Stamford Bridge, Fulham LondonClub: Chelsea FC | Opening: 1877 | Capacity for 2017:18 season: 41,631 seatsRecord PL attendance: 42,332 v Newcastle United (4 December 2004)Average PL attendance 2016/17: 41.508Record attendance: 82,905 v Arsenal, Division 1, Oct 12, 1935HistoryBuilding Stamford BridgeStamford Bridge has been the home of Chelsea Football Club since the club was founded in 1905 and is one of football’s oldest grounds.
Stamford Bridge first opened for sport on 28 April 1877. For almost 30 years it was almost only used for the London Athletics club.In 1904 ownership of Stamford Bridge changed when Mr Henry Augustus Mears and his brother, Mr J T Mears, took over, having earlier attained additional land with a vision of hosting a new sport ‘football’ – which had become increasingly popular in the north of England and the Midlands and had people talking down south in the capital. The new stadium made on the 12.5-acre site was designed by the famous Scottish football stadium architect Archibald Leitch and included a 120-yard long stand on the east side to hold 5000 spectators. The other sides of the ground formed a large, open bowl.
The capacity was originally set to be 100,000 and was the second largest in country after a crumbling Crystal Palace stadium in south London.The stadium was firstly offered to locals Fulham FC. They turned down this offer and so instead a new team, Chelsea Football Club, was founded in March 1905 and moved into the Stamford Bridge stadium for the beginning of the season a few months later. It was a rapid success with a 60,000 crowd in the first year, promotion to Division One and three FA Cup finals held at the bridge between 1920 and 1922.
(ChelseaFC, 2017)Why is it called ‘Stamford Bridge’?Stamford Bridge was the name of the site in Yorkshire of a successful battle against the Vikings in 1066. However, the naming of Chelsea’s stadium is all about local landmarks rather than historic conquests. On 18th-Century maps showing the Fulham Road and King’s Road area there is a stream called ‘Stanford Creek’ which runs along the route of the present-day railway line behind the East Stand. Where the stream crosses the Fulham Road it is marked ‘Little Chelsea Bridge’ which was originally called Sanford Bridge (from sand ford), while a bridge over the stream on the King’s Road was called Stanbridge (from stone bridge). It seems that these two bridge names and that of the stream, ‘Stanford Creek’, together evolved into the name Stanford Bridge, which again later changed into Stamford Bridge, to become the adopted name of the stadium close by. A bridge taking the Fulham Road over a railway line remains in place today, close to the main Stamford Gate entrance to the stadium site.
(ChelseaFC, 2017)Stamford Bridge in its early daysPre-warAfter construction the stadium more or less looked the same until the 1930s when a cover was added to the south terrace – a funny old stand which would later lead to the nickname the ‘Shed End’. For a name that’s become so famous in football the cover was in fact for a different sport. Covering roughly a fifth of the terrace area, also designed by Archibald Leitch, it was for the Greyhound Racing Association who held dog races on the track around the pitch.
The bookies and betters required cover for race days. 30 years after it was built, a letter was published in the Chelsea matchday programme by a supporter called Cliff Webb for the Fulham Road End of the ground to be known as ‘The Shed’, and for fans to gather there to sing in support of the home side and rival the opposition. His request was approved and the stand still has the Shed name today. In 1939, the north end of Stamford Bridge also got a refurb, and it too was a strange bit of architecture. There was high demand for more covered seating and in addition to the original East Stand, a new construction was approved and began in 1939, Archibald Leitch once more involved in the designing of it. It’s building was disrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War but when it was opened in 1945, supporters had the option of sitting in a tier that was raised over the north-east corner of the existing standing terrace. Some who used it even reported it shook when trains passed by, however it survived for 30 years until ripped down with the opening of a huge, brand new East Stand. The ready north terrace remained in use until 1993 when the move to an all-seater Stamford Bridge began.
