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Why West Ham are winning race for Olympic Stadium

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David Bond | 10:17 UK time, Thursday, 10 February 2011

Although the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) insists no decision on the future of the Olympic Stadium will be taken until a board meeting on Friday, it is clear West Ham are now in pole position to occupy the venue once the 2012 Games in London are over.

A report analysing both the east London club's bid and that of north London Premier League rivals Tottenham was sent to members of the OLPC board on Wednesday morning.

By the evening, the report's recommendation had already found its way into the public arena, infuriating OPLC chairman Baroness Ford, who seems increasingly bemused with every twist and turn of this acrimonious process.

Just to recap, here are the five key criteria the OPLC is using to make its decision:

1. Achieve a long-term viable solution for the stadium that is deliverable and provides value for money;
2. To secure a partner with the capability to deliver and operate a legacy solution for a venue of the stadium's size and complexity;
3. To reopen the stadium as soon as possible after the Games;
4. To ensure that the stadium remains a distinctive physical symbol supporting the economic, physical and social regeneration of the area;
5. To allow flexible use of the stadium, accommodating a vibrant programme of events allowing year-round access for schools, the local community, wider public and elite sport.

West Ham plan to keep the running track if they win the Olympic Stadium. Photo - AP

My understanding is that OPLC chief executive Andrew Altman makes no clear recommendation in favour of West Ham's bid in the report but it is true that the club's £95m proposal is the only one to meet all five criteria.

Spurs, on the other hand, fail on two counts: timing; and the flexible and community use of the stadium.

Taking the last point first. The north Londoners plan to rip up the Olympic running track once the Games are over and convert the stadium to a football-only venue. They may be promising to fund other sporting projects elsewhere in the capital but West Ham and Newham Council's vision to use the stadium as a genuine multi-sport arena ticked the box.

On the issue of timing, Tottenham's plans to take down the Olympic Stadium and build a brand new ground with stands closer to the pitch will obviously take longer to fulfil. They originally promised to open the new ground by 2016-2017 but had said, in recent days, that they could complete the work faster. Still, that would have been at least a year after West Ham's redeveloped stadium would have been ready. With the OPLC worried about getting a return from the venue as soon as possible, that gave the Hammers the edge.

Spurs may have more money and a more secure future in the Premier League but the fact their project would cost three times as much as West Ham's may have counted against them, too.

So what happens now?

Treasury officials are understood to be taking one last look at the numbers on Thursday to make sure they all stack up. The 14 members of the OPLC board will then meet on Friday morning. I am told there will be a "lengthy and robust" debate and that Spurs could still emerge as winners. That is extremely unlikely to happen.

The Olympic Stadium could host concerts in addition to sporting events. Photo - PA

Whatever is decided, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Communities Minister Eric Pickles will then be given the opportunity to give their opinions. They have the power to interpret the criteria more widely than the OPLC. For example, if Johnson felt that West Ham offered the best choice for the Olympic Park but Tottenham's proposal for the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace and the club's present White Hart Lane site was the better option for London, then he could reverse the decision.

Similarly, the government can take into account the wider impact on the country. It, too, will be conscious of the political dimension to this issue, given the promises made to the International Olympic Committee to retain an athletics track after the Games are over.

Do not forget, we have a Conservative London mayor and ministers in the coalition government making this decision. They would not want to do anything which damages London 2012 chairman - and former Tory MP - Lord Coe. That is why West Ham look set to be offered the chance to close a deal with the OPLC before April.

Tottenham will no doubt threaten a judicial review but their best hope may be for the OPLC's talks with the Hammers to collapse, allowing them the chance to get back in the game in the spring.


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  • Comment number 1.

    The photo that West Ham have issued seems slightly misleading to me. Even taking into account foreshortening of the view, there doesn't seem to be much of a running track in evidence. Unless they are planning to have temporary seating on the track itself on match days.

  • Comment number 2.

    Er... in the first picture, where exactly is the running track? Not really a true representation of West Ham's plans, that picture, is it?

  • Comment number 3.

    Retaining a running track has been proven many times over as a 'non starter', anyway, how many times in a year are major athletics events going to be staged ?
    I was at Upton Park recentley and it's the only ground that announces the crowd changes to the team !!
    p.s. In your picture (above) where is the running track ?

  • Comment number 4.

    As above, the idea of the stadium being used after the games is great but after being in attendence at foreign stadia where there is an athletic track, it really is hard to see the action!
    West Ham need to think about a retractable front tier over the running track.

  • Comment number 5.

    fully expect that if the recommmendation is for WH, that Boris et al will overturn as the Spurs option gives far better value for money - ie it provides money for the publiuc purse rather than risking taking it out.

    I'm sure they'd all like to "save Seb", but not a the risk of several million squid

  • Comment number 6.

    from a fan's perspective i must say i'm ambivalent at best about the situation. i don't see us filling 60,000, i'll be upset to leave upton park and the roots of the club, and i'm wary of a stadium with a track and the atmosphere it will create. will it have a similar feeling of 'west ham'?

    but it is the best option by a mile to save the already tarnished legacy of the olympic park. i wish it could have been another club mind. but i'm glad it's not tottenham and i think i share that feeling with most tottenham fans too.

  • Comment number 7.

