Chelsea in Twickenham Move?


Terry, Costa, Fabregas & Co

Football – of the ‘association’ variety – on a rugby pitch?!? And not just any old rugby pitch mind you! We’re talking about Twickenham Stadium, the home of England Rugby. There are some folk who’d be outraged by the very thought of it. In fact some of them are probably already incandescent with rage, their blood boiling as they punch the screen of their laptop or stamp their smartphone into the dusty ground. Could it really happen? It could! Maybe.

The RFU have confirmed that Chelsea have been in contact with them about the possibility of using Twickenham stadium while Stamford Bridge gets redeveloped and expanded. According to BBC Sport, the RFU have said: “We have had an enquiry from Chelsea FC but have not had any discussions of any substance”. So, it’s early days and Chelsea are said to be considering a number of different options of which Twickenham is just one. Will the RFU be inclined to let a spherical ball roll around on the hallowed Twickenham turf? They might. There’s a lot of money in football and there are plenty of examples of football and rugby clubs sharing grounds although not quite in the same Premier League club / ‘national stadium’ way that this would play out.

And then of course there’s the question of what this might mean for the town on match days with thousands Chelsea fans making a beeline for Twickenham from across south west London and the Surrey prawn sandwich belt. 80,000 boozy rugby fans is one thing, 60,000 football fans is another.

So, would you be happy to see Chelsea set up a temporary home at Twickenham Stadium? And will it ever happen??

It’s fait to say there are a lot of unhappy people out there and, in true Twickenham spirit, there’s now a petition against the idea.

* BBC Sport

* Online petition opposing the idea


Filed under Local Issues & News

67 responses to “Chelsea in Twickenham Move?

  1. Sarah

    Twickenham stadium is not designed for football in that it’s possible to walk around the whole stadium starting and ending from your seat, ie no segregation, which having been made to go to a Chelsea match once (worst and longest 90 minutes of my life), I witnessed was 100% necessary.
    There’s no capacity for the additional traffic – both people and cars – that this would cause. Anyone who commutes from Twickers knows how full the trains are of an evening. And apart form anything else, football? On the hallowed turf? Give me a break.

  2. ‘New blow to Chelsea FC’s chances of Twickenham Stadium move – Twickenham councillors promise to take ‘all measures available’ to prevent Chelsea moving in while Stamford Bridge is expanded:

    . . Liberal Democrat councillors Alexander Ehmann, Ben Khosa and Geoff Acton wrote jointly to RFU board members including the organisation’s chairman Bill Beaumont to complain that the move would ‘dramatically’ inconvenience local residents by increasing traffic creating the need for extra policing. Should the RFU fail to reject the approach, they said they would take ‘all measures available’ to obstruct the proposal . . ‘

    • Amir Tahir

      Does ‘all measures available’ include direct action? Great! I haven’t had the chance to run on the Twickenham pitch to disrupt a game since the Stop the Boks campaign in the 70s. Someone tell Peter Hain (who was a Lib at the time but later saw the error of his ways).

    • sweeneyted

      I smell a rat. Why is a Lib Dem doing something positive for the people of this Borough ? I can’t work it out, what’s their angle ?

  3. Martin cloke

    Typical RFU. As a very local resident I’m set against this. Every other week and mid week to will be way to much disruption. Let’s face it as residents we get nothing NOTHING from the RFU. Well apart from the draw, which I have never had a ticket, which you have to buy anyway.

    • Sally

      I agree. Its a big con the idea that we should all have undying loyalty and gratitude to the RFU. We are told how good for business they are, and get the super newsletter with pictures of benevolent RFU types.Then there are public donations, not to mention the floral arrangments outside the station! But how much do they cost us? Local businesses which aren’t pubs and fast food outlets report their profits going down on Rugby days. Who hasn’t put off going to the shops because there will be hundreds of boozy bods blocking the way? Schools meekly close early.The mess is awful.
      Our elected representatives seem to think that we must be very accomodating to the RFU or they will,um, leave?
      Its a nice game. That doesn’t make us RFU employees.

