Stamford Bridge’s ‘infamous’ atmosphere

By Emma Hartley

Chelsea FC is one of the most successful teams in current times. However, the atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge falls well under expectations.

It’s fair to say that the atmosphere inside a football ground is very much determined by the result and the way a team performs. This digs deep into fans emotions and how they feel leaving the ground afterwards. If your team has clenched a win you should feel the buzz and excitement running through your veins. The noise should be electric as everyone shares their passion together. However, the atmosphere at the best of times is very quiet. You would expect the ground to be very loud as it is a ‘football ground’ however the noise is very minimal.

At the start of a home game as the players walk out of the tunnel onto the field fireworks go off and the famous Chelsea liquidator plays. This creates a buzz in the ground and excitement just before kick-off. Fans enjoy it and join in.

The Matthew Harding stand is known for the best atmosphere. This stand holds a large amount of season ticket holders and some of which have gone to watch Chelsea for years. Before every game the Matthew Harding stand pulls a large flag over the fans in support of the team.banners.jpg

(Photo Credit- Chelsea Daft-A Chelsea fans blog)

Even though this is the case the atmosphere after the teams walk out falls quite flat. Fans will celebrate a goal and several chants may be sung throughout however, for the majority of the game the stands are pretty quiet.

Attending Chelsea games at Stamford Bridge would be so much better if there was a better atmosphere. During a game all I want to do as a fan is sing and chant for my team. I want to get behind the boys and motivate them but having the confidence to do that alone is difficult.

Many Chelsea fans feel the lack of support within the ground and it is something that is very noticed by match day going fans.

Loyal supporter, Stephen Kelliher said: ‘’At Stamford Bridge the Matthew Harding lower only sing. Why doesn’t the shed make more noise along with the West and East stand? Make Stamford bridge a fortress and be a 12th man! There is a bad atmosphere at 12.30pm and 3pm kick offs. Unless people have had a chance to have a drink for a 5.30pm kick off. There is a better atmosphere at away games.’’

Ben Williams, Chelsea fan said: ‘’So the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge is something that can be the league’s best one week and feel like the league’s worst the next. Generally speaking, the more vocal stands, as you may know, are Matthew Harding and Shed End. The East Stand lacks due to it being a family stand – with the cheapest tickets available being a magnet for families and first-timers at Chelsea. The West Stand is made up of more upper-class Chelsea fans due to the higher ticket prices. As you know, Chelsea was originally a club for the working-class people, just like football was before the money. But this usually results in more first-timers sitting in West Stand which can add to a poor atmosphere. It seems like we only seem to show up at big games sadly.’’

Generally, in The Premier League it could be seen that the atmosphere is very average in comparison to lower league football.

Stephen Davies, Chelsea fan said: ‘’For big games The Premier League atmosphere in general is shocking you’d have to go down to the lower leagues for a good atmosphere.’’

At Stamford Bridge away fans are always heard in the ground. The home fans should be able to completely out sing the away fans easily due to the capacities of both. They never really seem to be able to. This leads to ‘’Is this a library’’ being sung from the away end. Chelsea fans never really appear to react to this, they just accept it.

Away fans.jpg

(Photo Credit- The Anfield Wrap)

Chelsea is now a worldwide brand which is so encouraging to see. However, this could be a contributing factor as to why the atmosphere is so flat at Stamford Bridge. Many people that attend the home games might have only been for the first time so don’t know any chants.

Also, Stamford Bridge lies in the heart of one of the best cities in the world London. Tourists that come to London are attracted to come and see the blues play as they are one of the top teams in England. Again, this attracts some people that don’t really know that much about Chelsea but they come anyways.

I will never forget when I attended a game on the 24th August 2014 at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea beat Leicester 2-0. I was sat in the West Stand Lower and I heard two people talking behind me before the game started. They didn’t know who any of the players were and they sat silently through the entire game. Even when Chelsea scored, they didn’t stand up. They didn’t know what it meant to be a passionate Chelsea supporter.  It was frustrating to see and this is quite a regular occurrence. Whenever I am at a game I focus and watch the game. However, it is very hard not to pick up on these sorts of things and what is going on around you as you come together and sit among people in a football stadium.

The atmosphere at away games is completely different by Chelsea fans. Smaller minorities of fans go due to the away ground capacities and are always very loud. Most of the time fans out sing home supporters. If you are watching from home on TV you can always here Chelsea fans singing loud and proud in support of the players. The atmosphere is always great and you feel a buzz. Even when the team are losing or have lost the fans are always singing. They know what it means to be Chelsea.

The atmosphere is truly so quietly noticeable at Stamford Bridge. To the extent when Jose Mourinho was in charge, he even slammed it himself. He remarked that ‘’it was like playing in an empty stadium’’. This shows how bad it really is.

The atmosphere used to be brilliant at Stamford Bridge in the olden days. This could be because proper fans attended the games and were actual ‘fans’. A majority of the fans were locals and lived in London. They knew the chants and most of them were the ones that created the chants.

