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West Ham out to buck stadium trend

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Gordon Farquhar | 14:10 UK time, Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The Olympic Park Legacy Company should soon have all the information it needs to make a decision over whether Tottenham or West Ham should be allowed to use the Olympic Stadium after the Games.

The debate was getting close to fever pitch a couple of weeks ago and although the heat has subsided a little, the fundamental question remains over the legacy for athletics.

What divides the Premier League clubs is the removal of the track.

Tottenham remain adamant that track and field and football don't mix. Their conviction seems rooted in current trends around Europe. In Italy, Germany and Spain, clubs have abandoned their multi-use stadiums and opted for venues dedicated to football.

Juventus bought the Stadio delle Alpi from the Turin City authorities and despite it having stood for less than 20 years, have torn it down. It's being replaced by a trackless 40,000-seater venue, with capacity for expansion.

Chief among the complaints at the Delle Alpi was the distance fans had to sit from the pitch. Where supporters at the apex of the old curves were at least 50 metres from the action, now they'll be less than 10 metres.

West Ham's vision of how the Olympic Stadium will look if they get the go-ahead to move in

West Ham's vision of how the Olympic Stadium will look if they get the go-ahead to move in

Bizarrely, although the Delle Alpi was conceived as a multi-sport venue it hardly ever staged athletics events because of the absence of a warm-up track. It seems to define the term white elephant by modern stadium standards.

While some, like the old Wembley just became unfit for purpose over time, others like the Delle Alpi just weren't properly thought through. This, say Spurs is why, once the emotion has been detached, they believe their solution is the most credible. They point to the Bundesliga, where the move away from multi-sport to football dedicated venues has been in construction terms, a virtual stampede.

Hamburg's Volkspark Stadium, Dusseldorf's Rheinstadion, Hanover's old HQ the Niedersachsen and Frankfurt's Waldstadion are among those which have been abandoned, or heavily reconfigured.

Schalke left the Parkstadion and its running track behind in 2001, with no regrets according to club official Thomas Spiegel. He told me the running track detracted from the atmosphere.

"Definitely. The view - especially from the stands behind the goals - was poor and put people off going to games. Of course it played a part as well that there was only a roof above the main stand. Therefore all the chanting didn't create that much noise as it could.... fans always wished for an 'English stadium' with supporters being very close to the pitch and the players. The average attendances of the last 10 years underline the fact."

The Parkstadion held 70,000 but the average gate was only 40,000. Now Schalke regularly sell out their 61,600 seats.

Bayern Munich, of course, left the Olympic stadium in 2005. Their desire to make changes there were blocked by an agreement with the stadium's architect that prevented alterations to his distinctive 1972 Olympic showpiece without his or his estate's stay so.

It should be pointed out the track didn't impede Bayern's golden period of the 1970s and 80s with three consecutive European Cups and domination of the domestic league.

In Barcelona, Espanyol vacated the Olympic Stadium at Montjuic Park in 2009 after 12 years there. They too, according to spokesperson Serafin Bailey, are relieved to be at a place of their own, built only for football.

"Absolutely, it never created the atmosphere or ambience we currently have at the new RCD Stadium; it was a cold environment and not an attractive proposition for our supporters."

Espanyol have put at least 10,000 on the gate by moving.

In England, fans of Brighton and Rotherham have the distinction of being the only ones who currently watch their teams play at home across a running track.

Rotherham fans we spoke to are ticking off the days until they can leave the Don Valley Stadium and take up residence at their new purpose built - and trackless - venue back in their home town.

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West Ham will argue that none of this of course really proves anything. Three of the last four World Cup finals have been played at stadiums with running tracks. Uefa will hold the final of the European championships in 2012 at Kiev's Olimpiysky National Sports Complex... with a running track.

If it's good enough for Fifa and Uefa, say West Ham, that's fine by us. They make comparisons with Wembley, pointing out no-one says there's a lack of atmosphere there, and that their furthest seats will be closer to the action than those at FA HQ.

They, like Spurs, believe there's an untapped market, with fans wanting a slice of Premier League action, but who can't partake because of the cost of tickets and lack of availability. Through cross-subsidy, West Ham say they'll be able to make more seats available at lower prices, and promise the fan experience will be very positive, and the tight roof will ensure the sound remains vibrant.

Far from being deterred, West Ham are prepared to embrace the track, because they say, they understand the importance of the Olympic Legacy.

It remains true however, that West Ham would be apparently bucking the trend, and taking on the received wisdom that football and athletics are uncomfortable bedfellows, and which in the long term leaves fans unhappy, voting with their feet.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Actually everybody complains about a lack of atmosphere at Wembley, although part of that is because half the ground is filled with corporate tickets!

    Frankly I think that neither side should get use of it, why should Premier League teams which rake in money (then spend it all on over-inflated player wages) get a cut-price stadium heavily subsidised by tax payers from all over the country.

  • Comment number 2.

    Good blog. I went to see England v Ecuador at Stuttgart in 2006. It was terrible. You don't realise until you're in the stadium how far away the pitch really is. The above pic illustrates the issue very well and the fact that this multi-sport format is being abandoned Europe-wide speaks volumes. Having the 3 of the last 4 World Cup finals in these stadiums - most of which were dire - is the final nail in the coffin!

    It seems that the more time goes on the more in favour the Spurs bid becomes. By delaying their decision the committee have given the public time to see the full craziness of West Ham's bid. Of course, this isn't West Ham's fault - they're just trying to comply with the guidelines given to them, which were based on ridiculous promises made by Seb Coe & Co back in 2005.

    The key issue is that Spurs plan is clearly more sustainable for football, Stratford and athletics than that of West Ham. That said, if Spurs were to win the rights to the stadium then West Ham could be majorly miffed at being given false guidelines. I'm sure West Ham would love to rip out the running track if they could so we are in a situation where we'll either see Spurs win the bid unfairly (with the goal posts being moved at the 11th hour) or West Ham's big massive white elephant plan going through. Either way Seb Coe & Co will be in the firing line and deservedly so.

  • Comment number 3.

    At Richyburger:

    To answer your question, "why should Premier League teams which rake in money (then spend it all on over-inflated player wages) get a cut-price stadium heavily subsidised by tax payers from all over the country";

    It is because nobody else wants a stadium that is fit for, erm, nothing! Athletics can't sustain a stadium that large (and the planned, reduced-size use for athletics is embarrassing), so what alternative do you suggest?

  • Comment number 4.

    Why can't they just put in retractable seating like the Stade Francais?
    For football and Rugby the lowest of the three teirs are retractable, you're not as close as you would be without the track all together but it's a lot closer than nothing.
    We're building all sorts of strange stuff these days, can't see that would be too diffiult.

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=353570

  • Comment number 5.

    Spurs entire arguement seems to revolve around the fact that West Ham supporters will not enjoy the experience of being so far from the pitch and that there will be a lack of atmosphere...Surely that's West Ham's lookout so stop bleating on about clubs across Europe who are moving out of stadiums with the track, just declare that Stratford Hotspur don't want a running track and stop pretending you care about football supporters in general.

  • Comment number 6.

    That picture is from the plans of the original design, i.e the picture we used to con the IOC into giving us the games in the first place and not the giant meccano set we've got now.

    Could you not find a more recent/accurate one?

  • Comment number 7.

    "Through cross-subsidy, West Ham say they'll be able to make more seats available at lower prices"

    And thus predating on Leyton Orient just down the road. What protection will West Ham put in place to ensure Leyton Orient aren't adversely affected by a move to their "immediate vicinity", as per the rules of whatever League they find themselves in?

  • Comment number 8.

    @3 nikolaybollukov :

    "It is because nobody else wants a stadium that is fit for, erm, nothing! Athletics can't sustain a stadium that large (and the planned, reduced-size use for athletics is embarrassing), so what alternative do you suggest?"

    A salient point and one that has almost been totally ignored by the media and sports 'personalities'. ANYONE could have made a bid to take over the Olympic Stadium legacy, but there were only two takers - and both happen to be football clubs. Are they supposed to apologise for being interested? What if neither Spurs nor West Ham were interested in using the stadium, just where would that leave the "Legacy' committe? With the whitest of white elephants. Where is the queue of Athletics Clubs clamouring to take over the O.S. post 2012?

    Personally, I think Spurs plan is the best for the long term, once you take the emotional 'legacy' baggage out of the equation - they get a new stadium, meaning the site will have all year round use, and London will get a vastly improved Athletics stadium at an existing location.

    It is one of the follies of the modern Olympic games that it almost by definition involves the host country building a lot of expensive brand new venues which have limited use once the Games are over. For me it has become to big and too bloated for one city to hold anymore.

