No Chelsea stadium protest

Several supporters’ groups have united to try to convince

shareholders of Chelsea Pitch Owners – who have been in possession

of the land beneath the stadium since the 1990s – to vote against

the club’s proposal. The ‘Say No CPO’ campaign plan to distribute

10,000 leaflets before this weekend’s Everton match, which is being

broadcast by Sky Sports. But they insisted this afternoon they had

no intention of disrupting the game, claiming they were only

seeking to raise awareness of their cause. A spokesperson said:

“We’ve got 10,000 leaflets printed out and they’ll be handed out at

local pubs and around the ground, not on Stamford Bridge property.

“We’re not trying to disrupt the game. There’s no rally, there’s no

protest – we’re just trying to get our point of view across to as

many shareholders as possible. “A lot of them haven’t received the

literature or documentation from CPO, so we just want them to be

aware of the vote, our website and the argument we have for them to

vote no.” Last week saw Chelsea write to CPO shareholders – most of

whom are fans – with a proposal to buy back the Stamford Bridge

freehold, which they sold to prevent property developers making the

club homeless. The move has been seen as a precursor to the

construction of a new 60,000-seater stadium, with the Blues unable

to relocate unless they can sell the land on which their current

home sits. Fans are divided on the issue of leaving Stamford

Bridge, with many genuinely conflicted and some pressing for a no

vote at an extraordinary general meeting of the CPO on October 27

simply to force the club to reveal more details about their plans.

Others want the existing CPO arrangement transferred to any new

stadium but it is understood this is not an option. The leaflet

being distributed this weekend has ‘Say No CPO’ printed in large

letters on one side, with a message on the other that can also be

found on the group’s website, www.saynocpo.org: “The NO vote needs

your help to ensure that the ordinary fan maintains a voice. “If we

lose this battle, the club can relocate ANYWHERE without any

consultation with supporters. “If CPO shareholders vote NO they

will maintain the right to be consulted in the future of the club –

whether that be at Stamford Bridge or a new location. “A NO vote is

a vote for consultation on what is best for Chelsea FC in the long

term. “CPO was created to protect Chelsea Football Club. “This is

as relevant today as when it was founded.” Members the ‘Say No CPO’

campaign have offered to act as proxy for anyone who cannot make

the EGM and would like to vote no. But they fear their cause will

be hampered by the fact that a third of the CPO’s 12,000

shareholders may not have received any literature about the

meeting. The spokesperson added: “There are around 4,000

shareholders on the list who don’t have an address next to their

name. “It’s really important we get to them some way. “If 4,000

people out of 15,000 can’t vote, it’s pretty damning.” Doubts over

the accuracy of the list have also emerged, with one name on it

being Tony Banks – thought to be the former Sports Minister and

Chelsea supporter of the same name who died almost six years ago.

The club need 75% of those attending this month’s meeting or voting

by proxy to back their proposal. They are adamant they are doing

nothing untoward and have promised they will move within three

miles of Stamford Bridge if they leave before 2020 – although they

have yet to decide whether to move. The club answered many of the

fans’ fears in a Q&A which appeared this week on

www.chelseafc.com and chairman Bruce Buck has also met with

concerned supporters, with more showdown talks expected tomorrow.