By Peter Guest, FootballPredictions.NET, 20:56 26/08/2020
In their 105-year history, English giants Chelsea have been crowned league champions on six different occasions, including five times in the last 15 years.
Chelsea FC play at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have spent their entire history playing at this stadium, which is in Fulham. ‘The Bridge’, as it is known, was built in the late 1800s.
It currently holds 41,000 spectators, making it the ninth-largest Premier League ground.
The Bridge has been one of the most significant stadiums in English football history, but its future as Chelsea’s home for years is not guaranteed, at least not in its current form.
History of the Bridge
Stamford Bridge was opened in 1877 for use by the London Athletic Club and they used the ground up until Chelsea’s formation in 1905. It has been the home of The Blues ever since. The Bridge has played host to a number of England internationals, FA Cup semi-finals, and the Community Shield.
It also played host to the last three FA Cup finals before the showpiece event was moved to Wembley Stadium in 1923. All three finals finished 1-0 as Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur and Huddersfield Town lifted the famous trophy in 1920, 1921, and 1922 respectively.
Chelsea have called Stamford Bridge home for over a century but there have been plans to end their association with The Bridge in the past.
At present, there are plans to expand the stadium from a 41,000 capacity to 63,000 in time for the start of the 2023-24 season. These plans have been in place for a number of years but the ground’s location in a built-up area of London has made it difficult to secure planning permission.
As a result, the club owner Roman Abramovich has previously considered moving to a number of different sites including Earls Court and Battersea Power Station.
However, due to the Chelsea Pitch Owners’ (the owners of the ground) articles of association, the club would have to relinquish the name ‘Chelsea Football Club’ if they were to move to a new permanent home.
This fact would seemingly put an end to any hopes of moving away from The Bridge.
If the current planned expansion is to go ahead in the future, though, a new temporary home is likely to be required during the renovations. Both Twickenham and Wembley Stadiums have been contacted by the club over a potential short-term tenancy.
Current Form of Stamford Bridge
The ground looks a lot different nowadays compared with its appearance after being originally completed during the late 1870s. Despite work taking place in 1904 and 1905 to prepare it for the arrival of Chelsea, the most extensive renovations occurred during the 1990s.
The Bridge was developed into an all-seater stadium to abide by new laws brought in following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, with work being completed in 1998. At present, Stamford Bridge has 51 executive suites to go along with the near 41,000 regular seats available to supporters.
In addition, it is less than a five-minute walk from the nearest London Underground station - Fulham Broadway. It also now comprises four stands, compared to just one when Chelsea first moved in.
The Matthew Harding Stand - named after former club director Matthew Harding - is located at the north end of the ground and operates at a reduced capacity when hosting European fixtures.
Opposite this is the famous Shed End, which nowadays is the home of away supporters after they were moved from the East Stand to make room for the family section.
Finally, the West Stand is where the executive suites are located, having originally been constructed during the 1964-65 season.