  • Comment number 9.

    While World Cup and FA Cup finals might have been matches that were played with large distances between the pitch and some supporters, these are pretty much one off events. If your team gets to a World Cup or FA Cup final, your going to enjoy going just due to the magnitude of the event - it will be a bit different when it's every week.

    Also worth pointing out on those finals too that there pretty much held at neutral grounds with an equal number of fans from each side and a massive number of neutrals on commercial 'fans'. While the argument against running tracks is that it doesn't feel like a home stadium

  • Comment number 10.

    Rubbernutz is correct, but I would also add that our "temporary meccano set olympic stadium" is still costing £500m. How on earth it's costing that much considering it's such a basic design with no internal buildings is beyond me.

    The Emirates Stadium in comparison cost £390m, is a far more spectacular design, with masses more internal structures, suites, concourses, offices etc etc, as well as impressive landscaping around it.

  • Comment number 11.

    A. Why do the public never get a say on these matters. I and I'm sure many others never wanted the Olympic's here in first place. Considering the amount of public money spent on the games, surely we should be consulted. In addition, how popular is athletics in this country anyway? 80,000 capacity for one singular event? Surely redeveloping Crystal Palace National Sports Centre would have been far cheaper and made far more sense.

    B. Tottenham are a North London club, therefore they should stay in North London. In addition I cannot understand the point in spending £537m (figures according to wikipedia)to build the stadium to then knock it down for them to rebuild another stadium. Wouldn't it be better to redevelop WHL instead of increasing the carbon footprint by demolishing a perfectly decent stadium?

    C.West Ham's current stadium is just over 35,000 and I find it highly ambitious that a team which has been languishing in the bottom 3 all season somehow expect to find an additional 25,000 seat fillers in their proposed new stadium. If they get relegated (and that is a massive if after their win last night) what happens then? Biggest stadium in the Championship is Elland Road at 39,000 and they're averaging 29,737 a game this season, so what hope do West Ham have IF they get relegated.

    D. Surely a contingency plan should have been given before the go ahead to build it; as in what will we actually do with the stadium once the Olympics are over. Had this been considered then maybe they would have realised how bad an idea it was in the first place!

    Personally we should have ploughed all the Olympic money in lining the coffers of those in charge of the World Cup bid (Joke). Infrastructure is already in place for the World Cup and I'm sure it would have benefited the economy in many additional areas not just London!

  • Comment number 12.

    I see no purpose in talking down the West Ham bid, the UK has to "deliver" the athletics "legacy" it was the deciding part of the bid.

    Another point being what an utter waste of money and building materials to just destroy a brand new stadium. If it's not what Spurs want then the club should redevelop their own ground or buy land somewhere else, not destroy a perfectly good structure that cost a fortune to build.

    As regards football on the continent and Germany in particular, I think the author will find that Herta Berlin uses the "old" but renovated Berlin Olympic stadium.
    You don't hear that club complaining.
    The other clubs he mentions are commercial ventures that have redeveloped their own land/old stadium or moved to another site, like Bayern Munich, Schalke or indeed HSV.

  • Comment number 13.

    If spurs move in and get rid of the Olympic track it would be awful. Selling out the supposed Olympic legacy of 2012 to further line the pockets of PL clubs would be scandalous. As it isn't financially viable to keep it as solely athletics after the games, a ground share with football and athletics has to be the only way forward.

    There are sports other than football that need to be taken into consideration.

    http://www.inofftheghost.com

  • Comment number 14.

    Is there not enough room at the Olympic Park for West Ham in a 50,000 seater, football only stadium with a seperate athletics venue (say 20,000 - 25,000 seater)? We could use one of the smaller venues at the park, again I'm not sure what is there! Isn't the basketball/softball stadium temporary?

    That way, athletics gets the Olympic Park legacy and all the infrastructure; OPLC/we (the taxpayer) have a paying tenant, who doesn't have to compromise, also by limiting West Ham to 50,000 there would be fewer free/cheap Premier league tickets, which hopefully means that Leyton Orient aren't put out of business

  • Comment number 15.

    Totally agree with #3 ghost_of_cygan - n Stuff. Stade de France is a great stadium with a great atmosphere. I couldn't believe that the Olympic stadium designers didn't go for this if legacy was their big selling point during the bid. They could have built an 80-90 thousand seat stadium for the Olympics and reduced it to 50-60K for a football team and still be left with a 40k stadium for athletics (once the lower tiers are retracted) which would be big enough for future world/European championships. Bet they wish they'd done it now with all these arguments going on about legacy!

  • Comment number 16.

    Spurs entire arguement seems to revolve around the fact that West Ham supporters will not enjoy the experience of being so far from the pitch and that there will be a lack of atmosphere...

    ******************************************************

    That about sums it up.
    The thing is Wembley was the same and it had a great atmosphere. It also had a great pitch, because it wasn't virtually "indoors".

    These "fantastic" new stadia aren't half what they are cracked up to be, the one exception I'd make is the new "Volksparkstadion" in Hamburg, that is an "ugly" concrete monster, but it has one hell of an atmosphere.

  • Comment number 17.

    The best option would have been and would be to build (or rebuild) the stadium with retractable seating... That was you could have fans close up for football and a lower capacity, but still decent stadium for athletics.

  • Comment number 18.

    I support the Olympics but the stadium design has been a botched job. It should have been designed as a football stadium from the outset, only football could fill a 60,000 seat stadium. A smaller dedicated athletics stadium could have built somewhere else in the Olympic park.

  • Comment number 19.

    To Frankie Ikenye #11

    A - I'm pretty sure, at the time, any sort of vote would have resulted in a resounding "Yes - we do want the Olympics here!" Spurs' plan does exactly what you suggest - renovates Crystal Palace and fills the OS.

    B - sort of agree with this point (about Spurs' location) but the plans to redevelop WHL are incredibly expensive. Personally I prefer that idea - am excited about the plans for that ground...

    C - good point. I wonder if the decision can/will be delayed long enough to see if they are relegated. Not that it should make a difference for such a long-term decision, but you never know...

    D - You see that wagging tail in the distance? That's the horse that bolted six years ago...

    Spurs' plans are by far the best, but, as a Spurs fan, I would still prefer them to build the new stadium at WHL - those plans are awesome!

  • Comment number 20.

    the 2 best atmospheres i have experienced in football have been in the stadio olimpico in rome and the olympia stadion in berlin... go figure

  • Comment number 21.

    Fully agree with #4 ghost_of_cygan - n Stuff's point regarding 'retractable seating'. It might be irrelevant now the stadium's actually been built - but just goes to show the ineptitude and lack of forethought from the stadium designers and LOCOG in the beginning. We always knew it would end up in footballs' hands..it always does!

    Another mute point maybe, but wouldn't it have been great to 'rent' the stadium out every single club and city around the UK in rotation so that each week one club - no matter the size - effectively owns the Olympic Stadium? For example non-league Slough Town (currently without a home ground) has a special week where the town owns the ground...each week would be like a Wembley final where whole towns migrate to London for a special day - certainly would boost tourism and small clubs coffers.

  • Comment number 22.

    The silence over the threat to Leyton Orient is deafening. Allowing either Premier League club to move to the Olympic stadium would break the Premier League's own rules. Francising is bad enough but allowing these big clubs to move right next door to an existing football league club is shocking. Why does nobody care?

  • Comment number 23.

    @Letsbe_avenue - you say the UK 'has to' deliver the athletics legacy it promised. It doesn't. It has a choice of:

    a.) upsetting the IOC and jeopardising future Olympic / Athletics championship bids by going for what most regard as the most sustainable long-term option for athletics, Stratford and football (which is the only industry even interested in this waste of money)

    b.) having a white elephant that's an illustration of how public money can be wasted for a bit of national pride - but fortunately we will be in the IOC's good books and might get to host future events and build more white elephants in 40 years time. Unfortunately, it's existence will forever remind the British public of what a bad idea 2012 was and it'll be at least 20 years before we even think about bidding for another event using public money (oh yeah - there isn't any anyway).

    If Spurs win, the IOC will be somewhat miffed that we've gone back on our original, unrealistic promise. We won't get an athletics event for quite some time - actually we won't whatever happens given how these things rotate.

    If West Ham win, they'll either pull out before it actually happens (their owners are hardly known for their sensible, prudent approach). If they do go through with it, the likelihood is it'll be a failure.... but fortunately the IOC will at least be content that we delivered our promise. Phew.

    The reality is we are in bad financial times. Does anyone care about our rep with the IOC more than creating jobs? The only thing that really matters here is the economic ramifications. Beggars cannot be choosers and Spurs bid is clearly better for our economy than West Ham's.

