West Ham v Spurs: two Olympic winners

Olympic Stadium from the DLRBen Sutherland

Jeremy Robson normally has little time for Seb Coe and cannot bring himself to doff his cap and address him as M’lud. But he agreed with old Seb on the best future for the Olympic stadium and is delighted that the right result seems on the point of being announced …

What a load of hot air and waste of time!

It would appear that the Olympic stadium which is likely to cost somewhere around 565M GBP has been granted a stay of execution. It will not, after all, be razed to the ground when the shadows of the Olympic torch lengthen.

In fact it is more than a mere reprieve: new life will be breathed as a result into a grand old lady of English football, dressed in a traditional frock of claret and blue.

West Ham will be forever blowing bubbles at the prospect of moving to the Olympic stadium as their new home.

Olympic organisers always speak of a legacy and use throw away terms like nenewal and regeneration time after time.

Well this is a real opportunity to make a lasting difference to an area that needs a helping hand.

Personally I am very pleased for the fans of West Ham Utd. They are real supporters of a proper old football club, even if we have to obliterate their current owners and administration from our collective minds to appreciate that fact and not forget it.

Sebastian Coe (with whom I rarely if ever agree with about anything) had talked about the “moral obligation” to make it work, adding – if The Daly Telegraph – quotes him accurately: “I don’t recall a whole heap about bulldozing down a publicly-funded community facility, replacing it with a football club and inspiring a generation of Tottenham season ticket holders, however many there may be on a waiting list.”

Tottenham’s proposal was to dig up the athletic track, which some people think would not necessarily be a good move in an athletics stadium, to tear down the stands and build a completely new stadium with stands closer to the pitch. Spurs also promised to fund the redevelopment of Crystal Palace.

The West Ham plan had the blindingly simple alternative: keep the running track.

The criteria being used by the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) to make a decision were as follows:

* Achieve a long-term viable solution for the stadium that is deliverable and provides value for money;

* To secure a partner with the capability to deliver and operate a legacy solution for a venue of the stadium’s size and complexity;

* To reopen the stadium as soon as possible after the Games;
* To ensure that the stadium remains a distinctive physical symbol supporting the economic, physical and social regeneration of the area;
* 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.

Cynics claim that despite the fact that it is only the WHU bid which meets all criteria, that there are influential political forces at work due to London’s mayor Boris Johnson being Conservative, as is Coe. (I can’t call him Lord as it makes my skin crawl).

But from reading the various blogs, Spurs fans don’t seem too despondent either. North London is their home and that is where they should stay.

You can talk all you want about how traditional fan bases have moved etc, but a football club and its infrastructure belong in a community.

The pubs, fish ‘n chip shops that supporters have always used are just as important as the colours, the players and the stadium.

Spurs winning the bid would have paid a disservice to their loyal fans too. Such a relocation would have destroyed the very soul of what Spurs really are. The club has no link whatsoever to Stratford.
That’s East London and Hammers territory and that’s the way it should stay.

It’s a great result for everybody, resulting in a real Olympic legacy in an area deserving of it. Only in Britain could there have been a year’s debate which included pulling down a building that cost so much to put up, after using it for a month.

It’s taken a long time to reach a common sense outcome even if common sense had nothing to do with it. Good luck to West Ham if their new home.

It was a cracking result for Tottenham too.

9 thoughts on “West Ham v Spurs: two Olympic winners”

  1. We are in total agreement Beach Bum. There was a danger that had Spurs it would be seen almost as the movement of a franchise (to use American sports speak). You can’t legislate for keeping the new ground as close to the shadow of the old one, because in any urban area such a plot is difficult to find. If Levy is so keen to move and cares less than the average fan about where to, then why didn’t he propose to redevelop the Crystal Palace site? That may sound preposterous to some but no more outrageous than Stratford to my way of thinking.

    It’s a good day for Spurs, and for football generally. I hope that it’s not too great a day for you lads from North London tomorrow though!

