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West Ham bid overshadows legacy

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David Bond | 13:33 UK time, Friday, 18 May 2012

There is a lot more at stake in the Championship play-off final tomorrow than simply West Ham's league status. A matter of national significance rests on whether they can secure a swift return to the Premier League 12 months after they were relegated.

After so many false starts and mistakes, the Olympic Stadium saga has entered yet another phase of uncertainty.

Earlier this week the London Legacy Development Corporation (the new name for the Olympic Park Legacy Company) announced it was extending the tender process for the stadium by a further eight weeks to allow those parties who expressed an initial interest the chance to submit a bid.

If you didn't know anything about this tortuous story you might have thought this was a response to a dramatic, late intervention from a big player offering a viable, long term alternative to West Ham - the first and only real credible long term tenant for the stadium.

West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan and vice chairman Karren Brady celebrate their winning bid in February 2011

West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan and vice chairman Karren Brady pose outside the Olympic Stadium. Photo: PA

Unfortunately for the LLDC nothing could have been further from the truth. The eight-week delay has potentially left the process exposed to legal challenge from the combative Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn.

The first big mistake was West Ham's failure to obtain permission from the Football League for their move to the Olympic Stadium. It was a clear requirement of the LLDC's Invitation to Tender (ITT).

And although I have spoken to some sources who argue the legacy corporation should have made the requirement more flexible, it seems extraordinary that West Ham either overlooked or simply chose to ignore a clear requirement of the tender process.

I am told that the reason West Ham didn't go to the League for permission was because they already felt they had sufficient support for the move from Upton Park in the form of the backing of the Premier League.

But until tomorrow's game at Wembley is decided that is completely irrelevant. And one imagines a good lawyer wouldn't find it too difficult to make a case that the permission is required from the league in which the club was playing at the time the application went in, not at the time of the decision. The deadline for bids was back in March.

In any case West Ham were relying on a permission granted by the Premier League for the original bidding process back in 2011, which ran into the long grass following a legal challenge from Tottenham.

On the question of the Football League's support at that time, it is understood West Ham received a letter from the competition's head of legal affairs Nick Craig which appeared to back up the Premier League's position.

The letter, dated 18 July 2011, says:

"The Football League board has been advised that the Premier League's decision would be highly relevant to its own deliberations and that a different decision would only be justified if there had been a material change of circumstances since the Premier League board decision."

West Ham might say there has been no "material change of circumstances". But the decision to terminate the deal with West Ham last autumn and take the stadium back into public ownership seems like a pretty significant change of circumstances to me. Surely it would have been sensible for West Ham to go back to the Football League and seek approval for its move.

It has been suggested that one of the reasons they didn't go back to them is that they knew Hearn would have used his support on the League's board to refuse permission and that may well be the case.

More likely it was the League's requirement to have certainty over their fixtures which prevented them from giving their blessing. This is problematic because the legacy tender this time around was focused on getting a number of tenants to share a publicly owned stadium rather than one anchor tenant effectively taking charge of the venue.

Another problem which was overlooked in the legacy corporation's announcement this week was its requirement to clarify technical improvements to the stadium.

Although it is the legacy corporation's responsibility to adapt the stadium from its 80,000 seater Olympics mode to its legacy configuration after the Games, it is up to the bidders to submit clear proposals as to how they want the stadium fitted out.

It is understood that there are serious questions about West Ham's technical proposals and exactly how they would like to see the athletics stadium adapted for football.

The London Mayor Boris Johnson said yesterday that he was confident that a football club (ie West Ham) would still end up as the main tenant at the stadium after the Games. He might be right but other senior figures are not ruling out the possibility of yet another rethink or a return to the 25,000 seater athletics "base case" which the venue was originally designed for in legacy mode.

The departure of former OPLC chairman Baroness Margaret Ford and her replacement by the Mayor's close political ally Daniel Moylan and six new board members could lead to a completely fresh approach to the long running problem.

All of which leads me back to where we started this and tomorrow's play-off final between West Ham and Blackpool.

Clearly this is not only a matter of obtaining permission from whichever League West Ham are playing in.

No, this is an issue of cold, hard cash. Promotion to the Premier League would make West Ham's business case much more convincing.