(ChelseaFC, 2017)1960’s/70’sAfter almost a decade and coming towards the end of one of Chelsea’s most successful periods, Stamford Bridge acquired new stands on both sides of the stadium. During 1965, an agreement to build, plan and construct a West Stand was carried out, overall a modest stand seating roughly 6,000 fans on what was a rework of the old terracing on that side of the stadium. It had a roof, but it was supported by pillars in a time when other stadums were building stands without, and an area of terracing stayed along the front which later would seat supporters close to what would be called the benches.There were six hospitality boxes, making the Bridge the second ground in the England after Old Trafford to have these facilities. With floodlights arriving in 1957, big, glamorous European nights were a hot prospect. The Chelsea directors and officials decided with the west stand and the current team being a success, attention would turn to building a brand new 60,000 all seater stadium. The stadium was getting old and needed a redevelopment, this began with east side which was as far as building got.The new project wasn’t well timed and was haunted by poor decisions, including appointing architects with no or very little experience designing stadiums.
The impact of dropping attendances was not even thought about. Britain’s economy hit a bad spell in the early 1970s, with a building strike one of many delays to the construction, and the new stand was delivered late and costs pushed it way over-budget. Combined with poor results on the football pitch, that brought the club to despair, leading to the sale of most of its star players, relegation and almost going bankrupt.Once opened in 1974, the East Stand’s fetching design was not everyone’s cup of tea and it stuck out like a sore thumb over the rest of the stadium, however it brought fans closer to the pitch than ever before, covering the old greyhound track, and views from the middle and extremely steep upper tier were just brilliant. All in good stead, recovery on and off the pitch came and the stand gelled in well to the rebuilt stadium where it remains as the oldest part today.
(ChelseaFC, 2017)’Save the bridge!’With Chelsea, almost completely bankrupt and stuck in Division Two of English football in the early 1980s, it was thankfully purchased by business tycoon Ken Bates, ending the Mears reign. With part of this ownership came great uncertainty, the stadium was now owned by a separate company and many of the former directors sold their shares to property developers. Chelsea could stay play at the ground but now would have to battle to remain at the bridge long term. The prospect of a supermarket replacing the bridge and having to share a stadium with QPR or Fulham were close to becoming a reality and this terrified fans. A stubborn and costly run 10-year battle followed, which put any kind of ground development on to standstill and formed the ‘Save the Bridge’ campaign which would raise money for legal costs. Thankfully due to economic problems the property developers went bankrupt and in 1992 Chelsea got Stamford Bridge back for good. It truly went down to the wire but Stamford Bridge survived and in 1993, the plans began to turn a dying ground with views miles away from the pitch into one of the most iconic stadiums in England began, with Bates also introducing a new Chelsea Pitch Owners scheme to protect the club from any threats in the future.(ChelseaFC, 2017) 1990’sRedevelopment of Stamford bridge started with the North Stand area.
It was now compulsory in the higher divisions for teams to have all seater stadiums after the Hillsborough disaster. A brand new two-tier stand was put up for home supporters and opened in November 1994. This new North Stand was to later be renamed the Matthew Harding Stand. Matthew Harding was a massive Chelsea fan who also happened to be the vice chairman of the club, he sadly passed away in an accident and so the stand would be named after him.
He heavily invested his own money into the club and being a proper Chelsea fan himself it was only right that it be named after him. This stand was then joined to the West Stand and houses fans as part of the Matthew Harding.Next to get its makeover was the Shed End. The classic old terrace had seen its last action on the final day of the 1993/94 season. It was firstly replaced by temporary seating for a few years and then the construction began. Whilst they constructed the new Shed End they also worked on a hotel, flats and an underground carpark. Now they had one last job on their hands, the lower West stand was constructed on time but there were issues with the council over planning permission which meant having to wait two more years before the stand could be finished.
Once it was finished work began on completing the biggest part of the stadium (West Stand), the huge 13,500 seater with many boxes and suites for all-year use. It was ready for the start of the 2001/02 season and signified, at long last, the completion of an all-seater Stamford Bridge which had actually begun in 1973 with the start of the East Stand.Present dayToday the capacity stands at just over 41,000 and the ground has gone from being almost bowl like to a stadium with all four sides close to the pitch which can create some wonderful atmospheres. There are almost no sections of the stadium that haven’t changed in recent years with only the old Shed wall still intact from the original stadium. It be can be seen from outside of the current ground, opposite the fan shop and box office. As well as the stadium being worked on, the site itself has also seen extensive building work, such as the hotels, restaurants and conference facilities. Stamford Bridge also has a health club, a music venue and a business centre.