    I honestly think that the stadium should of never of been designed without a confimed use for the stadium after the Olympics.

    If the stadium in its current state is only built as a tempory structure how long is it viable for West Ham to use the facility in its current state???

    The stadium would be worse for football than your average stadium with an athletics track as there is extra space around where the track is. I read a statement from West Ham that the furthest away spectator would be no further away from the action as at Wembley- this statment has no relevance as Wembley is a more vertically compact stadium which can echo the atomosphere around the ground whilst the Olympic Stadium is far too open to create a classic Football atomosphere.

    Although West Ham have the right idea in trying to keep the existing stadium as a lasting legacy to the London 2012 games unfortunately it would be terrible for their fans and just not viable. Which ever team win the bid i believe the running track should go and Crystal Palace should get re-generated or the stadium should just stay soley as an Athletics Venue.

  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    Sadly its looks as though WHAM are going to get the stadium, I say sadly because it looks as though Sullivan and Gold's plans are coming true.

    They only bought the club, using Man City's financial model, i.e get the commonwealth stadium and sell the club to foreign owners for a major profit. To cap it all they are getting a stadium in prime location paid for by the tax payer and how long to people think it will last before all the talk is the track's not viable a year, 2?.

    I hope if they get it they are forced to keep the track for a minamum 10 years otherwise they give up the stadium.

  • Comment number 10.

    Good news for athletics fans that some of the legacy will be kept with the track remaining but for how long and at what cost?

  • Comment number 11.

    Tottenham's proposals were frankly ludicrous and the powers that be should be ashamed for even having entertained Tottenham's bid. What is the point of banging on about an "Olympics/athletics legacy" when Spurs had no intention of honouring this?

  • Comment number 12.

    @ #9 - G&S have never made any comments about selling the club, your source for this information please.

  • Comment number 13.

    The most misleading thing I can see about West Ham's mocked up image of the stadium is that it appears to be full.

  • Comment number 14.

    Opportunistic greed by the owners, seeing a white elephant that needs a new 'home' disregarding the fans view - obviously feeling that whatever happens the fans will complain then just turn up.

    It goes back however to the BIG mistakes, number one, bidding for the Olympics, and even worse, making the bid good enough to win the poisoned chalice. Huge taxpayer investment, no real legacy - even if the running track stays whoopi doo - so what? after the Olympics athletics et al will just be the minority sports that get good press every four years.

    Take the hit, cancel it now and save some money, then give it back to the NHS, the Forces, the councils so that jobs can be saved and services kept not cut to the bone or discarded altogether

  • Comment number 15.

    Tottenham's proposals were frankly ludicrous and the powers that be should be ashamed for even having entertained Tottenham's bid. What is the point of banging on about an "Olympics/athletics legacy" when Spurs had no intention of honouring this?

    Was it not Boris Johnson that put forward the fact that spurs should bid for the stadium too??

  • Comment number 16.

    Excellent point by nunsandwich regarding the minimum duration for the running track.

    The problem with the Spurs bid is two-fold:
    1) Major faux-pas in not being able to announce a 75% re-use materials from the existing stadium (probably because it is nowhere near that).
    2) Who wants to go to Crystal Palace to watch/participate in Athletics and how do you get there? If this wasn't a problem, the existing facility wouldn't be nearly derelict.

    I agree it is much nearer West Ham's natural home, but the profiteering of Gold & Sullivan, plus the constant whinging of Brady makes me hope they succeed... only for the atmosphere-less stadium to be an all-round disaster.

  • Comment number 17.

    In addition.... why (after the humiliation and wasted millions of the World Cup bid) do we give a Monkey's about what the rest of the world thinks of the Athletics Legacy?

    Do what is right for Britain and the British Taxpayer!

  • Comment number 18.

    It is going to be utter farce having West Ham playing around an athletics track with a stadium less than half filled. Sullivan and Gold have been a disaster for the club and their pathetic treatment of Zola and Grant highlights that.

  • Comment number 19.

    All im going to say is that last may i went to see a match at AS Roma's olympic stadium which still has its running track and i can assure you there was no lack of atmosphere - one of the very best i have ever experienced - and the view was absolutely fine, i think the atmosphere comes from the fans not always the design and if west ham fans are as loud as they say they are (which i have known them to be in all honesty) then im sure they will still generate a great atmosphere plus there will be more of them.

  • Comment number 20.

    @13 My thoughts exactly

  • Comment number 21.

    There are so many things wrong with that West Ham picture.
    -They're never gonna have that many fans in the stadium
    -There's no running track
    but most importantly, the linesman is in all the wrong place ;)

    On another note, this is at least a bit of good for athletics, we need to get it back on the map. However I'm not sure that a disused track around a football pitch will be that useful, and what about field events? I can't imagine West Ham will be too happy with hammer and discus holes all over their pitch?

    It's better than Tottenham's idea though so at least there's some sense at the OPLC

  • Comment number 22.

    Ultimately Westham have a bid that fulfills all the criteria set out by the OPLC, where as Tottenham do not. Westham originally set out plans to take over the Olympic stadium under their previous ownership. This included removing the running track, which was knocked back by the OPLC. Under the new ownership Westham have submitted a new bid which proves their commitment to the OPLC by retaining the running track.