Remember this is a club with £91million of debts according to their 2011 accounts. Servicing interest payments on that lot plus an annual lease payment to the legacy corporation becomes much harder if you are still in the Football League.

Promotion to the Premier League would guarantee more than £30m a season making the annual rent much more comfortable. Time the move right and West Ham would also be able to reduce their debts by £20m through the sale of Upton Park.

Such a situation might just stop the legacy corporation from casting around for alternatives. They need to get on with it and get it right because this saga is in danger of completely overshadowing London's vision for an Olympic legacy.


  • Comment number 1.

    Come on you Tangerines!

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    I can't understand the clamour from West Ham to be allowed to play in the Olympic Stadium. It's design is primarily for Athletics and once the extra 50,000 seats are removed it will be even more open, and unsuitable for a good football atmosphere. Compare this to Upton Park, which is one of the most atmospheric, intimidating grounds in the country and you just have to ask yourself Why?

  • Comment number 4.

    Being a west ham supporter you might think would cloud the issue on this whole olympic legacy saga(look at any other olympic country and there is almost no legacy!!! bejing athens atlanta etc...)But in this country we always get ourselves into a pickle about any such matters.The irony being that the ethiad stadium a legacy of the commonwealth games is now connected to the richest football club in the world a club that only just bought the premiership.But i digress, i believe the goal posts have been moved yet again to suit west hams argument relating to the dividion status.Leyton Orient who occasionally get a mention on eastenders every now and then couldn't make any use of the stadium whatsoever and barry hearn is living in dreamland and trying to use any excuse he can to suggest otherwise.Most west ham fans don't want the move but progress is progress and the stadium will be a white elephant if west ham are not allowed to move in.From day one Seb coe said that a football club would never get the stadium over athletics but what does he know? He hails from an amateur era when athletes did it for the glory? The whole saga has been a commercial failure with too many interested parties pulling in different directions... I believe that west ham have called the bluff off the olympic committee as they know that they are the only viable option for the stadium.If west ham walk away now what will we be left with....nothing.So as it stands the UK has made another great #### up and left itself with little option but to be embarrassed yet again.As for the play off final west ham could have sold out wembley twice over (you ask wembley club they say that records show the last time the demand for tickets was this high was 1966) and guess what west ham won the cup then!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Something very very dodgy about this whole process now and I fully expect there to be weeds growing out of it in a few years time. Yet again they manage to screw up a very good proposition.

  • Comment number 6.


    I understand your point, but at least the Etihad was designed with football in mind and has proven itself to be an excellent stadium. Would you really want to sit in an Olympic Stadium with a massive running track around the pitch. I just don't see why West Ham want to move there. Surely to have a national Athletics stadium would be a more viable option, even if other events have to be staged there to balance the books?

  • Comment number 7.

    The O2 takes care of other events.The forward planning is typically British:reactionary. If the development helps the local area and its a big if then all the better and the facts are that west ham is very much part of the local area i can see the site from where i live in Poplar.Part of my point was that seb coe in his wisdom had no commercial plan for the stadium or the area after the games it was all waffle.Whether us west ham fans like it or not Sullivan and gold do.

  • Comment number 8.

    As most people already realise, West Ham United have done more than enough to ensure a dubious sporting legacy already, with hosting the Haye - Chisora fight.

    But then what would you expect, from owners who have made their money largely from pornography.

    How will all look back on it in 10 years time ?

  • Comment number 9.

    haye chisora fight already sold over 25 thousand tickets and your point is?

  • Comment number 10.

    This process has been a mess from the beginning. Most West Ham fans are now against a move.
    I'm surprised that a key condition of the tender has been ignored by West Ham and surprised that our bid was accepted on that basis?
    Barry Hearn is only out for what he can get, the threat to Leyton Orient is a red herring. He did not contest the Spurs bid for the site which would have had the same impact on the O's, especially as you would have had 2 premier teams (at the time) within a 2 mile radius of Bribane Road. I am confused why Hearn has not tried to lower prices at the O's to bring in more fans as they ownly ever acheive 3-4k fans each home game in their 10k plus stadium.