The stadium has come a long way and soon the construction of the new stadium will begin on the same sight it did when it was first built. (ChelseaFC, 2017)Stamford Bridge under construction in the 90’s Stamford Bridge present dayStadium redevelopmentAs there were no suitable sites in the Chelsea and Fulham area, Chelsea were forced to reconstruct their current stadium on the same site. Owner Roman Abramovich failed with a bid to purchase the Battersea power station in Fulham which would have been an ambitious yet classic design. It was bought by other billionaires who have turned it into multi million pound flats. So, the new Stamford Bridge was designed and will cost over 500 million pounds to construct, with some papers reporting that could rise to one billion pounds but these are just rumours as of now. The architectural job was given to the famous swiss team ‘Herzog and De Meuron who have been all over architecture in recent years. Their goal is very clear- increase the capacity of the stadium and boost Chelsea’s commercial potential. Due to many local setbacks, it was difficult to design a stadium on the current site.
There are only 2 railway lines which will be covered by public plazas. There are also many listed buildings close by. The first design was done in 2014 and had to go through many changes to ensure sunlight would reach homes nearby. To make sure the neighbours keep their sunlight the field will be lowered and the arenas outer shape will become irregular. Because of this the new stadium will only rise to 46.12m, which is even less than the current Stamford Bridge’s tallest point (West Stand).
The stadium has many associations with historical architecture, whether it’s residential, sports or religious. The outer part of the stadium will be built up of 246 brick columns with decorations between many of them. This monumental structure will also be temple like in some ways, while the roof could in fact be a tribute to the “sheds” of the early 20th century topping stadiums across England. Overall the stadium will have a very consistent modern style. The stadium will house 60,000 people divided into three tiers in a symmetric manner (40% / 20% / 40%). The smallest tier will mainly host corporate clients, though Chelsea included under 9,000 business seats in their planning applications. The entire floor space of the stadium could be close to 130,000 square meters, spread across 7 floors (4-5 above ground).
The start of the project would include knocking down Chelsea’s free-standing buildings and demolishing the Chelsea village. Then the stadium would be demolished. Additional excavation, piling and further enabling works would pave way for the main structure of the stadium, that could be put together in just over a year. Altogether the project, along with new surrounding infrastructure, might take under 4 years.(StadiumDB, 2015)Stamford Bridge Redevelopment Design Competition analysisStrengths • Huge global brand name, Chelsea and Stamford Bridge itself is known by many worldwide• Chelsea have had huge sponsors such as Adidas and more recently Nike and Beats by Dre whose brands are clearly visible in the stadium• Stamford Bridge is quite a modern stadium in a central London area• New stadium plans will compete with other London premier league clubsWeaknesses • Chelsea’s capacity of roughly 42,000 is smaller than Arsenal’s and West Ham’s• Stamford Bridge may be considered too small for some big-name players• Several premier league clubs and even some championship teams have bigger stadiumsOpportunities• Original location of stadium keeps fans content• Being in central London makes it easier for tourists to visitThreats• Other clubs can attract top players if they have better stadiums• New stadium construction may unsettle the fans as Chelsea won’t be able to play at Stamford bridge whilst work is being doneCompetitionChelsea face competition from all premier clubs and European giants but mostly from the top teams and the teams based in London. Arsenal and Tottenham are the biggest competition in London.
Arsenals stadium ‘The Emirates’ boasts a capacity of over 60,000 and Tottenham’s new ground is set to hold 61,500. Tottenham’s new stadium project has been partly funded by the NFL which is very good exposure for them. West Ham recently bought the Olympic Stadium in London which also has a capacity of over 60,000. However, many West Ham supporters were unhappy with the new stadium as they had a strong connection with their old ground ‘Upton Park’ and many also felt that the new stadium is too far from the pitch.
