Since the announcement of Chelsea FC’s proposal to Chelsea Pitch Owners, the club have used every possible medium at their disposal to try and influence shareholders to vote “yes”.
We have seen the club utilise current players, former players, columnist, the medium of Chelsea TV and the matchday programme. The intensity of their campaign indicates how seriously they are taking this matter.
In the interests of balance, the “Say No CPO” campaign have bent over backwards to get their message to not just shareholders, but all Chelsea fans. Flyers, letters, blogs, you name it, they’ve tried it.
Today, however, through the club website, Chelsea FC have committed what may turn out to be a serious tactical error. Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of the death of one of our most greatly loved supporters, Matthew Harding.
I don’t think there wasn’t a single one of us who wasn’t touched by his death, whether he was known to us personally, or whether we just saw him in the street, or at games in his seat. We had the feeling he was one of us.
An article on the official Chelsea website, by Mr Harding’s friend, Graham Bell, extols the virtue of Chelsea’s potential move away from Stamford Bridge which basically carries the message “it’s what Matthew would have wanted”. No-one, not even as close a friend as Mr Bell, can presume to know what Matthew Harding would have wanted at this time.
Given that his initial contact with the club came through the fact that he was trying to buy a CPO share, it is far from certain that, had Matthew been alive, he would have supported the club’s proposal. At least not without giving some safeguards to the future of Chelsea’s home, which is what the “Say No CPO Campaign” is striving for.
I apologise unreservedly to anyone offended by this article, which is my view only. However, it is my belief that invoking the name of Matthew Harding at the anniversary of his death marks a new low in the campaign by Chelsea FC to secure a “yes” vote at next weeks’s EGM.
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*Previous articles on the forthcoming EGM have been entitled “The Road to the Harris Suite”. It’s now been announced that due to the number of shareholders anticipated to attend, the CPO EGM will be held in the “Great Hall”.