    If Tottenham do get the stadium surely Westham would be in a strong position to challenge the decision based upon their previous bid and the fact the Tottenham bid does not meet all criteria. I also believe there are FA rules that restrict clubs moving into another clubs borough, which could also cause the Tottenham bid to be challenged.

    Westham FC has been supporting the East London area for many years and deserves the stadium if their financial figures add up.If the Westham owners are true to their word "bring premier league football to the people" they are to be commended, along with the partnership with Newham council and a commitment to other sports and activities I think the stadium will be used effectively and the stadium will be filled on match days. By reducing ticket prices more people will want to experience premier league football.

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh listen to the poor hard done by twisted bitter Spurs fans.

    Face facts, your club insults its local community by wanting to move not only the club but its heritage in the interest of saving a few quid.

    Anyone who offers Spurs the chance of using that stadium wants shooting. They have finished top four by sheer fluke last season but they are not club worthy of uprooting their history and heritage and being considered to be doing it in the best interest of the supports who will be paying for the development work.

    West Ham are part of the same council borough the stadium is built under and therefore have a more statutory than business right to take over the stadium.

    Get over it Spurs you are beaten as you always have been over the years.

  • Comment number 24.

    @ 11: if you read Daniel Levy's open letter to the Evening Standard, you will see that the Spurs proposal is by far the best option for London as a whole. Don't be fooled by the WH triumvirate's propaganda and lies (such as the very false simulated photos that others have already pointed out).

  • Comment number 25.

    I suppose the Olympic track could also be used to accommodate Greyhound Racing and Cycling.

  • Comment number 26.

    There are some astounding similarities between this episode and the England World Cup bid. However, in the end this was won by the PR department and the steady drip feeding of incorrect and emotional information in the press. Sadly we have also seen that the BBC are happy to print such rubbish without doing any research at all.

    Has anyone else also seen the similarities between the OPLC and FIFA? Spurs had the best bid, by far. West Ham conveniently forgot to mention the £40m they need from taxpayers to fund it, and that their own Chairman said it won't work with athletics. Instead focusing on the incorrect emotional element of it being knocked down - which it wasn't.

    I'm sure that West Ham have already thought this through and have something in a clause that states they can remove the track at a later date if the athletics/football coalition doesn't work.

  • Comment number 27.

    I hope Barry Hearn is right when he says that he can mount a robust legal challenge on behalf of Leyton Orient. This polarisation of wealth into the top few clubs is crushing smaller teams who can not draw down on any long term sustainable income streams - all very regrettable. It's like Amazon hoovering up all the online shopping, google taking over all things interweb in their sector and spilling out with their androids everywhere (not being evil, mind); facebook being the de facto choice for collecting imaginary friends as a comfort blanket...

    Once the impact of the spending review begins to bite deeper this year and next, how much disposable income will there be in the medium and long term to attend the overpriced/overhyped EPL?

    The only way I can see West Ham filling their stadium is by having a facebook-type crowd there, where season ticket holders try to bring along their alleged 600 friends with them.....

    Is this a vision of a healthy society? Revolution, anyone....?

  • Comment number 28.

    It does make me laugh when i read these comments about a running track not working with a football pitch. Could someone enlighten me as to why four of the last five champions league finals and this years Europa cup final have all been played in stadiums with a running track ?.Did anyone moan about the atmosphere at the old wembley stadium ?, as that was another stadium that had a track around the outside.

    The only people that should be concerned about the atmosphere should be the people that will be attending matches there and as all of the polls conducted of west ham supporters show a majority of them in favour of the move, why should them moving there bother anyone else.

    The olympic stadium was not built for football , it was built for athletics and other sports and its only right the running track should stay. This is not about a greedy football club ie spurs getting a new stadium on the cheap , this is about a proper legacy being left for the people of east london. Well done west ham and well done the olpc for not giving into the tax exiled money men of spurs and making sure that the east end has got the legacy that it was promised when we first bid for the games.

  • Comment number 29.

    Not wishing to sound silly, but isnt a football pitch bigger than the grassed area of an olympic stadium? hence why the picture shows the supporters nearer the pitch? Would the pitch not be laid slightly over the running track to some extent? Not looking to be mocked and ridiculed just throwing an idea out there!

  • Comment number 30.

    @23: You make me laugh, how is it fluke that Spurs finished 4th last season? They played well and deserved it contrary to your club. Enjoy Championship football next season, and make sure you reserve these first row seats...

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 15: are you related to Kamana (No.11)?

    Actually, I think the saddest part of this whole mess is the way the appallingly bad planning of the Olympic Stadium project has pitted the fans of two great clubs against one another. This argument just wouldn't be taking place if the project had been done properly from the start.

  • Comment number 32.

    How can West Hams bid be financially viable when they are having to borough £90m from Newham Council to redevelop the stadium. Surely that is an extra waste of tax payers money.

  • Comment number 33.

    The crowd picture looks all out of proportion. On the overhead above it's clearly oval shaped. Also don't expect to get a view like that from the seats behind the corner flag!

  • Comment number 34.

    New Casino in Upton Park anyone?

  • Comment number 35.

