Stamford Bridge

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Stamford Bridge is a football stadium located on the border of Chelsea and Fulham, London. It is the home ground of Chelsea Football Club. The stadium is located within the Moore Park Estate also known as Walham Green and is often referred to as simply The Bridge. The capacity is 41.837, making it the eighth largest ground in the Premier League. Opened in 1877, the stadium was used by the London Athletics Club until 1905, when new owner Gus Mears founded Chelsea Football Club to occupy the ground; Chelsea have played their home games there ever since. It has undergone numerous major changes over the years, most recently in the 1990s when it was renovated into a modern, all-seater stadium. Stamford Bridge has been used as a venue for England international matches, FA Cup Finals, FA Cup semi-finals andCharity Shield games. It has also hosted numerous other sports, such as cricket, rugby union, speedway, greyhound racing, baseball and American football. The stadium’s highest official attendance is 82.905, for a league match between Chelsea and Arsenal on 12 October 1935. The Matthew Harding Stand, previously known as the North Stand, is along the north edge of the pitch. In 1939, a small two storied North Stand including seating was erected. It was originally intended to span the entire northern end, but the outbreak of World War IIand its aftermath compelled the club to keep the stand small. It was demolished and replaced by open terracing for standing supporters in 1976. The North Terrace was closed in 1993 and the present North Stand of two tiers (the Matthew Harding Stand) was then constructed at that end. It is named after former Chelsea director Matthew Harding, whose investment helped transform the club in the early 1990s before his death in a helicopter accident on 22 October 1996. His investment in the club enabled construction of the stand which was completed in time for the 1996–97 season. It has two tiers and accommodates most season-ticket holders, giving it an enthusiastic atmosphere, especially in the lower tier. Any proposal to enlarge the facility would necessitate demolition of the adjacent ‘Chelsea World of Sport’ museum. For some Champions League matches, this stand operates at reduced capacity, some entrances being obstructed by the presence of TV outside-broadcast vehicles. The only covered stand when Stamford Bridge was renovated into a football ground in 1905, the East Stand had a gabled corrugated iron roof, with around 6,000 seats and a terraced enclosure. The stand remained until 1973, when it was demolished in what was meant to be the opening phase of a comprehensive redevelopment of the stadium. The new stand was opened at the start of the 1974–75 season, but due to the ensuing financial difficulties at the club, it was the only part of the development to be completed. The East Stand essentially survives in its 1973 three-tiered cantilevered form, although it has been much refurbished and modernised since. It is the heart of the stadium, housing the tunnel, dugout, dressing rooms, conference room, press centre, AV and commentary box. The middle tier is occupied by facilities, clubs, and executive suites. The upper tier provides spectators with one of the best views of the pitch and it is the only section to have survived the extensive redevelopment of the 90s. Previously, it was the home to away supporters on the bottom tier. However, at the start of the 2005/2006 season, then-manager José Mourinho requested that the family section move to this part of the stand, to boost team morale. Away fans were moved to the shed end. The Shed End is located along the south side of the pitch. In 1930, a new terrace was built on the south side, for more standing spectators. It was originally known as the Fulham Road End, but supporters nicknamed it ‘The Shed’ and this led the club to officially change its name. It became the most favoured spot for the loudest and most die-hard support, until the terrace was demolished in 1994, when all-seater stadia became compulsory by law as a safety measure in light of the Taylor Report following the Hillsborough disaster. The seated stand which replaced it is still known as the Shed End (see below). The new stand opened in time for the 1997/98 season. Along with the Matthew Harding Stand, it is an area of the ground where many vocal fans congregate today. The view from the upper tier is widely regarded as one of the best in the stadium. The Shed also contains the centenary museum and a memorial wall, where families of deceased fans are able to leave a permanent memorial of their loved ones, indicating their eternal support for the club. A large chunk of the original Shed End terrace still stands today and runs along the south side of the stadium. It has recently been decorated with lights and large images of Chelsea legends. Since 2005, it has been where away supporters are housed; they are allocated 3,000 tickets towards the east side, roughly half of the capacity of the stand. Peter Osgood’s ashes were laid to rest under the shed end penalty spot in 2006. In 1964–65, a seated West Stand was built to replace the existing terracing on the west side. Most of the West Stand consisted of rising ranks of wooden tip up seats on iron frames, but seating at the very front was on concrete forms known as “the Benches”. The old West Stand was demolished in 1997 and replaced by the current West Stand. It has three tiers, in addition to a row of executive boxes that stretches the length of the stand. The lower tier was built on schedule and opened in 1998. However, difficulties with planning permission meant that the stand was not fully completed until 2001. Construction of the stand almost caused another financial crisis, which would have seen the club fall into administration, but for the intervention of Roman Abramovich. In borrowing £70m from Eurobonds to finance the project, Ken Bates put Chelsea into a perilous financial position, primarily because of the repayment terms. Now complete, the stand is the main external ‘face’ of the stadium, being the first thing fans see when entering the primary gate on Fulham Road. The Main Entrance is flanked by the Spackman and Speedie hospitality entrances, named after former Chelsea players Nigel Spackman and David Speedie. The stand also features the largest concourse area in the stadium, it is also known as the ‘Great Hall’ and is used for many functions at Stamford Bridge, including the Chelsea Player of the Year ceremony.

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Pubblicato il 23 settembre 2013, in Football con tag , , , , , . Aggiungi il permalink ai segnalibri. Lascia un commento.

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