Limited Edition model of the legendary English stadium, where CHELSEA FC plays.
Capacity: 41 841
Club establishment: 1905
Stamford Bridge, the home ground of Chelsea, is situated untraditionally among city buildings, where no one would expect a football stadium. The same can be said about most stadiums in London. Another characteristic shared with a number of football stadiums not only in London but in the whole of Great Britain is that it was designed by Scottish architect Archibald Leitch.
Stamford Bridge, located in South West London on the borders of Chelsea and Fulham areas, takes its name from former Stamford Brook, which used to flow into the Thames not far from today’s south stand.
Originally an athletic stadium, Stamford Bridge was built in 1877 for the London Athletic Club. Following a crucial ownership change in 1904, the stadium was offered to the nearby Fulham club. However, the club turned down the offer for financial reasons, and so the owners decided to establish a club of their own. The year 1905 thus marks the beginning of the history of Chelsea F.C. and its Stamford Bridge.
The oval stands along the athletic track were formed by thousands of tons of ground. Over time the appearance of individual stands changed. Stamford Bridge got rid of its wooden stands as well as the artificial terraces and was rebuilt into a structure made of reinforced concrete.
The stadium faced adversities at the end of the 1970s when Chelsea got on the verge of bankruptcy and the club owners were forced to sell the ground. The situation escalated to such a degree that pulling down the stadium was being considered. Fortunately, such a situation was avoided and Chelsea could stay at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea didn’t regain ownership of Stamford Bridge until 1992. Two years later, the stadium, already falling into disrepair, underwent extensive reconstruction during which it was converted into an all-seater. Since 1994, practically the whole stadium has been rebuilt in several phases. The last phase was completed nine years later in August 2001.
Since its last big reconstruction in 2001, Stamford Bridge can seat 41,841 spectators. However, the original capacity was much higher, nearing 100,000, as the whole stadium with the exception of the wooden East Stand for 5,000 spectators was for standing supporters.
Since a capacity of 42,000 is rather small for a club like Chelsea, it is not surprising that the stands
are regularly full at Stamford Bridge. A similar situation can be seen at other English stadiums, which usually have a considerably higher capacity.
The attendance used to be notably higher when Stamford Bridge had a different look and could accommodate a much higher number of spectators. Between 1920 and 1922, the stadium hosted three consecutive finals of the world’s oldest football club competition called the FA Cup. The attendance was highest in 1921 when close to 73,000 spectators witnessed Tottenham Hotspur defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers 1–0.
The highest official attendance at Stamford Bridge dates back to 12th October 1935 when a match between Chelsea and Arsenal was seen by 82,905 spectators. However, it is reckoned that right after the Second World War in 1945 more than 100,000 fans were crowded at the stadium during a friendly match between Chelsea and Dinamo Moscow (3–3).
The current pleasant look of the stadium is not likely to remain unchanged forever. A project has existed for several years that plans a new stadium with a capacity of approximately 60,000 built at the original place. It was even planned that the stadium would be standing by 2020, but Chelsea has not started the changes yet.
The texts were taken from Fotbalové stadiony publication with the permission of its author, Jiří Vojkovský.