  • Comment number 11.

    the whole saga has been a farce, but you fail to mention THFC involvement in the whole process. the threat of legal action from them eventually putting the whole process in jeopardy. There seemed little reason for this other than having their own proposal rejected, lets not forget WHFC won the original vote 16-0.
    No doubt all the red tape and beaucracy involved with the IOC, local authority, Premiership, will probably result in the stadium gathering dust and cobwebs and being used for the occassional event
    look at Barcelona olympic stadium - never used!
    the only real option is to let a sports team use it, wether that be football or rugby - if Barry Hearn thinks orient can fill the stadium every other week, then let them have it!

  • Comment number 12.

    "Whether us west ham fans like it or not Sullivan and gold do."

    Very true.

    In fact the head to head between Sullivan and Hearn reminds very much of the current tussle between Phil Mitchell and Derek Branning in Eastenders!

  • Comment number 13.

    "Promotion to the Premier League would guarantee more than £30m a season making the annual rent much more comfortable."
    That assumes that West Ham stay in the Premier League. Even if they win this weekend, there's no guarantee that they won't be back in the Championship by the time they'd start playing in the Olympic Stadium.

    Given that the stadium will be hosting the World Athletics Championships in 2017, the scope for converting it so it's more suitable for hosting football is restricted.

  • Comment number 14.

    Its all so very British like you say a farce!! What people seem to forget is that the luftwaffe desroyed most of east london including the docks.My old man lost his house thanks to them. So you would think that this country could take some common sense decisions about a run down and deprived area and make it good, its been a long time coming. The whole thing is embarrassing to say the least.I can see the place becoming a ghost town after the olympics unless it has an identity and as i have said before the people of the area can identify with west ham united!

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Why oh why didn't they build the stadium like the Stade de France!???! Retractable seating reveals the running track! A very simple solution to legacy and all that!

  • Comment number 17.

    so hope holloway's boys smash west ham. can't stand the club or the 3 stooges at the helm

  • Comment number 18.

    As much as I respect the achievements of Lord Coe. re: The Olympic Legacy, it is time for him and others to get real.It will be football that drives the economics of the stadium, not athletics which in the bigger picture is a fringe sport.
    I was in Munich for the England v Germany 1-5,at the Olympic Stadium, it was a great result but I forgot my binoculars so was guessing most of the time.Bottom line, multisport arenas with tracks do not work for football. Bayern Munich realized this when they played there and built a new football specific stadium which will be on show this Saturday. Lord Coe is on a personal crusade for his own hobby horse which is not in the interests of the public at large. The stadium has to be economically viable after the Olympics and like it or not the best chance is to make it football specific.Lord Coe,do the right thing and get off your hobby horse.

  • Comment number 19.

    One of the more interesting suggestions I read in the Times this week was that the Olympic Stadium 'should be given to West Ham' to 'make it a more attractive prospect for an overseas investment'.

    The implication of the story was that a £500m bung be paid to the West Ham owners to allow them to monetise that bung through a foreign sale.

    Presumably this was the sort of sloppy, mischief-making journalism we read more often than optimally and is not the sort of attention to management of public assets which successive governments have put such great store upon?!

  • Comment number 20.

    I've been to the Olympic Stadium to watch athletics when the stadium had 40,000 people in it, and even though I was in one of the higher rows, I must say there was a great atmosphere and having a running track there I feel would not have too much of an impact when watching football. Yes at some of the very highest rows there could be a problem for some people, but all in all I think it would make a great stadium for football matches, which lets be honest to get the moneys worth thats what it will be.
    And as i understand it, if it were to be used for football, it would have 20,000 seats removed, making it a 60,000 capacity stadium, still a significant amount

  • Comment number 21.

    West Ham aint going to fill it! Forget about legacies. All that stadium was built for was to have something to show off during the olympics. What it was going to be used for afterwards wasn't thought about at the time it was built. The Olympics will come and go and little will have/has changed in east London. the cameras during olympics will zoom in and out on the docklands, and the majority of east london will be hidden. All they want to do is show off to the rest of the world during a short two week period.

  • Comment number 22.