  4. Boss

    Vince being a bit of a NIMBY there. The fans would be walking right past his house.

  5. Boss

    Can’t they go and play somewhere in Kingston? There’s a tatty CFC shop there so they must have some support there.

  6. Alan Winter

    This won’t and can’t happen, so will those responsible for spreading this nonsense supported by the media please stop. Chelsea will never play at Twickenham stadium. They will ground share if need be with Fulham or play at Wembley Stadium. Evening mid – week football kick offs are impossible at the RFU due to road traffic and capacity on trains to the station. The only West London and local football club we should be supporting is of course the nearest to us. Brentford FC who will beat Reading at home tomorrow. You heard it here first. Regards

    • twickerati

      …. Thanks Alan…. Good memories of Griffin Park here at Twickerati HQ. April 2002, Jamie Cureton’s late equaliser, a 1-1 draw ensuring Reading’s promotion to the Championship and meaning Brentford narrowly missed out on a play off place. (Good to see them finally get promotion though)

    • Alan Winter

      I was at that game in 2002 and it was just one more bad day in the life of a Brentford supporter over a period of 55 years. However, the Bees are finally on the up now and the Premiership, New Stadium and European football are all just around the corner. Come on you Bees!

    • mike hine

      3-1! That’s uncanny!

    • upend

      I think it’s the midweek games you mention which will kill this – anywhere between 0 and (in unlikely circumstances) 16 midweek games for any given season – you couldn’t have rush hour on the A316 being disrupted that many times.

      Shame as a Chelsea fan & TW2 resident I would have loved it!

  7. RTT Online reports:

    ‘ . . The RFU said it would not give too much away as discussions are ongoing, but a source said the negotiations are further advanced than Chelsea and the RFU are letting on. A source close to the RFU said: “It is a very serious proposition but they are downplaying it because they know how it works and obviously football fans are very different from rugby fans. Normally, if things were going to happen, they would not say anything at all so the fact it has come out shows it is serious.” . . Deputy leader of Richmond Council, Councillor Geoffrey Samuel, said he was alarmed by the proposals and believed if approved, it would put “a huge amount of pressure on the local area” . . ‘

    ‘ . . An online petition, titled ‘Stop all talks of renting Twickenham stadium to Chelsea FC’, has been set up, with rugby fans and residents raising concerns . . For football to be allowed, the stadium’s licence would need to be reviewed and a number of inspections carried out.’

    The petition is at:
    118 supporters so far.

    • dellboy

      this would mean 20+ alternate weekends that the RFU would have opposing supporters that need to be kept apart, so far more police.
      Would the rugger fixtures be able to fit in with which ever football team was hosting a home game.
      This would make the local areas no go for locals virtually every weekend over the season.
      Totally unacceptable.

    • Sally

      Thank you for letting us know about the petition-have just signed.

  8. Anonymous

    The big issue is the A316! Its already over capacity, can you imagine a mid week Champions league match; Twickenham will be at a standstill!

  9. Cleo Talbot

    What a horrific prospect! A further 24 Saturdays when hapless Twickenham residents will have to batten down the hatches and stay at home. There will barely be a weekend in the year when one’s local pub / restaurant won’t be packed with boozed-up sports fans!

  10. George

    No thanks! And I say that as a season ticket holder at a different football club. 20+ Chelsea matches a year on top of the assorted rugby matches and the regular, lower crowds at Quins own games make this a bad idea. That’s just too much disruption. Football crowds are much better behaved than they used to be but keeping home and away fans segregated is still par for the course and there are still the occasional flashes of trouble.

    Surely a ground share with Fulham is best? After all, Palace & Charlton have done it in the past as have Fulham & QPR. Milan & Inter also proves that city rivals can share a stadium. Or what about Griffin Park?

  11. twickerman

    Why are they considering Twickenham, the Home of Rugby, when Wembley is so close and is greatly underused (particularly by England fans)?