  • Comment number 24.

    as a west ham fan i am certainly torn on thus. if we could avoid it i would love us to stay at upton park (from a fan's perspective the distance from the pitch at the olympic stadium will also be a huge factor)

    that said, the proposals by tottenham is simply a travesty, for an olympic stadium to be knocked down after the games it's been built for is truly awful. and frankly i'm embarrassed and angry at britain's olympic committee and government for letting this happen. and i'm still not convinced the positives of our hosting the olympics outweigh the negatives. if west ham united were the best way of keeping the olympic legacy i think we should try and be a part of it. but i do worry about attendances and our own legacy at a truly unique ground of our own.

    i just don't know where to stand

  • Comment number 25.

    11. At 11:47am on 03 Feb 2011, Frankie Ikenye wrote:

    ...D. Surely a contingency plan should have been given before the go ahead to build it; as in what will we actually do with the stadium once the Olympics are over. Had this been considered then maybe they would have realised how bad an idea it was in the first place!

    __________________________________________________________

    You would have thought so, wouldn't you? After all, I would have thought it blindingly obvious that the only future for a stadium this size would have been football, so why wasn't it designed for such a transition in the first place, ie removable seating (as per Stade De Paris)?!


  • Comment number 26.

    I think that there are number of points to make here:
    1 - The right way to go would undoubtedly have been retractable seating. This, according to reports in the Telegraph this week, was suggested by West Ham in 2006 and they offered to contribute to the cost of the stadium. This was turned down by those in charge of the legacy at the time who didn't want a football club in the stadium (despite it being the only realistic way the stadium could pay for itself).

    2 - The West Ham bid fulfils the legacy commitment ansd enables Britain to host World / European Athletics championships in the future. The Spurs bid wouldn't do that.

    3 - There are whole host of reasons why it's wrong for Spurs to move. The majority of their fans are against it, whereas the public and West Ham fans are for the move. Online polls on supporter websites suggest 39-58% of West Ham fans for the move and 29% against.

    4 - Much is made of the view West Ham supporters will get of the football. Unless you support West Ham, I don't think this is something that you can comment on. The only stadium wiuth a track that I've been to was old Wembley. For me, the atmosphere was dependent on who was playing and how full the stadium was.

    5 - West Ham seem to want to adopt the German model of pricing - seems fair enough to me.

    6 - Long term, and as West Ham supporter, I would hope for a solution to the seating problem. For example, dig down (as at Manchester) and put retractable seating in then. For a truly multisport venue, this should have been in the original design and we would then have a stadium that an Olympics merits.

  • Comment number 27.

    #3 ghost_of_cygan, #15 TheNobleOne

    With the Stade de France, is it actually retractable i.e. by flicking a switch and done by machine, or does it just involve rigging/deriggin temporary stands?

    If its the latter, this would be very expensive, and nto exactly the safest option.

    The O.S on the whole is a disaster, as is the rest of the olympics. it hasnt even started yet. It ashames me to say it, but the people in charge really do appear to be stupid, for no foresight whatsoever.

  • Comment number 28.

    If Spurs win, the IOC will be somewhat miffed that we've gone back on our original, unrealistic promise. We won't get an athletics event for quite some time - actually we won't whatever happens given how these things rotate.The reality is we are in bad financial times. Does anyone care about our rep with the IOC more than creating jobs?
    ********************************************************

    You cannot be serious...
    What about international meets and other "games" that the country has and will continue to want to host?
    This broken promise would damage the UK's reputation forever.

    Just because money's tight, it doesn't justify chucking money down the drain that's already been spent; that's just unforgivably shortsighted. Unless Spurs want to pay the tax payer back the cost of constructing the stadium in the first place?

    The Spurs plan is just wanton waste and its morally reprehensible.

  • Comment number 29.

    It's really interesting (and sort of proves the point Gordon makes early in the piece "The debate was getting close to fever pitch a couple of weeks ago and although the heat has subsided a little"), but the tide of opinion is slowly starting to sway towards Spurs.

    There was so much vitriol aimed at Tottenham and Daniel Levy but he's right - as David Bushell explains (#23), take a step back and strip the emotion out of it, including "upsetting" someone at the IOC (who cares?!), and Tottenham's proposal pretty much suits everybody.

    The losers are clearly Crystal Palace (and obviously West Ham), but Tottenham's solution provides two excellent (and more importantly, sustainable) stadiums in London. West Ham's solution leaves us with two that aren't really fit for purpose, but are kind of OK-ish... But at least London's reputation around the world of sport is protected.

    There's only one logical choice. Sorry Seb...

  • Comment number 30.

    #27 BCvilla - - Got Bent

    The seats are retractable and fit quite nicely underneath the next tier. I went on the stadium tour a few years back just a few days before England vs France in the 6 nations and the place was amazing!

  • Comment number 31.

    A number of people have posted about West Ham being relegated. It's worth pointing out that historically, West Ham have spent 8 of the last 50 years out of the bottom flight. Chelsea have spent 9. OK, I know Chelsea aren't likely to add to that anytime soon but the point is that over 80% of the time West Ham are a Premier League team.

  • Comment number 32.

    Being a Brighton fan I can tell you now, Athletics stadiums and football don’t mix. The atmosphere at Withdean is dreadful and has got slowly worse over the last 10 years. Is it any coincidence that up until this season our away form was better than our home?! I think not. Lucky for us we FINALLY have Falmer just round the corner. I would say to West Ham don’t do it, the fans will hate it.

  • Comment number 33.

    if spurs or west ham want the stadium then they should pay for it, about 500 million will do. They will get it for free increase the weekly ticket price for their supporters, sell their old grounds for development (raking in a few pounds) and then they will be begging for tax relief as the up keep of the new ground is so expensive poor little lambs.

    If it does stay as an athletic track then GB athletics can pay for it, they get enough money, again refunding londoners.

  • Comment number 34.

    In all of this debate I haven't heard comment on the Man City conversion of the City of Manchester Commonwealth Stadium. However they changed things there, it seems to have been successfull. So even if West Ham (or someone) do end up wanting the stadium but not the track, surely it can be modified instead of torn down?

  • Comment number 35.

    The picture in this article is the original design it's not how the stadium will look like when it's finished.

  • Comment number 36.

    I am a Steward at BHAFC and agree with number 32. The ground has no atmosphere, views of the pitch arent great from the two end stands and it doesnt help with the cold either, with the wind whipping around the stadium.

    On the other hand, i am also a regular at the Emirates and while it is a different scale to Falmer, the two stadiums look similar in layout. I attend Sussex Uni and often go by on the bus. The inside of the stadium has been purpose built for football, with the seating the perfect distance from the pitch.

    it seems to me that Brighton are moving into an astounding new stadium with potential for expansion in the future...whilst West Ham would be taking a step back. Bigger bills with potentially smaller gates. Why would those who are 'when the goings good' fans possibly go to West Ham if they can barely see, when they um and ah about going now? I went to West Ham v West Brom and it was 5000 off capacity anyway!

    Having said that, I hope spurs dont get it. The olympic legacy needs to live on, and as an Arsenal fan, i would enjoy a set back or two for them!

  • Comment number 37.

    This Olympic Legacy is a load of rubbish. And both bids deliver that anyway albeit in totally different ways. Spurs will redevelop Crystal Palace and make that even with 25,000 seats far to big for athletics needs. WHam will do some development on the OS but when athletics events take place will see it at most a quarter full therefore no atmosphere and it will only take 2 or 3 events before athletes and organisers want a better venue. Alternatively lets not let either club use it and just let it rot................. so totally wasting the £500 mill to build.

  • Comment number 38.

    How come no-one is querying why this decision is being made now?

    The plan for not having football there at all involves stripping back the super-structure until the stadium is almost unrecognisable and the other plans each have controversial elements - how did we reach the stage where SIX YEARS after the award of the games the legacy issues have still to be sorted out?

    I thought "legacy" was a key part in the initial award?!

    As an aside - Stamford Bridge had a running track/grey cinder ring around it not that long ago (within the last 20 years). The away fans end was open and the atmosphere outside of the Shed was very poor...I am not a Chelsea fan but the last time I was there the atmosphere was vastly improved from how it used to be.

  • Comment number 39.

    I think Spurs are having trouble with the re-development of WHL due to transport links and/or the associated costs of improving them - considering they'd be looking for 60,000 people attending it would have to be looked at... so that's why a complete move seems financially viable. Just not for Spurs fans who'd like to see them stay in North London! From a business perspective Spurs bid makes sense; but from a legacy and emotional perspective the West Ham bid does..

