Thursday, 10 February 2011

West Ham win new stadium ahead of Spurs, but no-one seems completely satisfied

In what has become an increasingly bitter and personal battle to win the right to take-over the Olympic Stadium West Ham appear to have won the race ahead of Spurs.

But if that proves to be the case, the decision has to be confirmed by London Major Boris Johnson and the government, you get the impression Hammers fans aren’t exactly ecstatic with the move.

In fact they appear more relived that Spurs won’t be making the bizarre move across London and leave their White Hart Lane home.

The reason for the mixed reaction seems to circle around the running track. No matter what West Ham say, a running track in a football stadium does ruin the atmosphere, especially in England where the fans are used to being very close to the pitch.

Spurs acknowledged this, hence their plan to knock-down and re-build a purpose built football stadium. They appear forced into this move after plans to re-develop White Hart Lane proved prohibitively expensive. Chances like this don’t come around very often, hence chairman Daniel Levy’s desperation to move the club to Stratford.

West Ham also see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. True they still have to pay £90millon on re-configuring the stadium but some of that will be loaned to them by the council. They will never get a stadium handed to them on a plate like this again.
They are prepared to accept the running track as the option of staying at Upton Park will leave them worse off – they knew the thought of seeing a publically built stadium knocked down just weeks after being built wouldn’t sit well with the OPLC.

The losers here though are the football fans, who will have to put up with poor views from over a running track.

 But they can’t blame the West Ham board as a new stadium, for such a small price, could transform their on-pitch performances – I can guarantee Sheikh Mansour wouldn’t have bought City if they were still at Maine Road.

Questions have to be asked though about why removable stands, that can cover the running track, weren’t factored into the original design. Then this whole mess would have been avoided.

Considering the 2012 Olympics was all about legacy that crucial design flaw is tremendously short-sighted and ill-thought out.


  1. The ex chairman Terry Brown made a 100 million offer to the Olympic committee that if they factored in retractable seating then West Ham would bid for the stadium and that was well before any plans were finalised. At that time the oplc said absolutely no football club will be taking over the stadium and now look, had they listened at the time then we wouldn't be having this conversation now. Someone must surely be sacked for such short sightedness. Idiots

  2. This is whole point of the debate no one though about long term planning what should of happen after the games , harringey should put in bid for doing up Haringey but that didn’t happen if the Olympic bid can fund 50m pool in Luton should funded scheme in Haringey

  3. I seem to remember that Ken Livingston objected to West Ham's plan for retractable seating on the basis that the stadium didn't need a football club as tenant and should be retained purely for athletics.
    How short sighted of him but then he always was dogmatic rather than pragmatic.