The Problem with Stamford Bridge?

If there is one thing that has been progressing and evolving at a steady rate over the years at Stamford Bridge, it is the lack of atmosphere that surrounds the SW6 area particularly on top European nights.

In their first Champions League group game Chelsea took on Bayern Leverkusen, maybe not one of the giants of football that so often occupy the coveted Champions League places but nevertheless a tough, competitive club that in 2001 reached the final of the competition. And yet there seemed to be a distinct lack of atmosphere considering the clubs intense desire to win the competition.

On that night you couldn’t help but feel like it was a corporate business meeting between Roman Abramovich and his associates while a bunch of Germans were rioting outside. I am of course not suggesting that there is no support completely because there is from all around the ground and not everyone wants to sing football songs but compared with Anfield, Old Trafford, The Nou Camp and The San Siro, Stamford Bridge is lacking something.

It has clearly not gone unnoticed at the Bridge as in recent Champions League games blue and white flags have been given out to try and encourage fans to build up the atmosphere and get behind the team. Weather it has worked or not is still yet to be seen, but it is going to take a lot more than just offering free flags to fans to get them going on a cold night in London.

Because of the global size of the football club and their meteoric rise into Europe’s elite they have not built up tradition and success in competitions like the Champions League. There are several ways that Chelsea could attempt to get a better atmosphere, how many of them are plausible and how many of them are likely is another question. They could offer reduced prices on European nights highly unlikely but still a possibility if they choose to do so.

What seems to be the problem is that Chelsea have never really had history and tradition behind their stadium and until they can win the Champions League trophy and confirm themselves among Europe’s best they will never be able to make Stamford Bridge the fortress that it should and deserves to be.

By Jamie Bassett
Twitter @jmebassett


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