Premier League stadium looks unrecognisable in mega-money plans that were abandoned when club ran out of money | The Sun

AN ICONIC Premier League stadium could have looked very different if mega plans were not abandoned when the club ran out of money.

The ground is usually instantly recognisable with its famous stands and unique design.

And it has been the sight of many memorable moments in the Premier League.

In fact, it has been the home of one of English football's biggest and most successful teams for 118 years – dating back to 1905.

However, the stadium almost underwent a dramatic overhaul in the early 1970s which would have seen it look completely unrecognisable.

The venue in question is Stamford Bridge, the constant home of Chelsea since their formation early in the 20th Century.


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Then-chairman Brian Mears announced the grand plans to modernise the Blues' home in SW6.

He declared: "We believe this is the biggest reconstruction ever undertaken at a British football ground.

"We are not just building a new stand, but virtually a new stadium."

Richmond-based architects Darbourne & Darke were assigned the task of drawing up the new design, which included a wraparound style to bring the stands, literally, all under one roof.

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The idea was to bolster the stadium's capacity to a whopping 80,000 and add various new features including seat heating and electronic scoreboards.

However, the cost of the operation was an eye-watering £6.25million – with interest likely to double the cost by the time of its completion in 1980.

Work began on the new East Stand in June 1972 – but it proved to be a major and expensive blunder from Chelsea who simply could not afford to pay for the remaining three stands to be updated.

The closure of the main stand did not go down well with the players, who were moved into makeshift dressing rooms and were cheered on by only three sides of fans as attendances dropped by 35 per cent to less than 26,000.

Industrial strikes, power cuts, economic struggles and the three-day week all contributed to significant delays as costs mounted.

Chelsea sold star players Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson for around £500,000.

But even once the stand was completed ahead of the 1974-75 season, it was still beset with problems such as it being 20m away from the pitch, a distinct lack of natural light and fans in the lower tiers still getting wet despite the roof.

All in all, the expensive project meant Chelsea simply could not afford to be relegated.

But those worst nightmares became a reality when the Blues finished that first campaign in front of the new stand in the bottom three, one point from safety.

Promotion followed in 1976-77 but they went down again two years after that as club debts spiralled to a staggering £4m.


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Stamford Bridge did undergo further development during the 1990s with the running track discarded as the stadium became fully seated and all roofed.

The club undertook various other updates on the ground but still remain hopeful of completely renovating the stadium again after plans to move into a brand-new stadium were quashed.

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