It is pleasing to hear that West Ham have now been awarded the preferred status bidder for the Olympic Stadium. And by all counts, it looks like Karren Brady et al are determined to make it work. Laughable comments from Barry Hearn to ground share, I hope never come to fruition – I cannot stand this individual – he opposed the initial bid by the Hammers and said that the Stadium was not fit to be a football ground.. And now is sulking that West Ham don’t want to ground share with the Orient lot. Well, Barry H – we don’t really care about you or your club – so jog on, stop bothering everyone. You are only concerned about your pocket.
The cost is one thing – I am not sure who is going to finance the improvements to get the seating done as retractable, as this is going to cost a fair whack. But sell the naming rights and you have guarenteed cash coming in – just look at the Gooners and the Emptycrates – sorry Emirates. Highbury was one of the first grounds I ever visited and it had a very unique charm to it. Gooners loved it, and I think that there might have been a tear or so when the last game was played there.
But they have moved on – and approach almost 60,000 a home game. That is almost double the old capacity of Highbury, and then add on the catering and merchandising – you can see the cash coming in. And their finances are in good shape, so this should be thought of as a template for West Ham.
Yes, there are some that are going to be pig stubborn and see that the Boleyn is the only place for football at West Ham. And if we do move, my pre-match ritual is going to dramatically change from the 20+ years I have been going to watch them. No more Queens Fish bar, no visiting the Boleyn or Queens for a pint with a friend prior to a match. I mean, I used to have the same seat (more or less) in the West Stand for ages before they knocked it down and turned it into the Dr Martens / Alpari stand at present.
So I can get over this.
And having been fortunate enough to get tickets for the Olympics this summer, I have to say that the view from the stadium is pretty impressive.
The lease for the stadium will be for 99 years – and therefore I will be long gone by the time that the lease will need to be reviewed……and I am sure that the 2x David’s and Karren Brady will not be thereabouts either.
But in securing the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium and promising Boris what he needs to hear, then I am sure that the Hammers will have a Stadium to match anywhere in the world.
Moving house is inevitable. And needs to happen.