    In a rare defence of West Ham, I'm sure the supporters of Roma, Lazio, Napoli, AS Bari, Bologna, AEK, Panathinaikos, Spartak Moscow, Hertha Berlin, and 1.FC Nürnberg are not all up in arms about having a running track around their pitches. Atmosphere is created by the fans and if the fans are good enough, whats the problem? Was FA Cup final day at the old Wembley devoid of atmosphere? What about the following WC Finals - 2006, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1974, 1966, 1962? Were they devoid of atmosphere? Why must Football constantly be so "Do as we say, not as we do?"

  • Comment number 36.

    How much egg will there be on faces when West Ham pull up the running track 5 years after they move in?

  • Comment number 37.


    Have you spoken to these fans?

  • Comment number 38.

    Brady has said that the furthest seat at the Olympic stadium is closer than the furthest at Wembley. What she conveniently doesn't mention is that the *nearest* seat (which is much more of a key point) is much further than it is at Wembley, or practically any other football stadium, because of the running track. So even if the man at the back is closer, the man at the front is farther, and so the atmosphere will be lost.

    But hey ho, we'll have a legacy (only available 20 days a year) and the tax payers have to shell out AGAIN! to fund West Ham's new stadium.

    And poor Leyton Orient. . .


  • Comment number 39.

    Meccano Stadium
    Meccano Team
    Meccano Players
    10 years from now no-one will give a damn about legacy except West Ham playing with a 12,000 attendance at a League One game against Leyton Orient ...Español moved into the Olympic Stadium in 92 and moved out simply because there was no atmosphere and it was detrimental to the team...good luck.

  • Comment number 40.

    Are UK athletics really happy to have a stadium they will be allowed to use for only 20 days a year? How is that going to create an athletics legacy? They will merely be guests of WHFC, never calling the shots. Any major event they want to hold will have to get the go ahead from the club, how will that fit with the European athletics calendar?
    Surely a redeveloped Crystal Palace would be a far better option for UK athletics, where the next generation of athletes, inspired by the games, will have world class training facilities?
    How can spending yet more public money (£40m) on West Ham’s project be justified?
    What happens, as is likely, West Ham get relegated? The clubs finances have been in crisis for years and their new owners have as yet brought no major finance into the club. Relegation must surely make the viability of the whole project questionable?
    Do West Ham have the fan base to fill a 60,000 seater stadium? Will they be able to maintain the support they have now, given the lack of atmosphere in a stadium where the pitch is remote to the crowd? What will the attendance be if West Ham can’t retain/regain Premier League football?
    Tottenham have a massive waiting list for season tickets and would easily fill the stadium.
    The whole process of planning the Olympic stadium has been a shambles. I don’t expect this next phase to be any different. I expect West Ham to get the go ahead but I don’t for a second believe that they will be able to provide the capital to complete the project.

  • Comment number 41.

    Thank god WH will get it.I'm a Spurs fan and was dreading moving there,as were the vast majority of other Spurs fans.

    North London is ours!

  • Comment number 42.

    Sadly when you watch athletics the stadiums are only partially filled.
    So what's the point in promoting the Olympic stadium as an Athletics stadium/football venue. Best rip out the track, revamp it and let Spurs run it as a profitable concern. Unless some common sense is applied to this project we will end up with another Millennium dome at taxpayers expense.

  • Comment number 43.

    I am sure I am not in the minority of Spurs fans when I say that West Ham are welcome to the Olympic Stadium.

  • Comment number 44.

    Another idea, tear it down and turn it into housing which we need more than a bloody Olympic legacy and use the profits to fund Crystal Palace refurb! Either that or get Essex County cricket club involved as they could use it throught the summer and England could use for possible test matches! We need a big test match venue! That could be 45-6000 people in the ground for 4/5 days twice per year! Probably the same ammount of fans as west ham will get over an entire season!

  • Comment number 45.

    Is it just me, or have the West Ham artists failed to include the running track in their impression of the stadium that's used above. Either that, or they're going to go for a novel green running track.

  • Comment number 46.

    Aww poor spurs fans... you lost, we won. Get over it!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    The BBC continue to provide a biased coverage of this issue.
    On BBC Radio 5 this morning they only had live interviews with Karen Brady, Seb Coe and Tees Jowell (one person with a very clear business interest in the WHU bid and two others who are facing public humiliation for their mismanagement and over-promising around the OS future) and none were questioned about inconsistencies in the Newham/WH bid.
    Now we have another article that uses inflammatory - and inaccurate language to support the Beebs obvious stance:
    Quote: "The north Londoners plan to rip up the Olympic running track once the Games are over and convert the stadium to a football-only venue. They may be promising to fund other sporting projects elsewhere in the capital but West Ham and Newham Council's vision to use the stadium as a genuine multi-sport arena ticked the box"

    A simple review of the bids would have enabled a far more balanced article but I guess that is too much to ask for from such lazy journalism.

    It is also interesting that the gleeful 'stop press' revelations of late last evening have been tempered somewhat: the issue doesn't even make the main news pages today. Could it be that the BBC journos with their OPLC sources overstepped the mark???

  • Comment number 48.

    The only accurate thing in the first, mocked up, photo is the strips the players are wearing. WH in their customary claret & blue, and the white shirts with red trim /red shorts that is clearly the away kit of Bristol City, who are (with all due respect to BC) quite likely to be the visitors by the time WH occupy the stadium.

