Pound Land - The Battle For Stamford Bridge will cover the Ken Bates and Matthew Harding era

BT Sport Pound Land documentary Chelsea

BT Sport will premiere Pound Land - The Battle For Stamford Bridge on BT Sport 1 at 10.45pm on 7 March.

The documentary covers Premier League side Chelsea’s turbulent history from 1982 to its sale to Roman Abramovich in 2003, focusing on the influences of owner Ken Bates and investor Matthew Harding.

Pound Land takes viewers on a journey back to 1982, to a time where Chelsea almost ceased to exist after finding themselves in financial danger before Bates bought a club in turmoil for just £1. Twenty years later, he sold it for £140 million to Roman Abramovich.

Through this period of revolutionary change for Chelsea, the once jovial partnership between Bates and Harding fractured, descending into hostility. In the eyes of the media, Harding was seen as the people’s fan and Bates the sharp-nosed businessman with only money on his mind. The film recalls that while the press often painted them as hero and villain, there was complexity with both the men and their relationship. Harding was killed in a helicopter crash coming back from a midweek game, just seven months before Chelsea won the FA Cup: the first trophy in 26 years and a bittersweet victory for a club in mourning. 

Contributors include Glenn Hoddle and Michael Duberry; the journalists who covered the saga - Harry Harris and Rob Beasley; and fans who experienced some of the club’s darkest and euphoric days first hand, including actor Phil Daniels. Content from the film features in Harris’ new book ‘The Battle for Stamford Bridge’, from Empire Publications. Harris produced a string of exclusives at the time in the Daily Mirror based on his close association with Bates.

The film also intersperses match archive with personal footage sourced from fans, along with a carefully curated soundtrack of relevant popular music from that will transport viewers to the Bates and Harding era.

It’s a Tenmonkeys production with BT Sport Films from film-makers Caj Sohal and Andy Wells.

Sally Brown, executive producer at BT Sport Films, said: “Pound Land - The Battle For Stamford Bridge introduces a different side to the Chelsea that we know today. The legacy of Bates and Harding is one that carries vast emotion and opinion, and allows viewers to revisit those monumental years of change.”

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