    No 16.
    You are spot on. I have seen the Dallas Cowboys stadium close up and frankly, a bit of common sense when it came to the stadium would have made it multi purpose. Yes, the costs would have been higher but that extra cost could have been covered by renting the stadium to a football club during the season and then in the close season, stage various events as direct competition to the O2 on price?

    A legacy should not turn into a burden.

  • Comment number 23.

    Let West Ham have the Olympic Stadium, in return the Os can move to Upton Pk a proper football stadium.
    Then Barry can finished his housing estate on what was Leyton Stadium

  • Comment number 24.

    One thing I never understand with this, is how Orient and Spurs can lose their bids for the stadium and then are able to 'appeal' whilst threatening legal action against the decision. Surely if West Ham got 100% of the vote why on earth are the other parties allowed to appeal against it.

    The whole situation with the Olympics is stupid, spending billions of pounds on a two week event, and then having no back up ideas of how the facilities can be used in the future. Everyone knows other the Olympic comittee, that athletics is popular for two weeks every four years. Don't get me wrong I am not saying the Olympics is bad but whilst spending a fortune on building all these new facilities, whilst being in a recession, and then have no idea how they can be used in the future just seems like madness.

  • Comment number 25.

    A good article but it does not really go far enough in its criticism of the OPLC and the politicians that have overseen this fiasco.  Sadly much of the debate gets clouded by the footballing aspect with West Ham verses Tottenham in the original tender, whereas we should be looking past shoe horning an unsatisfactory solution in the pursuit of 'legacy at all costs'. 

    Everyone needs to take a step back and consider some of the fundamental truths that football and athletics don't mix.  West Ham's interest is a commercial one only, which is fed from the dire financial position left by the last owners.  Countless feasibility studies before the first brick was laid said the same thing that football and athletics would not work.  West Ham's previous owners ruled themselves out on that basis.  The commerciality of the interest brings back an issue that will not go away until such time as the OPLC, Johnson and Robertson start to properly negotiate/include Barry Hearn.  The state aid position could not be clearer, unless West Ham are truly paying a commercial rate for their desired tenancy.  If they are charged a proper commercial fee for the use of a 60,000 seater stadium then they would not be in a position to offer the cheap tickets touted in the press by Brady an co. If the are not, then by implication, the would be receiving illegal state funding.

    Even with this in mind, what I find truly disgusting about this whole process is the farcical tender process which must surely be open to judicial review once more, when you effectively have a party that should have been excluded for failing the tender criteria having the new scope set to fit there flawed tender document.   In effect they have allowed west ham to write there own bid criteria.    A truly fair tender process would have allowed all interested parties to put forward a variety of proposals and not confirmed to a 60,000 seater multi use stadia which by happy coincidence is the exact same capacity sought by West Ham originally.  It must be said that Hearn probably played his hand too early with his latest compliant about governing body approval.  

    What is of real interest and hopefully the author can get to the bottom of is the apparent request from West Ham for retractable seating.  This was not part of their original 'successful' bid and would appear to show the real long term ambitions had they taking ownership at the bargin/giveaway price.         It is not uncommon in commercial lease agreements for the tenant to pay for improvements with the fast majority of office space fitted out by the tenant rather than the owner.

    What is frustrating is the binkered view of the self interested.  If West Ham want a 60,000 seater stadium, let them pay for it like everyone else.  The truth is they don't.  What they really want is the £30m that they will get from the proceeds of the sale of Upton Park.  If they spent £100m + on such a project it would have a track, anything like 60,000 seats or the prospect of cheap seats. 

    The determination to give the stadium to west ham will hopefully get the correct public pushback once the Olympics are over. But please please will West Ham's owners take notice of their own fans and the football league rules and stay where they belong at Upton Park

  • Comment number 26.

    11. At 16:21 18th May 2012, nomorechickenrun wrote:
    look at Barcelona olympic stadium - never used!

    Noy an ideal way to back up your argument. The Barcelona Olympic Stadium was used by Espanol - until they moved out because they didn't like playing in a stadium with an athletics track.
    The other key difference was that Barcelona chose to redevelop an existing stadium, rather than building a white elephant from scratch.

  • Comment number 27.

