Bridge Banter: Should Stamford Bridge bring back terraces for Chelsea fans?
After their fans were outsung at home by Crystal Palace’s 3,000-strong travelling army (and by recent visiting European supporters), Chelsea could lobby for a change in the law to permit some terracing at Stamford Bridge.
Despite losing 2-1, Palace fans drowned out 38,000 Blues supporters at the weekend. Mocking chants of ‘This is a library’ echoed around the stadium.
Jose Mourinho called the Selhurst singers ‘fantastic’, but extended his praise to Chelsea’s own travelling cadre, who sang themselves hoarse on recent expeditions to Sunderland and Stoke.
When Fernando Torres’ opener went in, and Ramires fired the winner, the Bridge erupted, but at other times the stadium atmosphere was muted.
Fans’ forums and websites constantly press for terraces, claiming it’s easier to create a din when standing.
Now a source at Stamford Bridge tells me the suggestion could be considered, although it would require legislative change.
Chelsea know perfectly well that visiting supporters stand for the entire match – and that to force them to sit would provoke ugly confrontations.
Post-Hillsborough (1989), all-seater legislation was introduced, but in recent years the clamour has grown for controlled terrace reintroduction.
Singing zones were created in the Shed upper and Matthew Harding lower to improve the atmosphere and encourage quieter areas (west and east stand upper) to be noisier.
It partially succeeded.
Proponents argue that the self-contained lower-tier corners at either end of the Matthew Harding could be converted to safe standing terraces, greatly increasing matchday noise without obstructing anyone’s view.
Ranged against are the police, who fear control would be harder, and some club officials who insist talk of a return to ‘the good old days’ requires the wearing of rose-tinted specs.
Terrace advocates point out that lower league grounds and German stadiums allow standing.
If put to a vote of the 41,608 at Chelsea v Palace, limited terracing would probably win. Meanwhile, Blues fans will be on their feet, as usual, at the Emirates on Monday.
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