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 27/30 re: the demountable stands at Stade de France - moving the lower tier isn't just like flicking a switch - it takes 5 days and costs E10,000 (and by the way - it was the original plan for Stade that a football team - Paris St Germain - would move in, but they weren't interested!)

  • Comment number 41.

    I have heard some rubbish over the last 2 weeks on the radio and on the television about the Olympic stadium situation. It seems to be that Spurs have been portrayed as the bad guys, and some of the reporting has been disgraceful. I just wanted to highlight a few claims that have been made and put the record straight.


    1) Karen Brady has stated yesterday that West Ham have 17,000 on the season ticket waiting list. - This simply isn’t true.
    2) The Olympic stadium is an “Iconic” structure. - No its not. It’s a cheap temporary structure that has not toilets or corporate facilities in the whole of the upper tier. (The toilets and catering are all outside the stadium, not in the actual stadium structure) and was always designed to be temporary.
    3) It’s a disgrace that Spurs plan to demolish a £500m stadium. - Again incorrect Spurs plan to use all the infrastructure and footings of the existing site and demolish the “temporary” structure, which cost just £80m. Spurs then plan to build a much superior stadium with all the facilities needed in its place.
    4) West Ham must have the stadium, as they are the local club. - No they are not Leyton Orient are.
    5) West Ham needs the stadium to for fill their potential. - No they don’t the Boleyn Ground is fine for West Ham. 34k is plenty. West Ham are a good local community club. But they don’t and never had the fan base of Spurs or Arsenal.
    6) The Olympic legacy must be kept - It will be kept at the site with the gymnastic centre, swimming pool, Cycling veladrome, etc etc. As far as I am aware the Olympics is not all about Athletics? Besides Spurs plans to revamp Crystal Palace (The home of British Athletics) is more than adequate.
    7) What a waste of public spending – Again this is inaccurate. The waste of the public spending will truly come if West Ham are successful and they need the loan from Newham council to put their plans into action. Spurs are privately owned at not a bean of Taxpayers money will be used.


    There has been so much rubbish written and talked about this situation. I just wanted to clarify a few points.

    The only reason Sullivan and Gold are so desperate to land the Olympic stadium is so they can sell the land at the Boleyn Ground to some developer so they can recoup around £120m to wipe off their escalating debt. Done be fooled by this entire PR.

    On a side note. Surely Seb Coe and the rest of the Olympic bidding committee need to take some of the blame with this fiasco. They have built an entirely useless stadium apart from the 2 weeks in the summer of 2012. (Which I am sure we will all enjoy) Poor planning from them. A football club was always going to be the long term future for this stadium, Their insight and opinions should of been taken into account from the moment we won the bid in 2005. Like Man City and the commonwealth game stadium. But they don’t seem to be taking any of the blame. Its just Spurs being the bad guys!


  • Comment number 42.

    To all West Ham fans out there, you need to strongly object to this move in any way you can. As a Rotherham fan, a cold wind swept open bowl of a stadium like Don Valley with its running track AND long jumptracks makes for awful awful games.
    Like a previous Brighton fan mentioned the atmosphere is non existent, you feel detatched from the game and away teams dont fear coming to your ground.
    Im am certain that we would have had a lot more points from home games had we still been at Millmoor and crowds do dwindle.
    Its no coincidence that teams experience an upsurge in attendance when they move to purpose built football stadia. I have been a season ticket holder for years and rarely missed a game but I havent had one for the last 2 years and only go to about half the games now. I can not wait until our new ground is built and we can move back home.
    Let Spurs have it, rip up the track and make it a proper football stadium.

  • Comment number 43.

    Arrggghhh! When will it be over? It's all a balls up either way and will go to court regardless of the decision.

    Let's end this now and give it to PSG or Paris FC - they're both only a train ride away from Stratford station and won't impact on either West ham or Orient's businesses.

  • Comment number 44.

    OK I'm now convinced that West Ham should have the stadium. Why?

    Because the tax payer will now get their 'value for money'. £500m plus the further £40m they will pay to convert it to a smaller stadium (if that is ok with the people protecting the legacy and the taxpayer). I am sure the rent from West Ham will easily cover this as they are one of the most profitable clubs in the world.

    The atmosphere for the 80% of the time they (West Ham) are in the premiership (couchy earlier) will be awful and will probably result in fewer supporter actaually going (the pricing is a red herring as they already offer cheap seats and still don't fill their current stadium).

    Leyton Orient have always collected the overspill from disappointed West Ham fans so their crowds will probably increase.

    Spurs will have to complete the NPD, and therefore have a purpose built stadium on their home turf.

    So a real win win win situation. West Ham join hands with the OPL White Elephant, Leyton Orient get better crowds, Spurs get to stay home and the taxpayer gets.............. ah well we can't all win

  • Comment number 45.

    Additionally (I have now read some of the comments on here), those of you hinting that the UK would be a laughing stock over the stadium decision tell me this.

    Without using Google and from your own general knowledge what has happened (structurally) to the stadiums used at:

    Seoul in 1988
    Atlanta in 1996 (Barcelona '92 is mentioned above)
    Sydney in 2000
    Athens in 2004
    Beijing in 2008?

    My point being it is only those of you that a) live in the UK and b) consistently complain about the geographical bias of having the event in London that will even notice, the rest of the World will just enjoy the Games (which WILL be a success) and move on.

  • Comment number 46.

    The one and ONLY reason they are bucking the trend is because they know that keeping the track is the only card they have to play.


    " Three of the last four World Cup finals have been played at stadiums with running tracks. Uefa will hold the final of the European championships in 2012 at Kiev's Olimpiysky National Sports Complex... with a running track. "

    That's meant to be a good thing? Those matches are the preside of corporate sponsors and the FIFA/UEFA family and either team will be lucky to have more than 25% of the fans anyway. It's on no way comparible to 85% at a home premiership match.

  • Comment number 47.

    Why not mention that Bayern Munichs stadium at the old Olympic Stadium was not used for the Fifa World Cup. As for the atmosphere at Wembley, those people that designed the momstrosity designed it to get the most seats in it could, The Emirates is the same as Wembley in the fact its poorly designed, but designed to get more seats in. Tottenham's design was set to be over 60,000 but because the number one aim was to not lose the current White Hart Lane Atmosphere Tottenham listened to the fans and actually made the stadium less in size, the opposite of both Wembley and the Emirates.

    Personally regarding West Ham's bid I do not like the fact that at a time where every penny is being looked at they will be using more public money to transform the stadium. Where everyone is looking to make cuts, Govenment is giving councils less, that they think its reasonable as a club to borrow from the public purse. At least Tottenham are being privately funded.

    For me Tottenham's bid seems to be the more viable, the more logical in terms of long term financial success.

  • Comment number 48.

    Neither club should get the Olympic Stadium. Leyton Orient will suffer tremendously as a result of these plans and it will prove once and for all that the Premier League has not a single regard for the football league. How Levy can a club with roots in the heart of North London and pitch up slap bang in the middle of East London is horrific. And how West Ham can justify saying that they can fill a 60,000 seat stadium is beyond me, they could easily be relegated and then it'll turn in to a dustbowl in the Championship. I don't have any answers as to what the legacy commitee should do but I can't understand we try and jump through all of these hoops to host a one off event.

  • Comment number 49.

    A good blog as far as it goes, but the point missed or ignored is not about the effect on the football clubs involved, which seems to be what people are focusing on,
    it is about the effect on one of the poorest, most depressed areas of London,
    it is about helping kids out of a life of gun crime and stabbings,
    it is about introducing local residents to a host of various sports and education facilities,
    it is about having a permanent tenant to maintain the stadium,
    it is about keeping face in the sporting world after promises made at the time of bidding,

    In short, it is about whether or not the football supporters will accept the inconvenience of a running track between them and the playing area, for the good of the local community.

    If West Ham get permission to move into the Olympic stadium, I believe the club owners, players and especially the fans, deserve the respect and gratitude of the community and the nation....

  • Comment number 50.

    "What divides the Premier League clubs is the removal of the track. Tottenham remain adamant that track and field and football don't mix. Their conviction seems rooted in current trends around Europe."

    All of that may be true - and your entire article is founded upon this statement. But you miss the point.

    Tottenham don't want a stadium with a running track, therefore their bid envisages a stadium without a running track. West Ham seemingly wouldn't mind a running track, in order to protect the athletics legacy, therefore their bid envisages a stadium with a running track.

    Whoever is right, it is not for Tottenham or Gordon Farquhar or anyone else to imply that West Ham's bid is flawed because the stadium 'won't be very good for football'. Football stadiums with running tracks have long existed and always will exist, it's a feasible combination. West Ham's bid is therefore entirely valid and legitimate and should be considered on its technical/financial merits.

