No troubled water over new Bridge
CHELSEA submit the planning application today for their new 60,000- seat stadium at Stamford Bridge, having gone the extra mile to ensure they have the support of fans and local residents.
The blueprint, which has been worked on in conjunction with Hammersmith and Fulham Council since October 2011, will allow Chelsea fans, if they wish, to sit in the same seat in the same stand as they do now, although the ground is being rebuilt from scratch over three years.
The stands will have the same names, so fans can stay in their favoured place. This is because at two public exhibitions to showcase the plans, which drew a 93 per cent approval rate, the most common question fans asked planners was where their seat would be.
The methods of keeping the neighbours onside include apprentice schemes to learn building skills during construction and ensuring minimum disruption by employing Keltbray, the firm who are painstakingly bringing down Earls Court Exhibition Centre brick by brick.
Chelsea, who have to place the first notice of their planning application in a local newspaper today, hope to obtain permission from the council by next summer and would then move out for three seasons from 2017-18.
A deal to play at Wembley is already being negotiated, although Tottenham also want to use the national stadium for that first season while White Hart Lane is redeveloped.
The new Chelsea ground is being totally financed by owner Roman Abramovich, whose specialist stadium team are working separately from the football club.
Such is the emphasis on football and Chelsea history that there is no room in the new design for the club’s administrative operation, which will have to find nearby premises. The minimum cost of the build has been put at £600million, although it could be a lot more as the construction tender is yet to be done.
THE highest estimate has new England rugby head coach Eddie Jones (right) earning £500,000 a year, which puts his income below RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie, who the latest RFU annual report reveals was paid a whopping package of £600,000 in 2015. This makes him the best-paid boss of a national sporting body in the UK, perhaps only rivalled by the FA’s Martin Glenn. And this in a year when the England rugby team exited a home World Cup at the group stage.