Sir Geoff Hurst backs West Ham's bid to lease Olympic Stadium


Sir Geoff Hurst believes former club West Ham must move to London's Olympic Stadium to fulfil their ambitions of becoming a "top" Premier League side.

The Hammers are one of four bidders under consideration to lease the £486m stadium after the Paralympics.

"In the long term [moving] is far more beneficial," Hurst, 70, told BBC Sportsweek. "The future of the club, I think, should be in the Olympic Park."

"I feel strongly that is where we have got to go," added the World Cup winner.

West Ham won the backing of Olympic executives ahead of Premier League rivals Tottenham to lease the stadium, before the deal was scrapped last year amid legal wrangling.

Olympic Stadium timeline

  • November 2010: West Ham and Tottenham named as preferred bidders
  • February 2011: West Ham win backing of Olympic bosses
  • April 2011: Spurs and Leyton Orient launch legal bids over decision
  • October 2011: Government confirms Hammers' bid collapses
  • December 2011: Olympic bosses relaunch tender process
  • March 2012: Four bidders submit new proposals
  • Jul-Aug 2012: Stadium hosts Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • October 2012: Decision expected on successful bidders
  • 2014: Stadium will reopen with new tenants

The Hammers, who have played at current home Upton Park since 1904, submitted another proposal in March after the bidding process was restarted.

League One side Leyton Orient and the UCFB College of Football Business have also tabled bids, while a plan to turn part of the stadium into a Formula 1 track is another under consideration by the London Legacy Development Corporation.

Hurst, the only man to score a World Cup final hat-trick after his heroics for England against West Germany in 1966, says he is "1,000%" in favour of West Ham moving to Stratford.

The Olympic Stadium, which currently has an 80,000 capacity, will be reduced to 60,000 post-Games, while Upton Park only holds 35,000 fans.

"Nobody has a greater feeling about West Ham United at Upton Park than I have," said Hurst, who scored 248 goals in 499 matches spanning 13 years for the Hammers.

"We want to be in a big stadium with more access, we want to be a top Premier League club. With the support we've got, which is fantastic, we should be mid-table and above in the Premier League.

"We don't want to be yo-yoing up and down as we have been doing."