    London won the right to host the Olympics not with a small-print assurance about keeping the track; the whole bid was based on the guarantee of a legacy, including (even especially) for athletics. It will have been 64 years since the UK last hosted the Games and if we volunteer to humiliate ourselves by needlessly breaking this promise we should expect to wait at least as long before hosting them again.

  • Comment number 51.

    The problem with the Olympic Stadium is that with costs spiralling the economic and political climate changed and it was too late to go back and redsign the stadium with retractable seating - which you could argue should have been in the original design brief anyway.

    We are now left with 2 potential tenants for the new stadium neither of which are probably wholly satisfactory given the geographical compromise of Spurs and the West Ham's retention of the running track and what of the fate of Leyton Orient in all of this.

    We cannot put the clock back but questions need to be asked that if we were promising an athletics legacy on the site of the 2012 Olympics who set the stadium design brief with the vain and misguided hope that an athletics club would step up and take it on after the games?

  • Comment number 52.

    My issue with removing the track is that if you are youngster who is growing up in London and seeing one of your athletic hero's running at the Olympics and then being able to go and train on that very same track it would inspire you. However the spurs idea of improving the crystal palace track won't provide that. It will remove the track that world and Olympic records will be set on and that will remove part of the magic of having the Olympics.

    Having said all that I doubt that West ham will fill a stadium and if it wasn't the Olympic track I would say let spurs have it, as they will fill it and use it to its full potential.

  • Comment number 53.

    I am still staggered by the sheer contempt to which both clubs have for their fans. Spurs will have no right to call themselves Tottenham any longer and it would appear that the West Ham bid is all about corporate greed. For the sake of the fans of these two great clubs I hope that both bids fail.

  • Comment number 54.

    Can't we just torch the place and claim our money back from the Insurance!

    Totally inept design.

  • Comment number 55.

    I THINK WEST HAM SOULD GET THE STADIUM AS THE IDEA WITH THE TRACK STAYING WILL MEAN THAT THERE WONT BE AS MUCH PITCH INVASIONS BY FANS AND
    WHEN A PLAYER SCORES A GOAL AND WANTS TO RUN TO THE FANS TO CELEBRATE WITH THE TRACK THERE THE PLAYER WONT WANT TO RUN THAT FAR TO HUG A FEW FANS AND WILL PREVENT THE PLAYER GETTING A RED CARD FOR OVER CELEBRATING....

  • Comment number 56.

    I think what's in danger of being forgotten is that the Olympic stadium was built as a stadium to showcase Track & Field, not football.

    If Spurs want to move from White Hart Lane because they can't expand & can't build in that area, then they can feel free to bid to take on this stadium, but that does not mean that they can justify a wholesale change of it's purpose based on footballing reasons.

    Effectively what Spurs intend to do is take on the land, demolish what was there, and then rebuild their own stadium - this would be no different to bulldozing a housing estate, except in this case the Olympic Committee already took care of the bulldozing and planning permission headaches that Spurs are facing at their existing home.

    I think it's ridiculous that their proposal is even being considered and it'll be a sad day for British sport generally if they end up winning this bid.

  • Comment number 57.

    There's one issue I have here and that is this feeling that by either club moving to the Olympic Stadium it will put Leyton Orient out of business. Fans of any team would not be fickle enough to desert just on the basis of cheap tickets, and the notion that geographical proximity is going to run one or other club into the ground is ridiculous.

    For reference;
    Leyton Orient to Olympic Stadium - 1.2 miles
    Goodison Park to Anfield - 0.6 miles
    Meadow Lane (Notts County) to Cityground (Nottm Forest) - 0.25miles
    Tannadice Park (Dundee Utd) to Dens Park (Dundee FC) - 0.17miles

    Hardly going to be too detrimental is it?

  • Comment number 58.

    That should have said "the notion that geographical proximity is going to RUIN one or other club into the ground is ridiculous".

    Teach me for typing whilst looking at Google Maps.

  • Comment number 59.

    "There was so much vitriol aimed at Tottenham and Daniel Levy but he's right - as David Bushell explains (#23), take a step back and strip the emotion out of it, including "upsetting" someone at the IOC (who cares?!), and Tottenham's proposal pretty much suits everybody."

    ........................................................................

    And that ladies and gentlemen is the typical attitude of Spurs fans..
    People who want to take emotion out of the situation..(good luck with that one)..
    People who couldn't give a damn about anyone else (Inc IOC) and future repercussions for athletics for Great Britain...
    People who ignore the fact that quite clearly It doesnt "suit everyone"..(Except spurs)....
    People who quite clearly show how much hypocritical claptrap has been spouted from Tottenham Hotspur in general over almost a century about "footballing nomads" in Arsenal's direction...when almost a century, to the year (1913)..They wish to do exactly the same...for the exact same economic reasons..
    The fact is West Ham have 10 times as much right to be there than Spurs and if they give an undertaking (which they have)that the track remains as the committee seem to want, and that athletics can still take place there as British athletics and the IOC want, what right thinking person thinks its a great idea to virtually demolish a brand new £500m stadium and rebuild it and give it to a club who are not from the borough, offer nothing but a demolition job and have spent almost a century heavily criticising, almost to the point of being rabid about it, another club for doing exactly the same thing??
    Hypocritical, boorish, ignorant and arrogant in the extreme...


  • Comment number 60.

    Agh...no! I'm really not having much luck with grammar. Ignore post. #58.

  • Comment number 61.

    I believe if they want it West Ham should take over the stadium when the Paralympics are over - its in their backyard afterall.

    This bid business is so unecessary and just another way of wasting money.

  • Comment number 62.

    To point 12........I am an avid West Ham fan and go quite a number of times a season, my partner is from Berlin and I managed to go along to watch Germany v England a couple of years ago at the Olympic Stadium, whilst the stadium in itself is fantastic, to watch football there was awful, it's like your watching it from another planet, I didn't even realise it was Upson that had scored for us until it was announced! Whilst Hertha Berlin fans may not have a grumble, I can foresee many West Ham fans hating the new stadium if/when we get it, I for one would of course give it a go but if it is anything like the Olympic Stadium experience in Germany (which it is bound to be), I can't see myself going much after, which is a real shame as I love my club dearly (maybe wait for away games), on the other hand do we really want the Tottenscum fans moving into our manner.......no win situation for us I feel.

  • Comment number 63.

    I am a West Ham suporter and I am fed up being told by Spurs that it won't work to have a track and we won't like it. It's up to us to decide, not them. Since when are they worried about West Ham supporters best interests? On another note, WH have great support in a stadium that currently only holds 35k. I have no doubt that we will be able to sustain crowds of circa 50K at the Olympic stadium. If we win this bid (as we clarly should for so many reasons) our owners will not be pulling out of the deal. Where on earth did someone get that idea from? Also, West Ham will be moving about 2 miles to the new OS which is in the London Borough of Newham and in fact is in the part of Newham that used to be West Ham. The OPLC's address there is actually in West Ham Lane; you don't get anymore West Ham than that! Both Spurs and Orient do not reside in Newham and that is exactly how it should stay! I understand that Orient have been considering moving out from Leyton for some time now anyway and I wish them luck on that proposed move.

  • Comment number 64.

    why don't they let spurs build a stadium on the proviso that it has retractable stands and a running track for one off events i.e. the stadium they should have built in the first place.. just go and buy the plans for the stade de france.. build a copy.. job done.

  • Comment number 65.

    West Ham's sizzling and intoxicating atmosphere present in the Upton Park is imperative on the close proximity range to the pitch, and the injection of a sensational feeling is supplied, these supporters prefer to be close up to the pitch, rather than sitting fifty odd so metres distant from it.
    What is being suggested here is unpalatable for West Ham supporters, our increased support in the face of a relegation crisis is unwavering, Tottenham reap the rewards of huge investments of money and long-standing patience, of they believe Olympics Stadium as a crucial plot in their further stages of growing development into a power, then rebuild White Hart Lane!
    Think of the civil unrest and mayhem that would erupt if West Ham and Tottenham Hotspurs had a Saturday afternoon match at home! there would be impossible traffic chaos to navigate through, and tensions brewed through years of glorious histories would turn into an ugly skirmish!
    East London is West Ham's! The nonsense provided by Tottenham's own close range to the Olympics Stadium is absurd, they are not of the East End, they resemble and reflect North London and its culture and fashion.

  • Comment number 66.