    How short-sighted and unimaginative are some of you people ?
    There are certain aspects of this whole fiasco that are blatantly obvious if you read slightly between the lines.
    Leyton Orient having the stadium is ridiculous they can't even half-fill there pathetic little 10k seater.
    Barry Hearns hot-air complaints are for the sole purpose of trying to get some sort of back-hander payment from either the government or whoever does take over the stadium. He has never had Orient's or Brisbane Road's best interests at heart - only the land it sits on and how much he can personally benefit from it.
    Daniel Levy & Tottenham Hotspur only used their application to move to Newham and the Olympic Stadium as a threat and a lever to get Harringay Council to ease up on restrictions and approve their own planning applications.
    West Ham are the only viable occupants that are going to bring anything to the table - Athletics is a poor sport from top to bottom, poorly funded, poorly attended, little watched on TV - like one report above, other than the Olympics every four years how much genuine support and interest does athletics really generate ?
    Without West Ham the stadium will definitely become a ' white elephant ' - there is quite simply no other option that can keep the whole Olympic park alive. With that in mind it matters not whether West Ham get a good or even fantastic deal from the government because without West Ham the government is going to have a huge drain on resources trying to even keep the great monolith breathing - let alone thriving. Look at their pathetic attempts to do anything with the O2
    ' Millenium Dome ' that venue was declared high and low as a waste of money and a monstrous white elephant. Look at it now, with imaginative and hard-working owners, it has turned into the premier indoor venue in the whole of Europe.
    I for one hope the government learn from their O2 experience.
    Let's also hope West Ham win the play-off 16-0 like they won the tenancy vote - at least it won't then be snatched back from them in some sort of dubious and confusing back-tracking manoeuvre by some 'suits in grey' who seem not to know whether they are coming or going !

  • Comment number 28.

    Wembley, Twickenham, Murrayfield and Cardiff Millennium stadiums all survive without a football club in tenancy and around just a dozen or so events a year. With the park setting and better transport options would expect the Olympic Stadium management company will take the annual British Athletics Grand Prix away from Crystal Palace and also poach a few concerts, festivals, rugby league, american football etc. events away from Wembley (leaving the latter to survive on 3-4 football internationals, a couple of cup finals and end of season play-offs per season) so whether or not a football club takes occupancy will after a few years have a similar level of utilisation to our other large national stadiums.

  • Comment number 29.

    Come 2018 you could always demolish it and built houses for the under priviledged.

  • Comment number 30.

    West Ham seem to have a disproportionate number of supporters within the media industry and for all the arguments being made it feels that these supporters are doing their best to give West Ham a hugely valuable fixed asset at a knock down price. Much as I hate dislike Hearn I have a feeling that his team is being steam rollered to satisfy a media interest and this can't be right.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm sorry Mr Bond but another article that appears to be based upon speculation rather fact. It is the case that NO ONE knows what was in West Ham's bid for the stadium. As for speculation that the Football League would turn down a request to move to the OS, well it's been in all the papers! Why hav'nt they said so?

    Mr Hearn's case is that West Ham would be moving into their 'Manor'. Upton Park 2miles from Brisbane Road the OS is a mile nearer, but still in West Ham' home borough of Newham. Mr Hearn also claims that Orient supporters would be seduced by the cheaper tickets that would be on offer. That is rather insulting to his clubs' supporters. Would the 4,000 hard core O's supporters really stop following their club because of a 'mile' and a cheaper ticket. It shows he knows nothing of why someone follows a club. Mr Hearn is also selective in what he opposes and supports in this debate. He famously went on record by writing to the Premier League in support of Spurs moving to the Olympic Stadium, especially so he said, they were going to knock it down and build a football only arena. It therefore seems Mr Hearn feels that the normally commercially savvy Spurs chairman would not use the 60,000 capacity to offer supporters cheaper tickets. There was also the brief episode when Mr Hearn wanted to enter into talks to develop the area in the Olympic Park around the Hockey area for a new ground for the O's, which would bring them even nearer to West Ham in the Olympic Stadium!

