Pound Land: BT Sport Films presents the story of Bates and Harding in their battle to save Stamford Bridge

The latest BT Sport Film which centres around Ken Bates and Matthew Harding premieres on Tuesday 7 March.

Published: 22 February 2023 - 3.51pm
BT Sport Films

Pound Land - The Battle For Stamford Bridge, the latest documentary from the award-winning BT Sport Films series, premieres on BT Sport 1 at 10.45pm on Tuesday 7 March.

The documentary provides new perspective and fascinating context to Chelsea’s current bid to dominate world football, following its £4.25 billion takeover last summer and subsequent £600 million investment in new players.

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The film centres around the trials and tribulations of Ken Bates and Matthew Harding, trailblazing forces that helped to set them on a path to become the most expensive sports club in the world.

Pound Land charts the compelling story of when Bates and Harding joined forces to not only save the club from extinction but lay the foundations for its future success.

The film recalls an era with seismic changes in football, as the Premier League established itself and the game was transformed on and off the pitch.

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. Enter Ken Bates, who bought a club in turmoil for just £1. Twenty years later, he sold it for £140 million to Roman Abramovich.

Ken Bates and Matthew Harding
Ken Bates and Matthew Harding are the focus of the latest BT Sport Film

However, through this period of revolutionary change for Chelsea, the once jovial partnership fractured, descending into hostility. In the eyes of the media, Harding is 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, it highlights the complexity of both men and their relationship.

Harding is killed in a helicopter crash coming back from a midweek game, just seven months before Chelsea win the FA Cup: the first trophy in 26 years and a bittersweet victory for a club in mourning.

The film features contributors who were part of Bates and Harding’s story, including Glenn Hoddle and Michael Duberry; the journalists who covered the saga - Harry Harris and Rob Beasley - fans who experienced some of the club’s darkest and euphoric days first hand, including actor Phil Daniels.

“The legacy of Bates and Harding is one that carries vast emotion and opinion”
- Sally Brown

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 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.

Sally Brown, Executive Producer, 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.”

Pound Land is a Tenmonkeys production with BT Sport Films from filmmakers Caj Sohal and Andy Wells. It will premiere on Tuesday 7 March and is available to watch via the BT Sport app and website at any time thereafter.

Many of the past BT Sport Films are now available with British Sign Language (BSL).