    Recently visited the Olympic Stadium in Sydney - built with the future in mind. After the olympics the track was moved to the warm up arena and the capacity reduced. It can be reconfigured from an oval to a rectangle so can accommodate both codes of rugby, football, Aussie Rules and cricket - they've just obtained the rights for international 20/20 cricket (much to the dismay of the SCG I guess). Did our planners not visit / talk to previous hosts ? Surely athletes would prefer a smaller but fuller stadium for post-olympic events than a stadium 10% full.

  • Comment number 67.

    To be fair I'm sitting on the fence with this one. As footballing fan I admit the stadium would make a nice footballing venue, BUT remember the amount of money spent on this for atheletic reasons. It is an honour to be holding the Olympic games and it would be like burning money if Spurs was to knock it down and re-build it. Or West ham to restructure it. This games is going to be a part of British history and i'm sure leaving the stadium alone is the better option. Remeber there is more than 1 sport and am sure sporting pros can use these facilies to progress upcoming athetes in the future and you never know we could get ourselves a British Bolt.
    The stadium could also be used for future athletic events, concerts, and even Boxing. They could even turn it into a Olympic village, where injury clinics, and professional training could be done.
    theres more to life than football.

  • Comment number 68.

    #41 I could address a couple of other comments or remind you that Spurs have also known relegation (before Redknapp, they spent quite a number of seasons behind West Ham in the league and were doing what West Ham are doing with the foot of the table now), but I'll just comment on point 4, "West Ham must have the stadium, as they are the local club. - No they are not Leyton Orient are."

    I get fed up with people saying West ham aren't the local team compared to Orient. An earlier blog put the distance to the Olympic stadium as Spurs 7.2 miles, West Ham 2.4 and Orient 2.1 (using google maps or something).

    ALSO, The stadium sits in the old London Borough of West Ham and within 2 parliamentary seats with WEST HAM in their name. Where else did Thames Ironworks get their new name? They didn't just make it up! Orient are in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The stadium AND West Ham are both in the London Borough of Newham. All Orient have on their side is 0.3 miles. How much more is needed for West Ham to be considered local to the Olympic Stadium, as Orient are as well.

    Have a look at cities like Dundee and explain which club would be more local than the other, if the self important South actually gave up something like an Olympic stadium and plonked it somewhere other than London like Dundee, Liverpool, Sheffield or the Midlands.

    West Ham not being local is laughable. Give it up! Spurs fans on the other hand, just accept you'll be east enders over night, which I actually welcome. 2 top class teams in Newham sounds good to me.

  • Comment number 69.

    Tottenham's bid leaves Haringey, an even worse off borough than Newham, with a massive void in it's local economy, potential for growth, and community. Their claim to be the choice for the good of the tax payer is disingenuous, tax payers have a stake in West Ham's bid in exchange for money in the form of LOANS. What will the tax payer get when Tottenham win? An even greater and long term reliance in Haringey on public money and investment to prop up an area that with Tottenham has potential, without Tottenham has close to nothing.
    1) Tottenham and Haringey need their heads banged together to work out a solution where by they stay at home and push the club and Haringey on.
    2)West Ham need to stay where they are and develop the east stand, filling in the corners with seating. That would push capacity to what, 45,000 (about right for us although not as ambitious)?
    4)If west ham get the OS, they should immediately put in retractable seating and bring the stands down lower from the top, surely not beyond the wit of man!? No one wants a running track, pretending it will be fine because of a roof is madness. Althogh it wouldn't suprise me if tehy already plan to remove the tarck later once everything has died down.
    5) Leyton Orient need to hope that neither us nor Tottenham move on their patch. I think they'll be fine, but i'd rather not find out.

  • Comment number 70.

    On another note, i don't think that proximity will change fans allegances, which is why Leyton Orient should be fine. What the OS does is offer oppurtunity for growth. In the case of spurs it's about getting money out of their moneyed lawyer, city boy and accountant fans that are on this muggy paid up waiting list they never let anyone forget about. In the case of West Ham it's about attracting fans that at the moment can't afford tickets at these prices or be on aforementioned paid up waitin list. It's also about Newham/East London and the Thames Gateway being an area that new people are coming into all the time from outside, internationally and from within the UK. Many kids around east have no affiliation to a local club, ie immigrants from Inida and Pakistan that end up supporting United or Liverpool. Give the kids an oppurtunity of a cheap seat at West Ham and you may well have got yourself a fan for life. It's ambitious, and no one thinks that west ham could fill it now, but with teh right ticket pricing and marketing West Ham could have a whole new fanbase coming in that they're not tapping right now.

  • Comment number 71.

    Seb Coe and the LOC made a promise to us (the british taxpayer) as well as the IOC - it was that the games would cost no more than £3 Billion pounds (bearing in mind we were not consulted about this and could quite easily have held the Olympics at the £400m OVER budget, Wembley stadium and surrounding arenas) - but we are now looking at a bill of £9 Billion at a time when the country is £80 Billion in debt and we all have to cut back on everything.
    So when he talks about not keeping promises and a travesty - why doesn't he mention the £6 Billion the LOC have taken from us , the UK taxpayer, for a 3 week festival?
    And to add insult to injury - West Ham are going to use more public money to convert it to their needs! Spurs deliver an all year round legacy at the historical home of athletics - and get us our money back on yet another over-budget stadium project - a lot quicker than West Ham's plan - give it to Spurs please!

  • Comment number 72.

    The OS is a largely temporary stadium that's perfect for the Olympics. It's the biggest event the UK will likely EVER host, so I'm not particularly bothered by the lack of compromise in the design. What bothers me is the forced compromise that the OLC is now aiming for.

    Once the Olympics is over, we will have Wembley IF (big if) we get to host world class athletics events again. Wembley is built to host athletics as seating can be removed. People don't know this because it's never been used.

    We will also have Crystal Palace for national events, which Spurs will renovate. It would also be expandable to host any once in a lifetime World Class events.

    Do West Ham, Spurs, athletics and the taxpayer a favour... Let Spurs build a financially viable stadium on the site at their own expense, let West Ham focus on staying in the Premiership and renovating their already atmospheric ground, and give athletics the legacy through Crystal Palace / Wembley. Don't leave a white elephant.

  • Comment number 73.

    I am a spurs fan and I believe most spurs fans would agree with my point that moving to Stratford is to put it straight forwardly crazy. It seems radiculous that Levy wants to dismantle the Stadium and believes that the majority of Spurs fans would support his vision. This is obviously not the case. It seems as though this is a venture for Levy to eventually sell the club to one of the billionaire Oil magnets.

    Ofcourse there is a lot of politics involved with the Northumberland Park Project but I think this is a disgrace that a premier league club with millions is virtually turning its back on where the club is. The proposals for the Northumberland Park project look promising especially looking at the wider area for redevloping a much deprived area. I hope Spurs fans do not get me wrong here as Levy has done good for the club but for Spurs fans a move to Stratford would be humiliating.

    For West Ham on the whole their bid seems morally superior and more promising. The running track 'problem' could be easily solved: retractable seating I just hope they look at how the Stade de France works.

    I hope West Ham not only get in contact with Essex County Cricket Club but also the English Cricket Board. In the summer the stadium is large enough for cricket. For example 20/20 domestic as well as international cricket tournaments could easily be held there.

  • Comment number 74.

    Why not mention that Bayern Munichs stadium at the old Olympic Stadium was not used for the Fifa World Cup ****************
    *********************

    The Berlin Olympic stadium was and that has a running track!

  • Comment number 75.

    "They, like Spurs, believe there's an untapped market".

    Its not an untapped market- its just simply supply and demand laws that apply as a result of having a crap stadium and charging a lower cost...

    An untapped market is a market that has never been explored before- there is a difference

  • Comment number 76.

    Looking at this in as unbiased a way as i can, i think Spurs proposals are probably more viable.

    As a Spurs fan though, i really hope West Ham get it, cos we don't want our club to move from it's true home. Make no mistake on this, Spurs fans are the biggest supporters of West Hams bid in this battle.

  • Comment number 77.

    As a Spurs Fan I really fo hope we stay at WHL. However I am not opposed to the OS if it is a beeter financial option.

    However the reason I write this is I am fed up of reading the repeated nonsense from posters with reasons why we shouldnt move there. The first as has been mentioned before concerns the 'demolition of a £500m stadium'. The infrastructure of the stadium is permanent, the actual stadium on top of that is temporary, this was always going to be dismantled and repalced with a smaller venue. Spurs will be doing exactly the same, but at their own cost. So no need to harp on about the waste of tax payers money.

    Secondly, please read the original document about what we promised to leave as a legacy after the Olympics. There is no mention of retaining the stadium for athletics. It is a vary vague set of promises more concerned with promoting the area, sport in general, health for kids, making the UK a top sporting nation etc. So no need to worry about breaking promises.

