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West Ham United to take over Olympic Stadium

Revision as of 18:48, March 30, 2011 by Porterfield (wall | contribs)

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A month ago, two English Premier League teams were bidding over use of London's Olympic Stadium. West Ham United was chosen over Tottenham Hotspur FC to become the stadium's official tenant after the Olympic Games, and their bid was finally approved this past Thursday. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and the Department of Communities and Local Government granted West Ham the rights to take over the venue, most likely because their proposed plans for the stadium did not involve removing the massive athletics track untouched. Tottenham wanted to rebuild the stadium to create a more personal venue without a track separating the fans from the pitch, and that's probably why they lost the bid (although this is the exact reason they should have won, in my humble opinion).
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London's Olympic Stadium

Tottenham has yet to publicly lament their loss, but out of nowhere, League One club Leyton Orient has come forward to express their dissatisfaction with the decision. Leyton Orient's current stadium and surrounding fan base is located directly between the fan bases of Tottenham and West Ham (as shown by this amazing football supporters map of London [1]) Their stadium is in the immediate vicinity of the Olympic Park and as shown in the map, their fan base is quite compact. Thus, the club is under the impression that a West Ham relocation to Olympic Stadium would damage their own club's standing as top ticket in the neighborhood. Personally, I think Leyton Orient needs to chill out. If they actually believe their fans would abandon the club in favor of West Ham, just to shave time off their commute to the stadium, they should cut their losses now and start downsizing. True fans would never abandon their team and they are the only fans worth having.

On the other side of things, is this really the right move for West Ham? They are selling their old venue, Upton Park, to pay for renovations of the Olympic Stadium, which they will only be leasing. It doesn't sound like a very promising move, especially considering that West Ham is currently in position to be relegated from the top flight of English football. If they find themselves in a rut outside of the Premiership, they'll be faced with lower ticket sales in a very large and expensive stadium. It might also be a disgrace to the legacy of the London Olympics if the Games' primary venue is occupied by a second-tier football club.
Olympiastadion Berlin Wallpaper

Das Olympiastadion Berlin

I also think that having an athletics track separating the pitch from the supporters is a no-no. Isn't there some clever way to lower the track and field down in the ground and put bleachers over the track? Anyway, I attended a World Cup match at Berlin's renovated Olympiastadion in 2006, and although it was an amazing experience, the absence of that big blue track would have made it more intimate and exciting for the fans. I love EPL stadiums for their intense atmosphere. The supporters sit close enough to the sideline to receive a Cantona Kung-Fu kick to the chest. If I were a fan of West Ham, I'd be bummed about the track and worried about filling that monstrosity. I mean, cozy old Brisbane Road is right around the corner. Championship, League One, what's the difference?

What do you think about the future of London's Olympic Stadium? Any Hammers supporters out there?

UPDATE: Tottenham, apparently, has just now decided to publicly lament their loss. They have "questioned the legitimacy of the decision" and officially begun legal proceedings to challenge the Olympic Park Legacy Company's selection of West Ham. [2]

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