This news of a potential new ground for Chelsea FC is very personal to me.
For several years now my buddy’s place, which is literally across the street from Battersea Power Station, has served as London base of operations for an annual trip, where myself and a few fellow soccer nerds jam-pack as many matches as humanly possible into a 4- or 5-day period.
My friend’s kitchen window looks out over the historic, disused monstrosity, which may soon be Chelsea FC’s historic, disused monstrosity, and may soon be the site of Stamford Bridge’s replacement.
Also on a personal level, I’d like to know about the small gastro-pub just behind the historic site, about whether a certain, stunningly lovely Canadian remains on duty there?
Ahem. Let’s move on.
On a non-personal level, here are the important things to know about Friday’s big talker out of London:
- Chelsea FC needs a new ground. Stamford Bridge, in haughty West London, is a fine ground. But at about 42,000, the capacity can’t match the larger, current standard bearers like Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium or Manchester United’s Old Trafford.
- Battersea Power Station, which went on the market in February, is a historic landmark, so there are important implications well beyond sports to consider in all this.
- Chelsea officials would like to include some of the original design elements, such as the signature foursome of smokestacks, into the facility design.
- Officials at Stamford Bridge say a new facility has potential to become one of the “most iconic football stadiums in the world.”
- Also in the club’s announcement Friday: “We must also stress that making an offer for the Battersea Power Station site does not mean the club has made a definitive decision to leave Stamford Bridge.”
- The club’s official announcement is here.
Oh, and this … Battersea Power Station is the image on Pink Floyd’s Animals album. The notorious photo shoot involved an inflatable pink pig. I am absolutely not making any of this up.