West Ham and the Olympic Stadium

So London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) have made West Ham United the preferred tenants for the Olympic Stadium alongside UK Athletics. Well that is fine in my book & I hope that all parties do not end up regretting the new arrangement. West Ham certainly have a mountainous task to not only ensure they can fill the Olympic Stadium in a financially viable manner, but also to ensure they are resident in the Premier League when they open the stadium for business in 2016.

However I would like to address possibly the main reason why this farcical situation has ended up costing the tax payer in the region of £600m. The truth of the matter is that it was never intended for the Olympic Stadium to be retained for future use!

The original concept was that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) & London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) were looking to build a modular stadium, which could be easily dismantled and the key parts sold off.

It was initially thought that Brazil were going to buy the modular sections to save them over £100m on the cost of building a complete new stadium from scratch. With the Olympic Stadium, they would vastly reduce their civil engineering costs and save time too.

However, Brazil then decided in 2010 that they would prefer to build their own Olympic Stadium, which then left the organising powers with a major dilemma. What is going to happen to the Olympic Stadium? The original legacy was recouping some of the costs from Brazil!

It was never perceived that the Olympic Stadium would be used again once the Olympics finished & certainly not by a Premier League club.

That is why the shape & configuration of the Olympic Stadium is completely wrong for a football stadium. It was designed with only one thing in mind, athletics; track and field events. Which is why Tottenham Hotspur’s original plan was to demolish the stadium and start from scratch. As it stands, work will begin on converting the stadium in October 2012, at a projected cost of £150-190m. West Ham will put in only £15m towards the conversion costs.

West Ham’s co-owner David Gold is not even happy with the result, and said :

“I’m angry from a taxpayer point of view, not a West Ham point of view. It has impacted on West Ham, because the LLDC has had to negotiate a tougher deal with us.

It was arrogance. It wasn’t even foolhardy, it was a form of arrogance. A child would know that the main issue after building the stadium for the Olympics was what was going to happen in the future. Go back over 24 years, you’ve got six stadiums and five of them are obsolete. What were they thinking?”

And there you have it, designed by clever people without an ounce of common sense or forethought between them! No vision means we are left with this folly costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions and with no return on investment until most of us are long gone from this planet!

It is not West Ham’s fault either, they have just taken advantage of others mistakes to hopefully better themselves. Lets hope it does not turn out to be their folly too!!

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