    That the Millenium Stadium, Twickenham and Wembley don't have a club as a tenant is a red herring. So is the option to reduce capacity to 25,000. Because of the success in the bid to host the World Athletic Championships we are locked into a 60,000 stadium until 2017 at least. All the other stadiums were built without the need for a club, because of the guarantee of a number of sell outs during the year. As it stands without a football club the Olympic Stadium would struggle to get a sell out in the August - May period and even in Summer only rarely. There are only so many concerts that can be staged and full houses for athletics will only come every couple of years at most.

    In the current sporting climate the only option to get large attendances is through football. Some may doubt that West Ham would struggle to get a full stadium every week. However, West Ham have sold over 40,000 tickets for the playoff final and believe they could have sold the 7,000 Blackpool have returned. The potential is certainly there.

    So LLDC, the only option is to award the winter lease to West Ham if you want to ensure the Olympic Stadium has year round usage and the Olympic Park develops into a vibrant area for everyone to enjoy - even our friends from the Orient.

  • Comment number 32.

    Lazio, Spartak, Hertha, Roma all play in an Olympic stadium complete with running track. Espanyol, Juventus and Bayern admittedly have moved on, but all used to. Wembley was an Olympic stadium. The track is not an issue and is a positive part of the legacy. West Ham are worthy of the stadium and vice-versa. Sydney's Olympic stadium is the lesser for having the track removed. Beijing's stadium is covered in dust - literally. To keep the option open for track and field you need a football club tenant. To have a viable football club tenant, they need a following. The answer is clear...

  • Comment number 33.

    Leyton Orient were offered the stadium in it's 25k form when the OPLC first realised that athletics wouldn't be enough but Barry Hearn rejected it as unsuitable for football, so not good enough for Os but good enough for us apparently.

    Hearn didn’t contest Spurs bid because they weren’t going to cut ticket prices, they don’t need to as they’ve got a waiting list for season tickets while we’ve failed to sell out our allocation two seasons in a row. He claims that a lot of his crowd is made up of people who want to watch football but don't want or can't afford to pay Premier prices, West Ham's proposals would cut into his "market".

    Spurs only got involved when the OPLC and Boris begged them to, they were embarrassed that there was only one bidder. They brought the legal action because they suspected that the decision was fixed from the start and they’d wasted money. The whole thing then fell apart when the architect that designed the OS complained to the EU.

    Part of the deal to get the Olympics was that there was an athletic venue after the games which is why the whole thing was designed with a temporary upper tier that would be removed after the games leaving a 25k stadium. There was never any intention for it to be anything else which is why there was no retractable seating and no space for it to be installed later.

    The only major alteration for football will likely be strengthening the upper tier, extending the roof to cover all the seats and installing undersoil heating; what you see is what you get.

    20k seats will not be removed, they will simply be left empty behind the big screen for “football mode”, it will be able to hold 73k for cricket and over 100k as a concert venue.

    If we move into the OS then we will always be second choice to athletics, if they need the stadium in August our fixtures will have to be rearranged.

    Let Seb Coe keep his useless stadium, when we need a bigger stadium we can build one that is fit for football and for the fans.

  • Comment number 34.

    It just shows the shear idiocy and lunacy of the people running this. The running track a bit of asphalt is seen as the whole legacy of the games. What these plonks are basically saying is that the legacy they sold to olympic committee is for a lasting running track in a giant stadium that will hardly ever be used?? Forget about the urban&,social redevelopment, or the impact on youth, the attraction for the world to visit one of the best cities with one of best and welcoming infrastructures in the world. Oh no if the stadium ends up unused empty and costing the taxpayer millions in subsidies that is absolutely fine because the running track is there!!

    They had the perfect offer on the table but chose to ignore it because this was a done deal with a club who had drawn up a business plan on the back of a hankie.

    Although spurs fans didn't really want to move there they have the fan base to fill it, the cash to redevelop it into a world class football stadium, and what's more were going to redevelop crystal palace the real home of u.k athletics so everyone wins.


    Suits us spurs fans as we get to stay at the lane and build our own stadium but my god it goes to prove how incomopetent the people are who work in these positions (local councillers, politicians, ex-athletes.?) wo knows but idealists who don't have a clue about the real world!

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 27....

