Atmosphere concern for fans

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho recently complained it felt like his team were "playing in an empty stadium" when they beat QPR 2-1 at home three weeks ago.

And a survey by the CST shows Chelsea fans share the Portuguese's concerns.

Atmosphere was listed as one of the top concerns in the findings of the survey, along with ticket prices.

"Atmosphere continues to be a major concern for supporters and the manager," the report reads.

The 660 members surveyed felt the return of standing areas at Stamford Bridge would be the best way to improve the atmosphere at the stadium.

The Football Supporters' Federation is leading a campaign for the introduction of "safe standing" areas at football grounds.

Currently, the Football Spectators Act 1989 requires safety authorities to ensure fans attending games in England's top two divisions are seated.

Tim Rolls, chair of the CST said his organisation backed the FSF's policy and also called on the club to reduce ticket prices too.

"The results of the second CST members survey reinforce the view of the board that there are a couple of fundamental issues the club need to address as a matter of urgency," he said.

"The recent publicity following the manager's comments about the lack of atmosphere at Stamford Bridge led to a healthy debate about the reasons for this.

"The need for more affordable ticketing for young supporters, the desire for Safe Standing to be introduced and concerns about over-zealous stewarding are all are highlighted as significant member concerns in the survey results, and support the CST board view on these matters."

The report adds: "The CST campaign for safe standing last season has put this in the forefront of supporters' minds with this being the most frequent suggestion for improving the ambience at Stamford Bridge."

Press Association Sport will gauge the noise at Stamford Bridge this weekend, when Chelsea host West Brom in their first home game since Mourinho's comments.

The highest adult ticket price at Stamford Bridge is £87 while juniors can pay up to £27.50 for 'Category AA' games.

This is a big concern to CST members according to the survey, which reads: "the current price of tickets makes it almost impossible to cultivate the next generation of matchgoers."

Overall satisfaction with the club among supporters has improved, the survey found.

The replacement of Rafael Benitez with Mourinho is thought to be a big factor in this, as is the club's commitment to subsidising travel to away games.

Chelsea have regularly subsidised away travel for their fans this season.

Next month, the club will subsidise away supporters' trip to Derby for their Capital One Cup quarter-final tie at Pride Park.

Source : PA

Source: PA