    That seems to me to be most peoples issues with the stadium. Take them away and it id fairly obvious that Spurs plans are the most financialy viable and do not rely on funding from the local government.

  • Comment number 78.

    Its a rum old deal for the supporters. I doubt very much that followers of Tottenham want to move over to Stratford and I know that there is a sizable majority of West Ham supporters that do not want to watch football from behind an athletics track.

    I cannot speak for the Spurs, but there has been little or no consultation with the supporters at Upton Park. Instead we keep hearing that nobody complained about watching football at the old Wembley, etc. Well, a once in a blue moon cup final, or the odd England international is one thing, but having to watch football week in week out at such a venue? No thanks!

    I am not averse to moving from the Boleyn providing it is to a proper football ground, not some generic bowl designed for athletics with the crowd half a mile from the pitch. Time to hang up my season ticket, me thinks.

  • Comment number 79.

    Whoever gets the stadium, we MUST retain the track. This stadium will be a monument to an extremely important event in both our sporting and cultural heritage. I applaud West Ham for planning on keeping it. Its about doing the right thing.

    There is a blog on the importance of having a legacy at:

    http://itsnotlifeordeath.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-athletics-legacy-matters.html

    The legacy promise is such an important promise that we cannot afford to break it and must do whatever it takes to keep it. This is not just for now. It is for the future too!

  • Comment number 80.

    "4) West Ham must have the stadium, as they are the local club. - No they are not Leyton Orient are."

    Dead wrong. And sick to death of seeing this 'argument'.

    Firstly, the OS is pretty much equidistant from both (but FAR easier to reach from UP) and so the 'geographic' argument doesn't hold up. In fact I believe the nearest club to the OS is actually Clapton FC in Forest Gate.

    Secondly both Upton Park and OS are in London Borough of Newham, Leyton is in Borough of Waltham Forest. West Ham are already therefore paying business rates to the council.

    In turn this means any development asssisted by Newham Borough Council will have been contributed to indirectly by West Ham as a tax-paying 'resident'.

    Final point, the majority of true Orient fans actually detest the fact that West Ham fans view them as their 'second' club. If WH moving to Stratford means fewer (in their view) disenchanted West Ham fans at their home games then can't really see how they can complain.

  • Comment number 81.

    exiled_geordie - ASHLEY OUT NOW wrote: "Whoever gets the stadium, we MUST retain the track. This stadium will be a monument to an extremely important event in both our sporting and cultural heritage."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the same way that the Dome was monument to the millenium? Stadiums aren't monuments and they need to be used. Not only that, but they need to be used properly, regularly and efficiently. To compromise will be a disaster for which the public will pay.
    Kapoor's olympic structure being built in the village is an actual, and much more fitting, monument to the games.

  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    Bazpatts - wrote: "In the same way that the Dome was monument to the millenium? Stadiums aren't monuments and they need to be used. Not only that, but they need to be used properly, regularly and efficiently. "
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Agreed. I wasn't suggesting it sat there as a white elephant to gather dust. I was speaking metaphorically in terms of it being a monument. Yes it is important the stadium stays, but it must be done by looking to the use which best preserves the multi-sport purpose it was intended for.

    Now that the Dome is finally doing that then that too is now fulfilling some of the reasons for which it was created and remains a landmark for the future.

  • Comment number 84.

    Obviously there's a few different types of people with strong opinions on this...

    1. West Ham supporters - around 12 years ago we (as a season ticket holder myself) were sent a questionnaire asking if we wanted to stay at The Boleyn or move somewhere else, as in purpose built stadium. 98% of supporters said they wanted to stay at the Boleyn... Since then, despite new stands being built, the historic ground has lost its legendary intimidating and electric atmosphere. An earlier poster mentioned being 'close to the pitch'... We used to be able to reach out and touch the players in the chicken run and now I think I'll end up being closer to the pitch at the OS then UP!

    The reality is, we don't want a running track but don't have the cash to build a new stadium so the OS is a good compromise for us and makes financial sense.

    2. Spurs Supporters - desperately want a new stadium too but can't believe that you would be prepared to move to Stratford! I do have some friends who support Spurs (come on, it happens) and without exception they think the OS move is an utter joke for them.

    3. Leyton Orient - whatever! We'll sell you UP if you like?

    4. General 'legacy, tax payers money' type people - The idea was to remove the temporary structure above ground level (the ugly bit we all see now) and leave an open air 25k seater bowl after the Olympics. Without WHU and TH interest in the stadium it truly would have ended up being a dis-used site. I have visions of Wembledon's old ground with weeds galore after they starting squatting at Selhurst Park.

    In short, if we want to give the IOC the legacy we promised then the only bid on the table is Newham Council/West Ham. If that's not the case then the process of the who takes tenancy should start again and effectively go to the highest bidder so we can stop complaining about taxpayers money.

    Thanks!

  • Comment number 85.

    Why not have them share the stadium. I am a Spurs fan but in favor of that - without the track. Makes more sense economically for a structure of that size and cost. Playing on Saturdays and Sundays and midweek it could easily accommodate the schedule. Also then if either or both are ever relegated in particular years like might happen to West Ham next year then you still have one PL tennant most likely. They could keep their current locations for training and simply play games at the OS.

  • Comment number 86.

    Wembley wasnt short of atmosphere in the JPT final last season, despite not all seats being sold... Anyway being far from the action is completely against football and the fun of being at the game. Iv hated games that have been played in heavy fog where I haven't been able to see who's even on the ball, so games that can be hampered for some seats being 50 feet from the match and being charged a high price to see either prem action or European/World cup action is outrageous! The stadium shouldn't have been started without a second purpose as the appetite for an athletics stadium in the capital thats larger than most near by football clubs stadiums is more or less none. The plans should not have been made without some sort of future plan to ensure further use after the Olympics as now we are yet again blowing money that could have been recovered with a sale of the stadium to a prem team

  • Comment number 87.

    Glad to see the research I did on stadium configuration trends and attendance rankings that were contributed to the comments in Adrian Warner's blog haven't gone to waste.

    As mentioned in those comments, there is only one professional football stadium amongst Europe's top 50 in average attendance that contains a running track - Nuremberg's Frankenstadion.

    Roma and Lazio, two clubs groundsharing at Rome's Olympic stadium, should easily draw better support but the lack of atmosphere keeps fans away and they both flounder near the 100 overall in attendance, well below the support numbers West Ham currently receive at Upton Park.

    It's a trend that's clearly defined itself for many years now, one accelerated by the choices television technology creates for sports fans nowadays. With high-definition, big-screen sets to watch games on, a stadium that can't top those great camera views by offering excellent atmosphere and good sightlines is doomed to failure.

    This is a massive business decision, not least because of the investment already made in clearing and preparing the site for a stadium and building additional public transit facilities to service it.

    It needs a big tenant. Spurs have the requisite fan support, well-established competent business management and deliver competitive playing squads most years.

    What also makes their potential tenancy loom even larger is the presence of AEG as a partner, the American-based company that is clearly the world leader in managing and operating top-flight sports venues.

    In Forbes magazine's 2010 rankings of most profitable sports venue's, the world leader was Los Angeles' Staples Center, an AEG facility. AEG boss Philip Anschutz also owns 25% of that arena's flagship tenant, the L.A. Lakers NBA basketball team.

    AEG turned the Millenium Dome from a floundering, money-pit into the world's busiest indoor venue and created the visionary and vibrant L.A. Live entertainment complex that surrounds the Staples Center, something London mayor Boris Johnson must look at with envy and hope.

  • Comment number 88.

    The word is perceived wisdom not received. To get to the discussion, your emphasis on the stadiums that switched make no attempt to clarify how these stadiums were set up in the first place, which makes your arguments superficial.
    Also, no account is taken of the fact that techniques and designs have moved on enormously since those stadiums were built and WH may have some designs to solve this problem of closeness that no one has yet thought of.
    Try a little wait and see, instead of knee-jerk reaction and pure speculation. Either way it comes out, if it doesn't in the end work, you can bet your last dollar, the same thing will happen as it did with all those European stadiums.

  • Comment number 89.

    87 - Norsider
    I did point others to your excellent factual entry about stadiums on the "Ignore London Taxpayers etc" blog from Adrian Warner yesterday pm but it was removed.
    Interestin title that leads you to this article:
    "Hammering out new ground." Hmmm?

  • Comment number 90.

    Another bloke poking his nose in to West Ham's affairs. Since when has all these people had the interests of West Ham at heart. I don't think so.

    If West Ham want the OS with running track I can't see that is anybody elses problem other than West Ham's.