    I'm not sure BC would bring enough travelling fans to make the ground look that full though...

  • Comment number 49.

    The sickening thing is that the media consistently ignores the plight of the football club just down the road (literally) from the Olympic Park. Can you imagine how much coverage there'd be in the media if it was a Premier League club that was so close? Far more than has been given to Leyton Orient, that's for sure.

    Leyton Orient has just as much right to exist as any other League club, and we are a unique part of the tapestry of English (let alone London) football - there is, after all, only one Orient.

    If West Ham do get the Olympic Stadium then they have to ensure a measure of protection for Leyton Orient is put in place; they are already breaking Premier League/Football League (depending on where they are when they propose to move) rules by planning to move so close to Orient.

  • Comment number 50.

    Oh listen to the poor hard done by twisted bitter Spurs fans.

    Are Spurs fans really worried? A move to a different part of London would give endless material for Arsenal fans to strike back over years of 'Woolwich Wanderers' comments by Spurs fans.

    I can only imagine that Spurs want a cheaper way to get a large stadium comparable to that of the Emirates without such a huge financial burden. But I haven't heard many Spurs fans who are particularly keen on this move, but please correct me if I am wrong.

    One more thing with the West Ham stadium picture, why are all the crowd celebrating when the ball is nowhere near the goal?

  • Comment number 51.

    Political, sentimental, dangerous, life-costing, bad decision.

    I have one simple question. How many people complaining about 'legacy' have ever been to any athletics meeting?

    Beyond that, how many times a year do you go? How much do you pay to enter? And how would you like to sit with the other possibly ten thousand fans in a 60,000+ seater stadium?

    The reason Crystal Palace is not the most beautiful stadium in the country is simply there is no money in athletics, there is no real interest.

    On one hand you complain about NHS being a lottery system and education cuts, then on the other want to throw the money that should be spent helping your mother and father live through cancer at some sentimental 'legacy' for middle class smugness. The smugness simply being "look at our lovely stadium which represents the Olympics, that we never even went to and never plan on visiting - but its ESSENTIAL we keep it."

    Football should be the winner, it pays its own way - at least is should. Can West Ham pay their own way? It seems the funds they will be receiving from the tax payer would suggest they cannot. Can Spurs, well it would seem the fact they will pay for a new athletics stadium and help fund UK athletics from privately funded sources, would suggest they can.

    Like I say, it's a political, sentimental, dangerous, life-costing, bad decision.

  • Comment number 52.

    Isn't it amazing....Both Spurs & Westham have had their say in the Evening Standard recently. Barry Hearn's article on behalf of Leyton Orient F.C is tonight. I bet it gets buried as an article because, the media are now convinced that Westham have the stadium.

    I really hope that Barry Hearn launches a legal challenge and stops this process in its tracks.

  • Comment number 53.

    Can't wait to see Upton Parh being bulldozed, Sullivan and Gold will be hosting a champagne reception that day!

  • Comment number 54.

    I agree No 21. the picture appears to be wrong on many accounts:

    No running track
    Stadium full, which would be highly unlikely for a Championship game
    Lines Woman standing in the wrong place (although that's not important, we need more woman involved in the game) so we can let her off i suppose, i wouldn't like to loose my job inferring she might not actually know where to stand.
    The home crowd appear to be cheering, which again is unrealistic as this gives the impression that WHU may be playing good football or actually winning a football match, neither give an accurate reflection.
    and finally, it appears to be a nice sunny day, again unlikely

  • Comment number 55.

    Very accurate points about the general state of Athletics. Regardless of which club was to get the OS the simple fact of the matter is that the UK cannot generally fill stadia for athletics events.
    The WHU plans are to create a 'multi-function' structure including a60k football ground and an alternative 25k athletics venue (which I am guessing would be used for 'capacity' meets only once or twice a year max - and I am pretty sure that the ground will not be open generally to the public for training purposes.)
    The 'athletics legacy' argument is a red herring and as others have posted already, I trust that if given the OS, then the OPLC will legally stipulate the retention of the running track for at least 10 years, because without that condition I would give a year tops!!

  • Comment number 56.

    As someone that lives 5 minutes from Upton Park, I am glad that it seems the correct decision will be made.

    @bitterTottenhamFans - Just because you think it make economical sense, doesn't mean you have the right to be there. Statford is in the East End so the stadium should go to an East End club. That should be the end of the matter.

    The running track is not ideal but it can work. I know they will be able to fill that stadium. West Ham have a wider fan base that Tottenham so the potential is there. If you disagree, go and ask the residence Essex and the East End what team they support, more that half will say West Ham.

    East London needs a world class athletics track. At school we would use the track where the Beagles currently train and it not up to scratch. I'm fed up of East London getting a raw deal. Its time to give use something to be proud of.

  • Comment number 57.

    I have just read Karen Brady's piece in the current bun about how she sees wh players running out into their new stadium in front of 60,000 supporters..what planet is she on, sorry but WH will be the championship when they get their grubby mits on the embarrassing it will be when only 10000 fans turn up...and as a spurs fan it is not sour grapes as I don't want spurs to have it...also what has happened to previous olympic stadia when they have all promised the same think...some are empty, some are used as football stadiums...without running track....and to alot of people out side london..well it will not make a blind bit of difference

  • Comment number 58.

