It was deeply shocking to find that some 800 seats were unsold for the game last night. Arsenal meandered into the knock out stages for something like the sixth year running, using mostly a reserve team (Ade, Sagna, Kolo, Eduardo, Rosicky, Nasri, Theo, Eboue… none of them could play). It does seem that it is hard to sell 60,000 consistently for the reserves. Shame that the early leavers missed a wonderful goal.
But we are not the only club to find this problem of poor attendances, as Jonathan Neale has kindly pointed out to me, by sending me the web link
If you read that you will see that the tickets for CSKA Fulham against Arsenal remain unsold – and that is within their capacity of 42,500.
This is not the first time they have had these problems – they had similar difficulties in the past selling tickets for European games and in recent years the average attendance has been 41,900 – not far off full, but still, not full in a modest sized ground. (The lowest was 3000 against Lincoln City, but perhaps that’s a bit unfair – the record attendance was 82,905 against Arsenal (of course) in October 1935.
Anyway, because I love arcane and stupid information, I want to reveal just a little more. Chelsea want to have a 55,000 stadium, so that Mr Abramovich has more room to spread his bodyguards out on the empty seats, but it is going to be tough to do that within the confines of Stamford Bridge. Like Arsenal the ground has got unmovable railway lines around it, but unlike Arsenal the area is not one that can readily take extra people under current health and safety regs. So a new ground looks more likely.
But, and this is the funny bit, in Chelsea, the Official Biography (2006, pages 91/2) there is the revelation that under the Chelsea Pitch Owners articles of association the football club (I use the phrase in its broadest sense) would have to give up the name ‘Chelsea Football Club’ should it move from Stamford Bridge
So maybe CSKA Fulham will actually come to pass officially. Or Chelsea Russia? Chelsea Finance? Money Money Money?
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