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My money is still on Hammers' move to Olympic stadium

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Adrian Warner | 13:24 UK time, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

It was fascinating to see the 2012 Olympic Stadium battle between West Ham and Tottenham ending up at Prime Minister's Questions today (see the clip at BBC Democracy Live.)

Tottenham MP David Lammy asked for support for the petition against the Spurs bid. He's not alone in his opposition since most Tottenham fans I've talked to are against a move to Stratford in east London.

David Cameron played the question with a straight bat, keen not get involved in supporting either of the bids.

But I understand that Tottenham officials have been impressing the Olympic Park Legacy Company with their joint bid with entertainment group AEG, the owners of the 02 Arena (formerly the Dome).

It looks like Spurs really are serious about this and it's not just a bargaining tool to make sure the redevelopment of White Hart Lane goes ahead. Funny how the club kept denying their interest to me, though, when I broke this story in July ). And funny how all those Spurs fans told me I had got the story completely wrong! They were just praying it wasn't true. I knew the club had been expressing their interest.

Nevertheless, I'm still putting my money on West Ham getting the stadium when the decision is announced by the OPLC in the New Year, even if the club looks doomed to relegation.

They have the advantage of Newham Council behind them who can get special deals on loans for the cash needed to rebuild the arena for football.

West Ham are keen to point out that they could still get the money if they are relegated. This is important because it's looking more "when" rather "if" at the moment.

Only three clubs - Everton, West Brom and my beloved Coventry City have avoided relegation after spending Christmas at the bottom of the table.

It also helps West Ham that the athletics community is fully behind their bid because it guarantees the stadium also being used for track and field after the Games.

A letter signed by key Olympians such as Kelly Holmes, Roger Black and David Moorcroft was published yesterday, backing that stance. The Spurs bid, of course, doesn't guarantee this.

In the end this will come down to money - not letters from Olympians - and to who can guarantee that any financial deal will last long term. West Ham still need to convince the OPLC of this but I reckon they will.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    You've got the mood of the REAL Spurs supporters wrong. By REAL, I mean season ticket holders, not Sky watching Johnnie come lateleys. I've been going going to WHL for 45 years - it's a wretched, inacessible dump. I've carried out a straw poll amongst my fellow season ticket holders and you should be aware that the "tipping point" has almost been reached. Stratford will enjoy wonderful facilities and accessibility for us all no matter where we travel from. BRING IT ON!

  • Comment number 2.

    mallywally - I've held a season ticket for 15 years. I'm against any move out of North London and so are roughly 90% of the season ticket holders I've spoken to at the games. Fact is, opinions differ wildly on this. We won't know the real numbers for and against until a bid is successful or the club makes an announcement of their real intent. Most people I've spoken to (for and against) are still saying "Never going to happen, so don't worry about it".

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm a season ticket holder at the lane, but I'm open minded to both option. For me Stratford has the better transport links, especially for those of us now living in South London.

    The biggest risk for Spurs is how Newham will behave if they win the bid as I assume any changes to the stadium requiring planning permission will need to be considered by Newham Council.

    If we do move there, at least it will give the West Ham supporters a genuinue reason to loathe Spurs. It will be our version of Arsenal crossing the Thames.

  • Comment number 4.

    Fascinating blog Adrian.

  • Comment number 5.

    I am not a season ticket holder, but plan to be once the new stadium is built. Yep, thats what I want to see and for me, is the only option. I have supported Spurs for nearly 40 years and seen some great matches at 'The Lane' and want to stay where the club belongs.

    Spurs are a North London team - moving to East London is just against the grain for me. I have only just got used to the fact that any new stadium will not be called WHL - but the idea of moving from Tottenham is a step too far.

    Okay - so Tottenham as an area is run down, and needs a massive injection of cash - but it is the home of the greatest team in London (thats my opinion so lets not have any silly jibes).

    The great 'Sir' Billy Nick will be turning in his grave at the thought of moving away from were the club really belongs.

  • Comment number 6.

    As a seasonticket holder, the choice is: stay in the area as a cash-cow for the local council and tfl, or move: save £200m, have brand new facilities, and know that £100m could fund new players to carry on our progress. Lammy cares for the area, not the club. Fans should care for the team, not the area. Spurs aren't a cash-cow for the area, if they truly want Spurs in the area the government need to secure funds to assist them staying there

  • Comment number 7.

    There are sections of supporters of both clubs that oppose the move,just like there are those that support it.The decision by th OPLC wil be made on who's case is the most viable.Newham Council are facing major cuts to its budget,having to lay off hundreds of staff,so they certainly will not be able to get special deals on loans for West Ham,and why should a local authority funded by ratepayers subsidise a PL club?.The letter signed by the Olympians is nonsense,The running track at the local council stadium is only used on school sportsdays,like the track in Tower Hamlets & Barking.If the Olympians had their way the OPS would be another 02.Unless the Olypians have a backer for their dreams they should shut up,as a local I don't want to pay for another White Elephant.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sleepingpoundman is quite correct. As a Newham resident I do not want to see my local council supporting WHU to the tune of millions of pounds when, at the same time, they are making drastic cuts in services and laying off hundreds of staff. Unfortunately local residents are not even able to find out any of the actual details of this proposed loan.

    I would also question the involvement of the Mayor of Newham with regard to the proposed loan and the move of WHU into the Olympic Stadium. It would appear that one of the main supporters of the move is Sir Robin Wales, a WHU season ticket holder who has already received substantial amounts of gifts and freebies from WHU. He is also, I understand, involved in the local Olympic organising committee and the Olympic Park Legacy Company.

    Just what is going on here? Does the BBC have any journalists willing and capable of uncovering some of these details?

  • Comment number 9.

    So presumably these ex-athletes 'business plan' to keep the stadium for athletics will return as much to the public purse as a premier league club buying or renting the stadium for a primary soccer use?

    Oh, and how many times a year will it be full for athletics events?

  • Comment number 10.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

 

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