  2. Another chapter in the inept workings of Daniel Levy.Haveing seen his clumsy handleing of the Jol/Ramos debacle,could you expect anything other than failure as far as the olympic stadium was concerned.He could have gone along with the raceing track and then in a couple of years just removed it and nobody would have minded.Personally,I am very pleased that Spurs are not moveing.The club is part of the heritage of NORTH London.Why should it move and destroy its roots.

  3. I don’t know what the Sixer has got against Monster Truck rallies exactly, but never mind.

    In response to Chris’s comments about the track. I really wonder exactly how long the track will stay there as there are going to to be two arguments that emerge in the coming years. The first will be how much use it actually gets and the second will be about the impact of the track on the football watching experience. As you rightly say the inclusion of a track at a football ground doesn’t make for pleasant viewing. Everyone knows this, but at present there is a hot political potato in the middle of this. Two years after the Olympics is over nobody apart from a couple of retired middle distance runners will really give a monkey’s about the track. At such point WHU will get it dug up and rebuild a couple of the stands. Levy was a bit of a mug in not playing along with keeping the track if he really wanted to move to Stratford. I don’t believe that he is that daft, and that in all probability he was using the Olympic venue concept for some other motive.

  4. The stadium did not cost 500 million. That is a total cost that covers infrastructure such as transport inks and roads. These are not being scrapped.

    Whether Spurs or West Ham get it, I officially don’t know yet. But at least lets us have a debate that uses the facts rather than these emotional sound bites.

    I agree it would be a big ask for the country to see the stadium replaced BUT if we were truly trying to maintain a legacy in the area and a legacy for athletics then the spurs plan seems to be the better one. Better than it being used by a Championship team where there would be a half empty stadium with a very poor fan experience.

    Just MHO.

  5. Good piece in this mornings Guardian about what has happened to other “iconic” Olympic Stadiums.Montreal’s is the saddest; after the Baseball team decamped to Washington DC, it is now used mostly for Monster Truck rallies.
    I intend to go to the Olympics next year – I will never get the chance again, so I hope to see Stratford as an athletics stadium and a football ground – if we play West Ham again in my lifetime. By the looks of it, Doncaster Rovers and Bristol City should be looking for a great day out in 2012-13.

  6. Usual health warning: all comments within reason are welcomed and you do not need to be a Sunderland supporter for that to be the case. But we are a regular target for spammers so please expect a short delay if you have not posted previously.

  7. This issue is becoming emotional. After the Olympics is it viable to have a world class athletics stadium? To play on a firld that has a track around it is not the ideal solution, remember Stamford Bridge when it had a dog track around it Redheugh Park also had a dog Track and Shieldfield Park a speedway track, terrible spectator venues. Football is football and athletics have different needs it like a sleeper couch terrible seat and impossible to sleep on. If a club takes on a stadium it should have the right to ensure it fulfils the needs. Giving it to Spurs seems morally wrong and what about the O’s what impact will it have on them, more thought need to be put into this. Man City knew they were getting the Commonwealth stadium before it started why couldn’y this have been sorted out years ago

  8. Wow…I find myself agreeing with a Sunderland fan!!!
    Seriously…excellent article…I agree, every Spurs fan I know is breathing a sigh of relief this morning…only a few mouthy bloggers seem to be disappointed.
    I’m sure we’ll have to put up with some embarrassing posturing from our board but then hopefully we’ll be back to concentrating on the development in Tottenham (which we all thought was so great before we ever heard of moving to Stratford!)
    The one thing I do disagree with you on though…I’m not sure its all that good news for WHU…I’ve been all over Europe watching football for the best part of 25 years…grounds with running tracks? God awful!!!
    Sympathies for tomorrow when we beat you (1-3 Defoe hat trick…I can dream!)
    PS – Cattermole?…dont believe it…we get linked to everyone and his mate. Good player though….hmmmm…..

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