    We don’t want any additional disturbance, and certainly not on the scale or frequency of Premier League footy matches.

  12. ladybird

    delighted! obviously the boring white so-called middle-class resident will be up in arms unlike the rich upper class residents of the Fulham Road!

    • Not really sure what race has to do with it.

    • observer

      Rich = Upper-class? Really?
      Who are these ‘so-called’ middle class? Who calls them it?
      Where are the ‘real’ ones then?
      Are there any non-white ‘so-called middle-class’? Are they all non-boring too?

    • sweeneyted

      Why even grace ladybirds idiotic comment with a response.

    • Alexis

      I think ladybird has suckered a couple of punters, observer and sweeneyted into a bit of intemperacy whereas R McD has been sensibly restrained, probably having realised its a wind up just like the wonderful Henry Root letters way back in the ’70s.
      Nice one ladybird!
      PS: What does this tell you about the pointlessness of the thumbs up or down brigade?

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Those Henry Root letters are great. I was re-reading them recently…very nostalgic. Here’s a pound!

    • Amir Tahir

      Don’t know Mr A. Do tell what it tells you.
      PS: ‘intemperateness’, maybe? ‘Intemperance’ at a push.

    • Alexis

      Thank you Mr Tahir – you are partially correct. The last time “intemperance” was used was to describe Cromwell’s behaviour in the English parliament in 1641 – so whilst it’s a bit archaic, it is no less appropriate.
      As to the thumbs up or down. There has been a bit of fuss about that on the recent Gloriana debate, mostly driven by strongly held beliefs of campaigners and political warriors – dare I suggest that ladybird’s provocative reference to race has achieved his or her desired result? That’s my point.

    • Amir Tahir

      But whither ‘intemperacy’ was mine.

    • Sally

      So no malice there then, either on Ladybird’s part for making a crack about race or on yours for crowing about it. (“Nice one Ladybird!”) Glad to sort that out.

    • Alexis

      Oh dear, I rather hoped this little digression would die a natural death, sadly Mr Tahir and Sally have chosen to prolong it.
      As to Mr Tahir and my use of the word: “intemperacy”. He’s quite right, In error I referred to “intemperance” in my last response. May I please commend him to John Morrill’s essay entitled The Nature of the English Revolution and the chapter about “The making of Oliver Cromwell”. A section of which reads thus:
      “But, as his intemperacy in the February debates on root and branch reform made clear he was not to be trusted when tact, sensitivity and gradualism were required”. Don’t you think that sums up the two posts I referred to rather well?
      As to Sally and “Nice one Ladybird!” What on earth is malicious about that? I’m really not quite sure what she’s banging on about which she does quite a lot – perhaps she can’t handle points of view which don’t meet her own?
      As to Chelsea playing at Twickenham – what an awful prospect. I will sign any petition I am presented with – even from Sally.

    • observer

      Those replies are getting longer again, Mr A ………….

    • Alexis

      Quite right Mr o…….
      I will try to limit my posts but I am not sure that pithy one liners like yours add much to the debate about stuff that matters to us all.

  13. As somebody who occasionally drives to White Hart Lane to watch Spurs I can only say the football fans there, from both teams, are much better behaved than the rugby fans who maraud up and down Heath Road and the surrounding areas on a match day.

  14. First world problems and all that, but over my dead body. I live in Chudleigh Road and local businesses do pretty well out if rugby as it is. Catering, pubs etc are only part if the local economy after all. Football at the RFU came up before as possibility some years ago, but was not accepted.

  15. Alison

    As a resident living just off Whitton Road between the station and the stadium I am really against this. We already put up with a lot which we don’t tend to complain about because that’s what we signed up for by moving here. But there’s no way I will put up with weekend after weekend of football crowds. Chelsea had better start looking for an alternative…

  16. This surely can’t happen.

  17. I’d heard Spurs were also considering it. As a Gooner I say no to either! Thanks very much.

  18. J mclean

    is this the thin edge of the wedge,i don’t think it should be allowed

  19. mike hine

    Weren’t Chelsea’s most notorious fans called the Shed Boys? I can think of one local notable they might find easy to recruit.

