AVB appreciates Bridge bond

14 October 2011 09:03
Andre Villas-Boas is sure Chelsea fans will become as emotionally attached to a new state-of-the-art stadium as they are to Stamford Bridge.

On Thursday, Blues boss Villas-Boas backed the club's bid to repurchase the freehold of the ground they have played at for their entire 106-year history, something that is being seen a precursor to the construction of a 60,000-seater arena elsewhere in west London.

Opposition from supporters' groups to owner Roman Abramovich's plans to buy out the shareholders of Chelsea Pitch Owners - most of whom are fans - appeared to grow this week with the launch of the 'Say No CPO' campaign, which is urging CPO to vote down the proposal at their extraordinary general meeting on October 27.

Regaining ownership of the land on which Stamford Bridge sits, which has belonged to CPO since the 1990s, would allow the club to use the profits from its sale to fund a new stadium were they to decide to move.

Villas-Boas went through a similar saga while working under Jose Mourinho at Porto eight years ago, when the club built the Estadio Dragao.

"When you are moving house, if you are going to a better house, you want it badly in the beginning," said Villas-Boas, who is a lifelong Porto fan.

"When the house is more or less the same or you don't know if it's going to be same, you feel attached to where you were living before because it meant a lot to you.

"You need to create a better environment to leave, get to know new people and go to different restaurants."

Villas-Boas admitted having reservations about Porto's move, adding: "We were uncertain: where are we going? Why are we changing? There were no emotional links.

"But now those emotional links are all attached to the new stadium.

"Old Trafford has evolved to the Theatre of Dreams and no one thinks about the old one, which was more tight."

The prospect of Chelsea relocating has divided supporters, although the leaders of Say No CPO' have insisted they are not against it in principle and plan to vote no to the club's proposal at the CPO EGM simply to force them to provide more information.

They have also met twice with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, including on Thursday morning, to air their concerns.

Differences appear to remain between the parties and Say No CPO still plan to distribute 10,000 leaflets before the club's Premier League game against Everton on Saturday.

They have also taken issue with the club's decision to allow significant CPO shareholders private meetings with Buck and Blues captain John Terry on Monday.

They said in a statement: "Say No CPO are saddened, but not shocked, to learn that Chelsea FC have had to resort to trying to influence the votes of the largest shareholders by offering private meetings with club players."

Chelsea confirmed the meetings, insisting they were being open and transparent and pointing out the 'no' campaign were also perfectly at liberty to use players, former players or celebrity fans to back their own cause.

Ashley Cole and Daniel Sturridge last night became the second and third current players to speak publicly about a potential move at the club's latest 'An Audience With.' event at Stamford Bridge.

Cole said: "We have to trust Roman. He has put something like £800million in and if you see the training ground and what he has done there - if you look at the bigger picture - you have to trust him."

He added: "Of course people are going to miss Stamford Bridge but, if we want to evolve, I think it is a good move."

Sturridge said: "We do maybe need a bigger stadium because if you look at the biggest clubs in the Premier League and around the world, their stadiums are a bit bigger than Stamford Bridge.

"There is a lot of history at this stadium and fans have been coming here since before I was born, and I am not the person to say I think you should move away. The fans have a right to their opinion."

Source: Team_Talk