Villas-Boas understands stadium attachment
Andre Villas-Boas is confident that Chelsea fans will become as emotionally attached to a new stadium as they are to Stamford Bridge - as long as it is a significant improvement on their current home.
Blues boss Villas-Boas yesterday backed the club's bid to repurchase the freehold of the ground they have played at for their entire 106-year history, something that is being seen as a precursor to the construction of a 60,000-seater arena elsewhere in west London.
Opposition from supporters' groups to owner Roman Abramovich's plans to buy out the shareholders of Chelsea Pitch Owners - most of whom are fans - appeared to grow this week with the launch of the 'Say No CPO' campaign, which is urging CPO to vote down the proposal at their general meeting on 27 October.
Regaining ownership of the land on which Stamford Bridge sits, which has belonged to CPO since the 1990s, would allow the club to use the profits from its sale to fund a move to a new stadium. Villas-Boas went through a similar saga while working under Jose Mourinho at Porto eight years ago, when the club built the Estadio Dragao.
"When you are moving house, if you are going to a better house, you want it badly in the beginning," said Villas-Boas. "When the house is more or less the same or you don't know if it's going to be same, you feel attached to where you were living before because it meant a lot to you. You need to create a better environment to leave, get to know new people and go to different restaurants."
Villas-Boas admitted having reservations about Porto's move, adding: "We were uncertain: where are we going? Why are we changing? There were no emotional links. But now those emotional links are all attached to the new stadium."
The prospect of Chelsea relocating has divided supporters, although the leaders of 'Say No CPO' have insisted that they are not against the move in principle and plan to vote no to the club's proposal at the CPO EGM simply to force them to provide more information.
They have met twice with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, including yesterday morning, to air their concerns. Differences appear to remain between the parties and 'Say No CPO' still plan to distribute 10,000 leaflets before the club's Premier League game against Everton tomorrow.
The group have also taken issue with the club's decision to allow significant CPO shareholders private meetings with Buck and Blues captain John Terry on Monday.
They said in a statement: "Say No CPO are saddened, but not shocked, to learn that Chelsea FC have had to resort to trying to influence the votes of the largest shareholders by offering private meetings with club players."
Chelsea confirmed the meetings, insisting they were being open and transparent and pointed out that the 'no' campaign were perfectly at liberty to use current and former players or celebrity fans to back their own cause.