Chelsea have been defeated in their bid to buy back the freehold of Stamford Bridge on Thursday following a dramatic and extraordinary general meeting of Chelsea Pitch Owners shareholders.
The Blues have failed to convince the holders of 75% or more of the shares in CPO to support their proposal, which was seen as a precursor to a move to a new 60,000-seater stadium.
At an emotionally-charged meeting in Stamford Bridge's Great Hall, opponents of the bid looked set to force an adjournment of Thursda's proceedings until CPO chairman Richard King dramatically intervened to reveal a no vote would almost certainly carry the day. That convinced the approximately 700 shareholders present to cast their votes, with the result expected later.
King revealed that for the club to succeed, they required the holders of 1,400 of the 1,700 shares present at the meeting to back their proposal.
The opposition to the bid in the room was so strong that the no campaign were all but certain to succeed.
A defeat prevents Chelsea regaining ownership of the land they sold to supporter-led group CPO in the 1990s in order to ensure the club was not made homeless.
They made an offer to buy back the freehold at the beginning of the month, saying they would not be able to move to a new stadium unless they could profit from the land on which Stamford Bridge sits.