairy trying to get a drink close to the stadium, it’s probably best to head for the ‘Courtfield Tavern’, which is almost opposite the main entrance to Earls Court station.

In the eighties there used to be gangs of Chelsea fans ready to attack anyone changing trains at Earl's Court who wasn't wearing Chelsea colours, and if they asked if you were a Leeds fan and you said you weren't they usually hit you anyway. Thankfully it's much safer to use the underground now.

For many decades Stamford Bridge had an oval shape, having been the home of the London Athletic club before Chelsea moved in in 1905. In the early 1970s they had ambitious plans to revamp all four sides of the ground, but in this period only the huge and vastly expensive East Stand was completed (in 1973) and it’s cost came very close to bankrupting the club.

The re-development of the other three sides of the Bridge had to wait for Matthew Harding’s cash to arrive in the mid-90s. The demands of the Taylor meant that the terraces at both ends had to be replaced by all-seater stands, and a new west stand finished the job in 2001. This gave them a present-day capacity of 41,631.

The away section is on one side of the Shed End lower tier (towards the East Stand side), where the normal allocation for league games is 3,000 tickets. Inevitably our allocation sold out almost as soon as it went on sale, and thanks to Premier League regulations they cost £30 for adults, with concessions at £23.50.

The view from this area of the ground is pretty good and the refreshment areas are modern looking, though the choice of scoff is limited and rather expensive. Alcohol is available for most fixtures, but it remains to be seen if it will be served when we are the visitors! If you don't want to subsidise Chelsea's expensive squad any more than you have to, you can find more reasonably priced refreshments in the large numbers of takeaways along the Fulham Road.

Nearby is the 'Chelsea Village', which offers 2 four-star hotels, four restaurants, apartments, banqueting and conference facilities, as well as a health club. That was all built by one Ken Bates, who fell out with Matthew Harding, who wanted the money to be invested in the playing squad rather than on this tomfoolery. Whatever happened to master Bates?

In 2001 Stamford Bridge was the largest football stadium in London. Obviously that would be surpassed by the rebuilt Wembley, and in the years since Spurs, Arsenal and West Ham have all moved to larger new premises. So Chelsea now feel the need to catch up, and even with Abramovic’s wealth they could do with a big increase in matchday revenues, to make sure they stay within FFP limits.

In 2017 they secured planning permission for the demolition and rebuilding of a new and revamped 60,000 capacity Stamford Bridge, presumably with the club playing at Wembley while the work was carried out. But this now lapsed and no building work has been done, with the club simply stating the “new stadium project is on hold”.

The project is still expected to go ahead at some point but Chelsea won’t say when. Perhaps it has all been delayed by Covid and they are waiting to see how it all pans out. So we might get a larger allocation of tickets at some point in the future, but then again we may not.

Some of this stuff came from .


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