Furthermore, the increase in ticket pricing has put a lot of people off. Not everyone can afford to go now so instead they might just go to away games instead as the atmosphere is better there. Many fans will pick to just go to away games rather than home now.

Many Chelsea fans admit that the atmosphere is terrible. It is something that fans can’t deny. The loyal supporters would love this to change but they cannot do it on their own. It is very frustrating for all of us loyal fans to see and something that all of us want to see change.

cfc atmosphere

(Photo Credit- Chelseanews24)

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3 thoughts on “Stamford Bridge’s ‘infamous’ atmosphere

  1. A couple of comments, as a lifelong supporter that went to the bridge from 1979 3 to 1996 (I moved out of the country) I can tell you that the atmosphere was almost always awesome and the results didn’t matter & were often bad.
    There were leaders that started most of the songs then the stands would challenge each other throughout the game, I was a middle shed man, we would often start the chants & then the white wall would join in and it would go from there.
    It’s hard to say whether the newer fans are a different breed from the working-class fans of my time but something has changed.
    Sadly I now get to watch every game on TV with various subscriptions I watch with my family and I’ve taught them all the songs I used to sing but dropped the cuss words as my kids were young.

    It will take a concerted effort to bring enough people together to ensure that the atmosphere becomes what it wants was again.

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  2. Agree that the atmosphere is awful as a season ticket holder of over a decade and a half. Completely disagree with the implied reason why. I’m quite frankly sick and tired of turning up to games and the same shower of old, bitter and grumpy people sitting on their hands muttering when we’re winning waiting for that bad pass or the opposition goal to leap to their feet shout and scream at our own players. If the Bridge crowd had 10% as much interest as supporting the team as it did in backseat managing it would be a fortress. I get the argument we pay a lot of money so we expect to be entertained but at what point are you actually a supporter if you only, to borrow a cliche, sing when we’re winning. All I’m saying is yes the tourists are quiet but I’d rather that than the stream of useless invective that comes from the muppets that surround my seat in the shed upper.

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  3. Chelsea fans are renowned for harping back to the good old days, when they were real fans in the Shed End. There’s a veiled insinuation that if you weren’t around in those days you’re not real Chels.
    Whilst it is true that fans in MHL are the most vocal at the Bridge, even they fall silent for long periods of time.
    The sad fact is that when the team are playing poorly and need our support more than ever, the crowd falls silent. It is often only when we are playing our nearest rivals and it’s a tight end to end game that the fans get worked up into any sort of enthusiasm.
    Whilst it used to be the revered Shed End fans who had the kudos in years gone by, it now seems that you are only a ‘proper’ Chelsea fan if you are part of MHL. I have often heard it said that West Stand fans don’t sing and are the prawn sandwich brigade. I read in a reply to this article that West Stand fans are Upper Class which really made me laugh out loud. I have owned 2 season tickets in West Lower for 20 years, prior to that I was a member. I attend every home game and some away games from my home in Dorset. I can honestly say that I sing my heart out for the Blues and supporting Chelsea is a major part of my life. I dread to think how much I have spent following them over the years. I chose to sit in West Lower solely based on the fact that I like to view the games from the side of the pitch where I can see what is happening at both ends. I dislike viewing from behind a goal because I find it difficult to distinguish what is happening at the other end.
    I think there are a number of issues which contribute to the decrease in atmosphere at the ground and
    TV coverage has a large part to play. There are fans who no longer attend live games because so many of them are televised now. TV coverage often involves a change of date or time of kick off. Little or no consideration is given to how this might impact on fans and on their travel arrangements. Boxing Day 2018 was a prime example with Chelsea’s match being moved to an evening kick off. This gives no consideration to the impact on family life and the constant, short notice of changes means fans cannot take advantage of reduced travel costs. Hence many can no longer afford the cost of tickets, travel and all that goes with attending a football match, so they stay at home with their feet up and watch the game on the box.
    Emma has already covered the fact that with Chelsea having a multicultural and world wide following there are often tourists at the ground who don’t know the songs.
    In so many ways society has changed hugely. Peoples communication styles have changed and are more introvert. In this digital age people are more confident expressing themselves through digital gadgets and less so vocally. Whilst the atmosphere at the Bridge has reduced, the incidents of keyboard warriors expressing their dissatisfaction with all things Chelsea are loud and clear.
    I have thought for a long time that I wish more of our chants and songs were based more on support for Chelsea and less aimed at slagging off other teams. So many of our songs are about our ‘hatred’ for other teams. Why give them the time of day? Our singing should be about supporting the Blues. Each of our players should have a decent song so that they can feel our love and support. I’m not at all creative when it comes to making up songs but there must be someone out there with musical talents.
    I don’t disagree that the atmosphere at the Bridge is often dire but what premier league grounds have a good atmosphere? Whenever I’ve been a part of the Chelsea away fans we always out sing the home support so I don’t think this is a problem that is particular to Chelsea but for football in general.

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