    Why does everyone assume that WH will get relegated?

  • Comment number 59.

    The caption on the first image reads "West Ham plan to keep the running track if they win the Olympic Stadium. Photo - AP "; something that is conspicuously absent from the image. Can't wait for the 3-D version of this when I can zoom in over the crowd to see the 20 meter running track between the corner flag and crowd.

    Thanks you messrs brady, gold and sullivan, for your half truths and distortion of the facts, we will thankfully be be staying in N17 where we belong.

  • Comment number 60.

    How can the OPLC, BBC or any other 'reputable' body possibly consider seriously any comments from a lady who makes public pronouncements like this.
    The Sun obviously don't know the difference between an editorial and an advertorial - but either way, some of the things referred to here are borderline slander.

    And as pointed out frequently above - there is no running track in the WH images!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Why do people talk about about atmosphere at football matches? There isn't any at any ground. It's just singing pointless, meaningless songs and hurling abuse at the opposition and the officials. That's not atmosphere.

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this but the Olympic Stadium will be on a lease. West Ham would not be allowed, unless they renegotiate the lease, to remove the running track for 150 years.
    I am a Spurs fan and am quite pleased WH will get it. They must have read that it will need to be available all year round for school visits and other pointless money making activities. Also, how many stadiums have had their pitch ruined by concerts and other non sporting events. This is and still will turn out to be another brainless, nonsense idea by our inept governments(all parties).
    Good luck WH you're going to have the best stadium in the Championship

  • Comment number 63.


    "DO ME A FAVOUR LOVE........"


  • Comment number 64.

    @pragmatickev wrote:
    How much egg will there be on faces when West Ham pull up the running track 5 years after they move in?

    On Fighting Talk last Saturday, Bob Mills ( an Orient fan ) made a comment along the lines of "Mark my words, if West Ham move in that running track will be pulled up within 4 years"

  • Comment number 65.

    Ditch the track, give the stadium to West Ham and Leyton Oriont together, works for Milan it can work here. Make sure both clubs have to put aside a bit of cash for renewal of crystal palace athletics and everyone is happy. People need to stop going on about this 'Olympic Legacy', yes the olympics are going to be a fantastic spectacle but everyone is going to forget about it after a month.

  • Comment number 66.

    Why should we have any athletics legacy? No one is interested in athletics; Crystal Palace is half empty during the peak season! How are they going to fill a 60,000 seat stadium? - this important point has not been addressed.
    West Ham doesn't need a new, bigger stadium. They will be relegated anyway and then we can all laugh at Karen Brady.
    I am a Spurs fan and ultimately would like Tottenham to remain N17. As long as we get a new stadium without a running track then I'm happy.

  • Comment number 67.

    Given that the main objective of the Olympic "legacy" seems to be to maximise debt and minimise all future revenues the West Ham bid is ideal. The whole things is just a dreadful white elephant and having a minor Premiership / Championship side playing at a stadium with an atmosphere killing running track just reinforces that view.
    Newham Council will never get their £40m loan will all end terribly badly.

  • Comment number 68.

    #9 and #36 - I've been thinking the same thing and can't understand why the journalists are not mentioning it. The issue is whether OPLC will ensure the running track is a contractual requirement and have the stones to enforce the contract. Clearly Brady and the owners are betting they won't and don't. I hope the Spurs bid makes it clear that they are acting in reliance on the OPLC's published assessment criteria and will suffer significant financial loss if they are not applied and enforced. Oh and why are the WH fans so smug about this? If WH wins, it's their fans' loss.

  • Comment number 69.

    Well more fool the OPLC as David Sullivan is on record as saying he wants the running track removed and that athletics/football cannot mix.

  • Comment number 70.

    This is England, we like football not athletics, the stadium should go to the club that will not only fill it every match but PAY for the place themselves and NOT with tax payers money....Not rocket science is it...

  • Comment number 71.

    On the 1st day of Demolition at Upton Park, there should be a Fun Run to West Hams new home to mark the occasion and fulfill the Athletics legacy.

  • Comment number 72.

    #28 & #35

    Thank goodness the "running track destroys atmosphere" comment is at last being challenged. Atmosphere is made by the people, not the building. I'm lucky enough to have watched fantastically atmospheric games around Europe over the last twenty years, and the fact that there was or wasn't a running track was never a factor.
    It's the same tired old argument about not wanting to move to a new stadium as it will lack atmosphere. Rubbish. Go to the Brittania stadium (new but with cracking atmosphere)and compare to Old Trafford (old but poor atmosphere, inspite of the acoustic enhancing panels in the roof).

  • Comment number 73.

    I think Spurs have a better direction in their bid. They are being clear what they want to do with the stadium and sticking to their guns.

    West Ham on the other hand, have issued an 'wishy washy' bid with completely mixed intentions, which just looks as though they are trying to please everyone.

    This seems to me like a recipe for disaster if the Hammers end up building their stadium. I personally think a football stadium cannot also be an athletics stadium, its been proven that it doesn't work.
    Despite this I can also agree that keeping the running track for legacy could be important. But there is no way it should be mixed with football.

  • Comment number 74.