    How short sighted and unimaginative your post is, which is pretty typical of the tribalistic supporter the debate has attracted. You are critical about Orients position and Spurs but the short sightedness is the football-athletic dianamic. Orient don't want to be put out of business by an unfair advantage given to West Ham which is effectively state subsidy of low ticket prices. The thought that Orient will not suffer us the truly short sighted position. Hearn is not saying that 3000 die hard supporters are going to suddenly defect to West Ham but the medium term effect of lower prices around the corner will kill the club. New and floating supporters won't go to Brisbane Road and pay a 50% premium for a lower standard product. Many will say that Orient just need to drop there prices but that simply doesn't work unless every club at their level does the same as they will not be able to afford the players requisite to stay at that level. Hearn has clearly sometimes failed to articulate properly the real issue but this has been through some very selective media coverage and no editors want to really take up the O's cause for fear their Olympic coverage being restrained. What some Hammers need to do is truly put yourself in the position of Orient and ask yourself how you would feel about Arsenal or Chelsea being given tenancy of Wembley for next to no rent. Taking out the true local supporters, the vast majority of fans for West Ham, Spurs and the O's come from the same catchment area.

    Please can you show some of the imagination that you called on others to use. The I's and Hearn can't have any argument if West Ham will be paying a truly commercial price fir the tenancy but we all know that they won't as there is no club on the planet that builds a bigger ground to drop prices, it comes down to the basic ecomonics if supply and demand and there is no demand for 60,000 seats at full price

  • Comment number 36.

    I think with all this argument about legacies etc. a simple point is totally forgotten. is the Olympic Stadium in Leyton.

    NO its has been built in the county borough of WEST HAM

  • Comment number 37.

    I think a lot of you on here are missing the point regarding Leyton Orient complaining about West Ham moving 700 yards as the crow flies from Brisbane Road.
    The four thousand or so faithfull O's fans will of course continue to go to Brisbane Road,but what of the future fans.
    Karen Brady has already gone on record by saying that West Ham will offer heavily discounted tickets to young fans,in an effort to get somewhere near the sixty thousand they require to fill the stadium......That is the hub,and that is why Barry Hearn,who has supported The O's since he was a lad, is desperately trying to get West Ham out of The Olympic Stadium.
    Of course The Government and good old Boris are trying their best to get West Ham in, as they are the only viable solution to their badly planned stadium irrespective of the fact West Ham have not followed the rules,not only of the bid process but of The Foolball League.
    I fear for the future of Leyton Orient if West Ham win their bid.....but who cares? seems to be the response.
    Come on Blackpool!!!!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    Anyone who has ever been to the Rome derby will understand that it works! It's an absolutely fantastic atmosphere (despite the running track)!! There are not many better on the world stage! .. Rome has 1 derby and Serie A doesnt have the regular attendances that the Premier League has. West Ham would have all the London derbies, the Manchester matches, Liverpool, Newcastle and hopefully eventually European matches. ... In terms of putting people on seats, it WILL happen. .. The only question would be how much of an atmosphere would the West Ham fans create?? I suggest that it be amazing!! Goose-bump time!! Second to none in the Premier league!! COYI !!!

  • Comment number 39.

    Clapham Orient can go back to Clapham! They'd get better crowds down there anyway.

  • Comment number 40.

    What I find very frustrating is that it is so obvious that lord Coe does not like football.Everyone knows that West Ham are the only choice unless you want the stadium to fall into disrepair.If I was Sullivan and Gold I would go along with the proccess right up until the final moment and then call their bluff by saying that West Ham will only go there if we you get rid of the track so take it or leave it.
    I get the feeling that they will do that anyway.I know that West Ham fans would only want to go on that basis.The stadium with the track and no atmosphere would actually be a disadvantage rather than a help.

  • Comment number 41.

    J Dowling: you need to go a bit beyond the very simple "we got 100% of the vote therefore Spurs shouldnt be allowed to appeal". the reason Spurs bid was because Boris begged us to, and on the key issue of the track, we didnt need to keep it. he assured us of that.

    why on earth would Levy bid otherwise? this is one of the hardest ball negotiators in the PL, who faced down Modric and CFC, and got 30m plus for Berba from MUFC. he is a businessman who does not bid when we dont have the best chance of winning.

