21.01.16 | Comment?

….you had said something about a 55,000 seat stadium at Stamford Bridge not being possible, let alone viable !

Admittedly this was back in 2011 when you wanted £1B worth of real estate returned from the control of CPO shareholders for the princely sum of £1.5m in compensation, and to move the club to god knows where.
And yet December saw the council receive a full planning application for a 60,000 seat stadium at Stamford Bridge – as SayNoCPO always argued it could and should !

Whilst obviously immensely pleased at this reality and remarkable reversal of CFC’s official viewpoint, SNCPO now understand it will once again outrageously demand the freehold in return for such redevelopment !

Setting aside for a moment the usual old financial argument of – why would anyone load the club’s parent company Fordstam with a further debt of at least another £500 million (currently £1B owed to Roman Abramovich), simply to make £15 to £20m a year more in matchday income (one half-decent player ?!) – pitiful in comparison to TV revenue, and with a 25/30 year payback at best. We would simply make the far more poignant argument – why would any owner require the freehold when it has 180 years of rent free lease remaining ???

There is no fiscal reason for wanting it – such a long lease poses no borrowing impediment. Neither is there any disadvantage for a potential floatation – Manchester City don’t own their ground at all and the Arabic owners just sold 15% of the club to Chinese investors. So why should the clever supporter stakeholders device known as CPO be disbanded – pure vanity perhaps ?!

CPO provides the long-term guardianship of the capital city’s most successful Premier League club – it ensures no future owner could ever see our club as a pure investment stock and try to sell our ground and it’s increasingly valuable real estate out from under us EVER again….

Surely the government sponsored Supporters Trust should have something to say about such a retrograde intention, having championed the German model for community/fan ownership and stakeholder status.
Surely H&F council would only give permission for such redevelopment on the condition that the community stakeholder status remains intact ?
Surely the FA would not wish to see one of it’s prime members go back to the status of a mere investment vehicle ? Just 4 other clubs have reached the pinnacle of a premiership title like Chelsea – ask the fans of one of them – Blackburn Rovers, what happens when a club inevitably passes on from a true benefactor !
Given the governments timely report on supporter engagement/ownership published this week, perhaps the sports minister will step in to prevent such a retrograde step for a major English football club ? How many more examples like Leeds, Portsmouth, Bolton, Coventry, and even Rangers does British football need to see before acting to protect the greater community interest ?

Those same politicians and football administrators looked away during the CPO share purchase fraud of 2011 and allowed it to stand to this day. Even when it came to light that one of the purchasers during the frenzy of late multiple share buying in the lead up to the vote to dissolve CPO and hand the freehold and club naming rights back to CFC was the notorious Peter Hargitay – having previously acted for CFC in the Gael Kakuta inquiry, and is now under the scrutiny of the FBI regarding the FIFA scandal. He and his son each bought the maximum number of voting shares, 100 – at a total cost of £20,000. Those votes, along with 20 or so other individuals with close links to CFC and Fordstam and it’s senior executives who did the same (thanks to the board of King, Granville, Sewell allowing sales to continue), formed at least 35% of the vote that day, so narrowly failing to reach the 75% mark required to dissolve CPO, and thereby obtain a £1 Billion combined freehold and move the club ‘elsewhere’ after 2020 with no restrictions.
Three cheers again to the 700 enraged CPO shareholders present who stopped them !

CPO must not relinquish the freehold guardianship of our football club under any circumstances – particularly given there is no GOOD reason to do so, fiscal or otherwise, and is now in complete contradiction of stated government policy for supporter/community engagement ! Cast iron assurances of a return to Stamford Bridge must also be secured before one brick of the current stadium is dismantled – and for all the criticism SNCPO received for effectively galvanizing members not to sell their shares back to the club in October 2011, it has now been proven to be a very shrewd stance indeed.

A new stadium now looks destined for our historic home, whilst Bruce Buck and even the CPO board led by Steven Frankham did absolutely nothing to research the truth about redevelopment. Surely the vile antics of the last 5 years prove more than ever that our football club still needs protecting from corporate opportunists and investment bankers – wherever they may be – because we are the famous CFC !


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