  20. Long term resident

    Football crowds aren’t as bad as most people seem to assume. Not as bad as The Army & Navy lot and the Varsity crowd for example but 20+ games a season is rather too many.

    • Donal

      I believe the stadium has to qualify as premiership approved and the RFU will need a licence from Richmond council for the extra games etc… So all is not lost for those of us who strongly oppose this proposal. And what about the station, how does that for with these plans !

    • A veteran cllr tells me that years ago RFU vowed they would never let the ground to a soccer club. Why? They were at that date determined to avoid paying the much higher business rates that a soccer ground used 20+ times a year would attract.

      Also the seating and fencing would need money spent before the council would licence the new use.

      Cllr Geoff Acton wrote yesterday: ‘I was interviewed by the Daily Telegraph yesterday, see today’s edition and am on BBC radio London at 8 50 this morning. I will be against this on residents’ behalf.’

      Vince Cable via Twitter: ‘‘I have written today to RFU about Twickenham Stadium and possible use for a year by Chelsea FC. V serious concerns and need for facts ASAP.”

    • illiad1

      I think many agree that rugby crowds may be boisterous, but football crowds do tend to be a bit more aggressive, particularly when opposing teams get *very argumentative* 🙄 about their teams… there is enough news coverage of this… :/

  21. It is a much underused stadium. Money generated could be put to use to expand rugby at all levels. There may be a benefit to local shops and businesses. Not much fun if you live near the ground though.

    • Tayben Avenue resident

      As a very local resident I could only support it if alcohol was not sold in the stadium for football matches and there was a significant police presence on all the different ways from the station to the stadium (and back)

    • illiad1

      I remind you that once twick waitrose had to shut early a few months ago due to aggressive fans… 😦 :/

    • My recollection is the trouble came from pop fans attending a concert. Does anyone have the details?

    • Sally

      Stop! In the years I have lived here I have been appalled by how our Councillors-of whatever party,roll over and beg for the RFU or view it, not at a muti million business but as a sensitive plant to be nutured.The spin of the RFU is to present themselves as jolly generous, a boon to the community, no trouble at all.We are encouraged to have a sort of group loyalty, not just to whatever teams we might like or the sport itself, but to the business behind it, the RFU.
      The reality for any of us who live-well, in Twickenham, is the town shops regularly becoming no go areas, appaling litter,noise, gridlock traffic,pee in the front gardens and so on. And here’s a proposal for more of the same or worse.Who wants to live near Wembley staduim, however much they might like football?
      The main argument wheeled out for the station high rise was that the RFU would like it, as if Twickenham serves only as a sort of gut to feed the RFU.We have seen so many unpopular moves pushed through under that justifacation.
      “Much underused”? “Money used to expand rugby at all levels?” Depends if think the RFU is short of cash and B. you think that trumps the quality of life for the locals.

    • I’ve even read past comments about the station development on twickerati displaying more concerned about the impression it will give rugby fans during a few weeks of the World Cup in 2015 than the effect it will have on the thousands of local residents who use the station most days of the week. As if most rugby fans aren’t aware of how Twickenham station has been for years anyway, and I suspect really don’t care what the station is like so long as it functions as a station.

    • Sally

      Yes, exactly. The Rugby fans would be the station users least likely to give a stuff about its looks. They are not going to be hanging about there reading newspapers and sipping coffee, they will be making beelines for the stadium. The suggestion was that the RFU was losing business. “Going to the World cup?” “Nah. Hear they have a dowdy station. Won’t bother.”
      They do poo behind it pretty often-criticism?

  22. Tayben Avenue resident

    I understood that the RFU had undertaken never to stage football matches at the stadium!!

  23. Ex-Twickenham Resident

    Come on you Blues!

  24. Donal

    I will be more than dumb struck if the people of Twickenham who stopped the Gloriana allow Chelsea or Tottemham to come and play football in Twickenham