    I have often wondered during any major field & track meeting how the field athletes have this incredible ability to focus their attention from the mayhem that is going on the track, and visa versa.
    Now if the spectators can develop this skill WHU can host a football match and use the track at the same time:-)

  • Comment number 75.

    OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS !!......please, please, please, can we have a swimming pool there. I love swimming. We can have life guards as well, how's about that, then?? We can have girls from Bay Watch in their red thingy, corrr, blimey !!

  • Comment number 76.

    @18 It is going to be utter farce having West Ham playing around an athletics track with a stadium less than half filled. Sullivan and Gold have been a disaster for the club and their pathetic treatment of Zola and Grant highlights that

    I'd say that Grant has been treated pretty well compared to Hughton and Di Matteo!! It's us fans that have been treated badly, and Scotty Parker for having to turn out on the pitch with a load of useless losers trying to find new ways to embarrass us.

  • Comment number 77.

    Many of you are underestimating the popularity of athletics in England. Crystal Palace is packed every year over two nights for the British Grand Prix (admittedly only 20,000 capacity) but a decent stadium and a world-class field would easily attract a crowd of 60,000 a couple of times a year for one-off events. The Olympics athletics tickets will get snapped up in minutes - you will not see an empty seat in the Olympic Stadium (unless Beijing and Athens, for example).

    The hunger for top-class sport in Britian is insatiable.... look at the tennis in the O2 Arena - the largest crowds ever for an indoor tennis event, even though we will only ever have one British representative for the forseeable future.

    On top of that, the best athletes do not want to come to Gateshead or Sheffield to compete, but they will come to London. For these reasons keeping the running track is important for the future of the stadium.

  • Comment number 78.

    Does anyone get the idea that Spurs didn't want the stadium in the first place? But just put in a bid so West Ham didn't get it unchallenged? One of the key criteria being 'legacy' and Spurs saying "we'll knock it down" straight from the off.. not the words of people who have genuine interest in winning the bid in my opinion.

  • Comment number 79.

    So we all complain about public cuts and nurses, doctors police being laid off, and students with tuition fees going up..yet we have 40mil knocking about to give to a football club who is being handed a 500mil facility to boot? What idiots decided this exactly? if west ham default or costs escalate which they will of course, the newham tax payer will pick up the tab, bare in mind west ham have debts of 70mil plus and could well get worse if they get relegated. This is all dressed under the carpet of course as its all about 'evil Spurs'...Simple fact is Spurs' bid required NO PUBLIC MONEY at all, West Ham's does and in light of all the cuts by govt this is disgusting. The emotional rubbish written about demolishing this iconic stadium? What the same iconic 500mil facility that has NO TOILETS..yes that right its TEMPORARY PEOPLE...toilets are housed in portable facilities beneath the temporary stands. Please read the facts, the same facts that Brady and her ilk have covered up with emotive parlance.

  • Comment number 80.

    For all those talking about the inaccuracy of the artists impression, one of the things you can't see at this resolution but clearly could when the same picture was spread over a double page in the evening standard yesterday is that the advertising boards set up around the pitch are set up in champions league format - now that is optimistic!!

    But I agree with one strand of thought on here, who are Tottenham (or anyone else for that matter) to preach about atmosphere/configuration/compatibility of football and athletics etc. If Gold and Sullivan or West Ham fans want the bigger stadium and a more secure financial future at the expense of a bit of atmosphere compared to Upton Park then that should be their decision to make. Besides, didn't hear anyone complain about the track at 4 of the last 5 champions league finals, or the old Wembley, or 2 of the last 3 world cup finals.

    Personally, I am unsure about the whole thing, but think Tottenham getting it would have been a disaster for Orient, West Ham, and athletics as crystal palace is impossible to get to for all but South Londoners and is never filled precisely for that reason.

  • Comment number 81.

    @77 and 80
    I love Athletics but it is NOT that popular on a scale to fill a 25k stadium multiple times a year - be that at the future OS or a revamped Crystal Palace. And to compare with the one-off event that is the Olympics is like comparing apples with oranges.

    However, I think that Athletics has more chance of a legacy benefit from its' own dedicated stadium with unrestricted access for athletes and the local community to access it for training purposes as well as events. There is no way that WHU will offer an open door policy to all and sundry to enter their stadium on non-match days - and they have not even mentioned this in their proposal.

    But as with all the other difficult questions - they appear only to be asked of others not Brady and Co.

  • Comment number 82.

    There should be a sell out for West hams first home game at the Olympic Stadium against Scunthorpe.

  • Comment number 83.

    1. Where is the running track in that top picture....who are WHU trying to fool? WHy is the stadium full.

    2. Also Unlike the picture, WHU will never fill the stadium, unless they offer £10 seats, which will kill Orient. WHU have to advertise on the radio to sell WHU vs Spurs tickets, 5 days before the game. How will they fill another 25k-30k seats

    3. WHy is WHU taking £35m from the Olympic Legacy Committee and borrowing another £45m from skint Newham Council, to convert a stadium that will neither be great for football or athletics, and only used for athletics for 20 days in 365 a better solution than a dedicated Athletics head quarters at Crystal Palace, available for athletics 365 days a year, with better facilities and of a realistic capacity with option to extend and a viable privately funded world class football venue?