    The OPLC will decide on the merits of the bids.

    Just journalists with nothing else to write!

  • Comment number 91.

    "Three of the last four World Cup finals have been played at stadiums with running tracks". Are you sure? There wasn't one in 2010 and the Stade de France's track is a clever hiding one. I've been to several rugby matches there, including the 2007 World Cup final, and although the FFR don't like it much, I've always thought there was a cracking atmosphere there.

    I think most agree that running tracks are pointless at football stadia. However, why can't we follow the Paris model? We effectively said we'd had a long lasting athletics stadium. I think developing Crystal Palace a bit would be a bit cheeky as it was clearly implied that it would be the Olympic Stadium. Follow the Paris model and you can have it both ways.

    Personally, I think our stadium is a joke of a design. The stadium should be a permanent monument to the holding of the games. By designing one covered in plastic bags that gets reduced in scale and massively remodeled is a joke.

  • Comment number 92.

    You see a lot of monuments in graveyards and none are as expensive and a waste of taxpayers money like the Olympic monuments that were all but abandoned in Montreal, Los Angeles and Barcelona.

    Although this Olympic stadium is no architectural gem, the right idea has been initiated in making it a temporary structure, ready to be dismantled and re-used.

    In many ways, it's a smarter approach to staging these massive events than building a permanent structure pre-destined to fail.

    Fascinating to read the latest comments from Spurs director Daniel Levy in which he intimates his concerns about the politicization of the decision-making process. His fear is that external pressures from politicians and public figures who have had no bearing on the bid process will cause the bid winner to be determined by an emotional assessment rather than a business one.

    Should that occur, he's prepared to send the whole process into court for further examination. And so he should. He's a bold and fearless man and he hasn't once backed away from critics and detractors, many of whom offer misinformed opinions. If this isn't making him popular these days, maybe it's because he's not telling people what they want to hear, just what makes business sense. In a situation filled with emotion and pride and jingo-ism and wishful thinking, I find that bluntness refreshing.

  • Comment number 93.

    I do not think that we should have any illusions about Mr Levy. He is a businessman and a very good one. His love for Spurs is every bit as strong as any other Chairman or CEO of any other Company who want them to succeed. That is his duty to them.
    If he thought that Spurs could succeed in the Stadium with a running track, their bid would have been based on that. He could have spent £100 million on conversion, the same as West Ham and not £250 million plus on a new stadium, rebuild of Crystal Palace and further investments into athletics. Why is he prepared to spend so much more? Because he knows it’s not a viable business model after a virtually 100% failure rate of the dual purpose stadium elswhere. No income means no legacy anywhere.
    Secondly, if Spurs were proposing a dual purpose stadium, how many with political or athletic interests would now be backing West Ham? I suspect all the local club stuff would be out of the window due to Spurs stronger financial position.


  • Comment number 94.

    A few corrections.

    The image is a west ham released artist impression note the claret and blue wrap and extended roof!

    West Ham are not getting a loan from the public purse it will be raised on the bonds market by the government under the Prudential Borrowing scheme and can only be used for capital projects not day to day services. In exchange for facilitating the loan Newham Council get a 50% interest in the stadium and a share of the profits once the loan is paid off.

    Karen Brady didn't claim west ham had 17,000 on the waiting list for season tickets, what she said was if Spurs can claim 35,000 bronze members as on waiting list then we could claim our members are too, as there is no evidence to prove that all 35,000 of those took up bronze membership solely to get on the waiting list it brings other benefits too.

    West Ham are the local club the O/S is in Newham, both Orient and Tottenham are in different boroughs. The PL & FA have looked at their rules and decided that neither clubs move will adversely effect any other club.

    West Ham at the bottom of the league have average gates of only abut 10% less than high riding spurs who couldn't even sell out their champions league games!

    Re the Original bid commitments, they are merely the broad plan, the actual promises were made in detail in the final presentations which specifically mentions an athletics legacy at the Olympic Park.

    Another point to note is Spurs bid has no notable backing in the athletics world, in fact so arrogant are they with their plans for Crystal Palace and their belief that Athletics would be so grateful, that they haven't even consulted UK Athletics over it.

    Stole this off another forum:
    Forgetting the running track and football issue for a minute surely a win win situation for everyone is West Ham go to the O/S and BG gets redeveloped, Tottenham find themselves a new site and WHL gets redeveloped and CP go to Crystal Palace and Selhurst Park gets redeveloped, 6 major projects all those jobs created, investment new housing, shops etc.

    I make that person right win win all round.

  • Comment number 95.

    94 Mogwyth
    I think there is very real danger that West Ham are going to go into administration and bankruptcy if they take on this project and that will be disastrous. Matt Slater said above:
    Bayern Munich, of course, left the Olympic stadium in 2005. Their desire to make changes there were blocked by an agreement with the stadium's architect that prevented alterations to his distinctive 1972 Olympic showpiece without his or his estate's stay so.
    It should be pointed out the track didn't impede Bayern's golden period of the 1970s and 80s with three consecutive European Cups and domination of the domestic league.
    I lived in Germany through the eighties following Borussia Dortmund (my local team).
    Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga for most of those years or were in the top three.
    Their average attendances at the Olympic Stadium which I think held 70,000 plus were the mid 30,000 level. Since they moved to the new Allianz Stadium their average has been 68,000 plus.
    If a team as successful as Bayern Munich cannot draw spectators into the old Olympic Stadium with that level of success, how are West Ham going to do it?
    I’ve sat in many stadiums with running tracks to watch football, it’s terrible. Please, West Ham don’t do this.

  • Comment number 96.

    There are issues again unmentioned in a BBC blog in connection with a Premier League Team becoming future tenants of the Olympic Stadium and Park.

    These points relate to each other and it is difficult to know with which one to start.

    There are masses of reports from consultants about the so called legacy of the Olympic games and how it should be "scoped" and "evaluated", it must be a nightmare for the decision makers to find a coherent way through this morass of words.

    I have not seen anything significant about taking steps to ensure that damage to existing sporting and community ventures is minimalised by what flows from the, as yet unknown, "legacy" of the Olympic Games. The site of the Games has been dropped into an area that has developed incrementally down the generations as Londoners have moved in, through and out. There is already a strong legacy of sporting and social facilities in the area that will inevitably be affected by the intense changes that will come about from this multi million pound influx into a comparatively small area of east London.

    Just one organisation with a sporting and social and community legacy is Leyton Orient Football Club, which is located about 10 or 15 minutes walk east of the main stadium across the park. Despite there being no apparent stress on the Olympic Park Legacy Company only making decisions that enhance what is already there, it is not too late. Leyton Orient have been in east London for 130 years and on their present site since 1937.

    Inevitably if a much larger football club, has millions of pounds of public finance invested to be sited at such an iconic and well located site, Leyton Orient will find it harder than now to attract casual and new supporters as they become of age to spectate.

    The Premier and Football Leagues have rules about football clubs NOT relocating into the vicinity of other clubs if moving will cause disadvantage.Yet the Premier League for reasons not made clear by journalists have given advance permission for either West Ham or Spurs to move which I believe will be to the detriment of Leyton Orient and it's affiliated national award winning Community Sports Project.

    Hopefully, notwithstanding the consequences of having a stadium yet to find a tenant that will make it financially viable, the Legacy Company, The Mayor of London and Sports Minister will not after all award the tenancy to any Football Club and the Sports Media will focus on this aspect as the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sports select Committee today begins a major investigation into the governance of Football.

  • Comment number 97.

    Message 80.

    +Firstly, the OS is pretty much equidistant from both (but FAR easier to reach from UP) and so the 'geographic' argument doesn't hold up. In fact I believe the nearest club to the OS is actually Clapton FC in Forest Gate.+

    Of course it is not.

    I walked from Leyton Orient to Stratford Station last week 'around' the Olympic park, and it only took me 30 minutes yet the Stadium is half way. It is about the same distance as from the City bound bus stops on Stratford Broadway, which must be at least a mile or more nearer than from Forest Gate or The Boleyn.

    If the poster is so wrong about the distance, can the rest of the comment be seriously considered?

  • Comment number 98.

    This is crazy...No one with any sense would allow West Ham to take on this debt...

    West Ham are destined to be relegated and they will struggle to sell seats..
    Many fans will not go to the new stadium and of course not being in the premier league will mean a big loss in revenue for the Hammers

    Lets be realistic... Athletics are just not big in this country and that means the stadium will turn into a white elephant, eventually to be demolished and rebuilt as the Spurs bid outlines. It is the only viable business option...The Spurs fans too, do not want to move!!

  • Comment number 99.

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

 

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