    When MArgaret Ford and the OPLC then turn round and say 16-0 because where is the track? OOPS!!! LEvy was going to have OPLC, Boris, and MF for breakfast, end of.

    and desdog: I think LEvy has thought of the scenario of WHUFC taking the OS and then saying "sorry, it doesnt work, we need to get rid of the track..." for starters, 2017 is the World Athletics and nothing could happen before then. by which time there will be tumbleweed blowing round the place with 2 men and a dog with their binoculars.

    and after 2017 - you can bet that businessman Levy will have a 100m guarantee from the Govt that the track stays there in perpetuity, otherwise we would have carried on bidding and won it.

    and be under no illusion: Levy bid for that not to force Boris's hands on N17 and the stadium there. he bid because he wanted it under the terms that Boris guaranteed. and he would have got it, which is why the bids were mysteriously collapsed, to save the day, people's reputations, under the pretence of "paralising legal challenges". nothing paralising there at all - all they had to do was reevaluate the 2 bids and award it to Spurs.

    finally, Coe does like football. he is a keen CFC fan.

  • Comment number 42.

    Upton Park's 'white hot' atmosphere is a bit of a myth. Not since John Lyall's time have we had the old Boleyn 'hairs on the back of the neck' feeling. When did it ever help the results? Just look at the home form this season. Stratford is a must!

  • Comment number 43.

    If you look back at the comments made at the time of the bid, particularly Ken Livingstone, the stadium was deliberately designed not to be football friendly. It was designed to be a show piece for the new level of interest in athletics that hosting the Olympics would generate. To preserve this 'legacy' multipurpose facilities such as retractable seating were consciously designed out of the plan to ensure there could be no other use than the athletics legacy.

    Unfortunately the athletics legacy has failed miserably - participation has actually gone down - no athletics user can find a viable use for the stadium it is just too big and expensive. Now football is welcome back into the fray but only if those that promised a legacy to the IOC can save at least some face.

    This is the real failure here, the whole Olympics was a huge gamble on creating a massive new interest in these sports and it has completely and utterly failed at a total cost to us of £12BN. This is the farce and issue we should focus on, the stadium debate is just one symptom of a monumental financial and cultural disaster.

    I do think the time has come to sit back and enjoy it though, the success of this Olympics will be determined by the quality of the performances on track and field and I genuinely hope that it is a huge triumph of an event for all its fans around the world - afterwards though we need to bring those responsible for the off field debacle to account.

  • Comment number 44.

    The lack of logic when it comes to tag partisan support of your own team never fails to suprise me. Our manor, as though that gives natural ownership or rights of a £600m state funded assets. As I said on my earlier posts it would be difficult for anyone to argue for allowing West Ham to take the tennancy if the paid the proper commercial price. If they want it they should be made to pay for whatever tenants improvements they want (screens, retractable seating, hospitality facilities, branding, office space) and then also charged an appropriate rental for using the facility, which takes into account the £600m cost of the venue. Even with no return on investment, this would break down to £6m a year. Or close to £300k a game. You have to sell a lot of extra £10 tickets to put yourself in a nett equal position. To avoid the state aid issue you have to go back to whether the commercial cost of the stadium is covered off by the rental or sale cost.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm not suggesting that £6m is a commercial acceptable rent by the way. A private company would not outlay all that capital expenditure without a serious return on the investment

  • Comment number 46.

    Back in 2005 west ham offered to buy the stadium if it was designed with them in mind, similar to the commonwealth games and Mancheter City. Its dragged out to long, all because Seb Coe wants the stadium to remain purly athletics, which is far from viable.

  • Comment number 47.

    Look we had to build an olympic stadium this big to host the olympics. Who cares who gets the stadium after? The highest bidder will win whether this is West ham or some local housing association, after the olympics its dead wood anyway. somebody just wants to make cash out of it afterwards. just demolish the whole oympic site after the games, tuen it back to the roughest part of london, and then laugh at all of you that had to pay extra taxes for this farce to happen. just demolish it all turn it into barren countryside for the countrys druggies and homeless to use. It will not be missed by anyone for 3 weeks of men and women running, and throwing stuff around a field. makes me laugh.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    dying to see what willard said. throwing toys out of pram?


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