Crystal Palace could also be mentioned but are very much the underdogs of the London teams on the pitch and in terms of stadiums. Chelsea are certainly the kings of London in most recent times and with their new stadium coming soon exciting times lie ahead.New stadium environmental sustainability Effective Use of LandThe Proposed Development reuses previously developed land and improves utilisation of the available plot of land by increasing the seating capacity of the stadium.
The sole use and landmark status of the proposed facility will bring socio-economic benefits to the local area while aiming to minimise its environmental impacts as much as possible.MaterialsThe materials specification for the Proposed Development will follow principles of lean design and use of environmentally friendly and sustainably sourced materials. Robust and durable materials for façades, structure and internal areas are proposed as well as materials with high recycled content.A Resource Management Plan (RMP) will be developed at a later design stage which will prioritise the use of locally sourced materials and the use of products from suppliers who implement an Environmental Management System or hold BES 6001 certificates.Water ManagementThe Proposed Development will be designed to minimise water use and impact on urban drainage. Measures include the use of water saving fixtures and fittings, optimised water management through metering and leak detection and surface water runoff attenuation.Pollution and Local ImpactsThe construction and operation of the Proposed Development will ensure that pollution to land, air and water are minimised by implementing best practice construction policies and design in terms of spillages and excessive emissions during construction, noise pollution and light pollution at night.
WasteThe Proposed Development will incorporate best practice waste reduction measures developed in line with the waste hierarchy to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Strategies will be developed to minimise the effects of both construction waste and operational waste by minimising its generation and maximising reuse or recycling.Health and WellbeingA variety of initiatives are being considered which are aimed at providing a healthy and safe environment to people working at and visiting the stadium premises alike such as the provision of comfortable thermal and air quality conditions; best practice lighting design including good access to natural light; selection of materials with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) or other chemical components; good practice acoustic design; creation of a development which offers minimum risk for crime and anti-social behaviour.BiodiversityAn ecological appraisal for the site has been conducted. The current proposal to raft over two rail lines is found to result in loss of habitat.
The current proposals include mitigation measures for both the construction and operational phases. Appropriate compensation in the form of off-site nature conservation and biodiversity enhancement in the borough is being explored with the LPA where lost habitat cannot be replaced on site.Transportation and AccessibilityThe Site is located in central West London; there are historic existing excellent public transport connections via the road network, London Underground, Overground, mainline services and buses. Cycle parking is to be provided for permanent staff within secure cycle stores at basement level; a total of 427 cycle parking spaces are to be provided. While providing a large number of visitor cycle parking spaces within the Stadium itself is limited due to restricted access for spectators on Matchdays, the Club are committed to working with the local borough and public transport providers to provide alternative cycle parking opportunities in the vicinity.(Brinckerhoff, 2016) Economic impactsHammersmith & Fulham Council has negotiated £22million worth of improvements for local people as part of its approval of Chelsea FC’s plans to rebuild Stamford Bridge.
On top of the expected benefit to the local economy of having almost 20,000 extra fans visit Fulham Broadway on match days, the council will receive direct funding from the club for a series of community schemes and upgrades to local facilities.”This planning approval is a great result for the club. And it also scores £22m worth of community benefits for local people,” says Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
“Now we will hold Chelsea to account, to ensure their promises are made real, and these benefits are delivered.”The £22m contribution includes:£6m for increased street cleaning after matches, towards CCTV coverage of the area, for improved transport routes to and from the ground and amendments to parking zones where needed, and for other environmental improvements• £3.75m for affordable housing, plus the re-provision of 38 homes that will be lost when the stadium is rebuilt• £12m for community facilities and services, community outreach programmes, and better leisure facilities• £100,000 towards establishing a new Fulham Broadway business group, to promote and support local traders.Chelsea have also undertaken to cover any additional match day costs to the council which are linked to the increase in capacity. This is in addition to the local job opportunities delivered by the stadium redevelopment and the increased stadium capacity once it is completed.
The club has also made assurances about plans to help mitigate the impact on local businesses during the three years the team is expected to spend playing at a new stadium while Stamford Bridge is being rebuilt. And, once the new stadium is completed, the increased footfall is expected to see dramatically higher spending by fans in Fulham Broadway and the surrounding area.(Fulham&Hammersmith, 2017)