    4. Do people not remember that WHU are £80m in debt, and nearly half owned by Icelandic banks and putting virtually none of their own money into this. Skint UK athletics are teaming up with skint WHU, who are borrowing off skint Newhamd Council which is having to make 25% cuts in its budget......If WHU go down and stay down, this partnership is doomed

  • Comment number 84.

    I've just spotted another error with the picture the crowd appear to be facing the pitch. Surely to protect the sanity of West Ham fans it will be better if they are facing away from it.

    Not sure if it's true but I heard that West Ham were selling tickets for a quid for some games this season. Shocking expecting people to pay so much to watch such dross.

  • Comment number 85.

    So DiCanio...while we are sacking nurses and police and putting up tution fees and raising petrol to 140p a litre, you think its right Newham council is giving money to a football club? I do at times seriously think this country has lost the plot, completly disgusting, 500mil has already been spent on a half baked temporary stadium and we are giving 40mil of MORE PUBLIC MONEY TO A FOOTBALL CLUB???????

  • Comment number 86.

    West Ham bid is the only one making any sense.
    Spurs wanted to move from being the 2nd club in North London to being the top club in East London! They would lose a lot of fans as a result and I'm not convinced they would have picked up many new ones in the new locality. Then their cunning plan was to knock down the new stadium to build their own. If WHL is not big enough these days, they should build a new stadium IN THEIR BOROUGH and redevelop the old site, as Arsenal did.

  • Comment number 87.

    You will hear the sound of Echoes around Stratford for many years to come.

  • Comment number 88.

    glitter this isn't about spurs and westham fan bases this about money...WHY IS THE PUBLIC GIVING 45mil quid to a football club when we are cutting essential services everywhere else? answer please.....Spurs' bid, no matter what they say about fans DOES NOT REQUIRE PUBLIC base location irrelevant. If west ham did not require 45mil in PUBLIC MONEY this wouldnt be an issue.

    And by the way Woolwich Arsenal...the precedent has already been set 100yrs ago.

    Can you explain to me why a bancrupt football club run by a porn king and by an ex failed football club director are to be given 45 million pounds of public money to fund their football stadium in Stratford?

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm very happy, because I'm an athletic supporter... Athletic, the queen of the sports!!!

  • Comment number 90.

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

  • Comment number 91.

    It will be fascinating all the same to see the Blame Game when this all goes pear shaped.

  • Comment number 92.

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

  • Comment number 93.

    Who are West Ham playing against in the picture?

  • Comment number 94.

    "If WHL is not big enough these days, they should build a new stadium IN THEIR BOROUGH and redevelop the old site, as Arsenal did."

    That's a lot easier said than done glittergreenandred and god knows we've tried.

    On a side note, I have spoken to a few disappointed Hammers today. Can't say the same for my fellow Spurs fans.

  • Comment number 95.

    90. At 4:32pm on 10 Feb 2011, relayer69 wrote:

    So far, the comments here have been generally thoughtful, good natured
    and maybe occasionally amusing.

    So why spoil it by making gratitous personal remarks about me?

    Is that the best "argument" that you can muster? If you want your club to move from North London to East London, why not tell us why?

  • Comment number 96.

    Just how will West Ham get round premier League rules which state that a club can not move into close proximity to another club if it will adversely affect it.Nobody is talking about this. I guess the Premier League will just change the rules. I mean who will stand up to them? Not the Football League.They are too scared that the crumbs they get from the Premier League will be reduced even more.

  • Comment number 97.

    The running track is not ideal but it can work. I know they will be able to fill that stadium. West Ham have a wider fan base that Tottenham so the potential is there. If you disagree, go and ask the residence Essex and the East End what team they support, more that half will say West Ham.

    I think someone's been on the celebratory champagne a little too much!

    Perhaps in your magical pixie world you won't need floodlights as all of the magical rainbows floating above the stadium will provide all the light that's needed.

  • Comment number 98.

    @88 - Would you prefer the whole thing to just rot away? Where will the legacy for the local community be then? At least the West Ham bid will work with the local community and be an asset for all not just Spurs' shareholders. And West Ham will be lent most of the money at commercial rates from the council who will get a return on their investment as well as have a major facility providing employment in its area being used consistently.

    As regards those people who say the gruond will be empty West Ham have a very strong and loyal fan base (close to 34k capacity every game) despite over the last 10 years: being relegated; having a generation of England stars stolen from them; losing a cup final in injury time; threats of bankuptcy hanging; high ticket prices; and some pretty poor performances and results over the last few years.

    IF the Hammers were to improve on the pitch and attract the local community with cheaper tickets as promised the potential is there to fill it fairly regularly.

  • Comment number 99.

    maxcerina, what would have been better for everyone would have been if athletics had stumped up the necessary cash to have the stadium itself rather than expecting other people to pick up the tab and come in on their coat-tails. The fact that UK Athletics have allowed Crystal Palace to become so run down suggests they weren't that bothered about having an athletics stadium after all.

  • Comment number 100.

    Football and athletics do not mix. If we must have an athletics legacy within the Olympic park then they should stick to the original plan and reduce the stadium to a twenty thousand seater athletics only stadium. If this has been deemed not financial viable then Tottenham's solution is the best option.


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