FFP and Chelsea – a conspiracy theory.
By Inside Right
Following Tony’s piece on FFP within the EPL there seemed to be some confusion as to why Chelsea should want to support it – other than for reasons of the common good to all clubs.
Try this theory for size.
In Chelsea’s original business plan, outlined in the London Evening Standard by their then Chief Executive Peter Kenyon (who left the Club sometime later to spend more time with his ego) it was stated that by 2010 Chelsea would be ‘financially self sufficient’ mainly thanks to moving to a much bigger stadium which they would sell out for every game (at top dollar prices) because they were going to win everything in sight.
On two very public occasions Chelsea have failed to buy a relatively nearby piece of land on which to build that new stadium and, because of those failures, also failed to persuade the Chelsea Pitch Owners to sell the Stamford Bridge pitch back to the Club so that they could redevelop the land for other purposes.
The other piece of ‘vacant’ property which might suit Chelsea sits in West London – at White City – currently hosting redundant BBC buildings. Unfortunately this is very adjacent to QPR and the rules (as Tottenham found out to their cost) state that one club can’t move into another’s territory. Ironically, I dare say, Tottenham insisted on that following their (now) 100 year old grievance related to Arsenal’s move from Plumstead.
This leaves Chelsea needing QPR to either move to a new stadium somewhere else (perhaps as a ground share) or to go out of business completely.
Given that QPR’s survival at Loftus Road is best served by financial doping it becomes obvious that Chelsea’s support of FFP fits that particular long term aim.
Given that QPR are hardly likely to go out of business completely – even Portsmouth haven’t done that (yet) a ground share becomes the only option. Craven Cottage would be the obvious location – Fulham having ground shared at QPR some years ago while their ground was being ‘redeveloped’. But Fulham’s owner doesn’t support FFP because he knows that with it his ability to bankroll his Club is severely hampered.
So where could QPR go? The only other club that’s close enough for their fans to get to readily is Brentford but that is far too small and ramshackled for a Premiership club to consider, surely. Well it just so happens that the aforesaid Brentford (where Chelsea play some of their reserve games and with whom they presumably have a good relationship) are now trying to move to a bigger and much swankier ground. Not only is it a touch closer to Shepherds Bush (where QPR currently play) but it is also planned to have a capacity much closer to that of Loftus Rd. On the face of it this capacity is somewhat greater than Brentford are, maybe ever, likely to need.
Maybe I’m making two and two make nine but, having failed twice at Chelsea Barracks and at Battersea Power Station what else is left for Chelsea to do other than to support FFP, hobble Man City and perhaps open up the only opportunity they have left to deliver the business plan that otherwise looks in tatters?
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