There will be a raft of brain surgeons expecting me to be beaming from ear to ear at the news that the Olympic Stadium is back on the market. They are spot on. It’s great news.
The West Ham deal has collapsed under the strain of all that was so very grubby about it. Newham council’s feet became colder than a well diggers ass and they have bailed on the Porn Barons.
Whilst it would have made my millennium to know West Ham were playing Championship football in front of twelve and a half thousand unwashed Charlies in their finest Primark garb, the grim financial nightmare that now awaits them as they remain at Upton Park will actually be far funnier.
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has announced:
“The key point is the action we have taken today is about removing the uncertainty. The process had become bogged down in legal paralysis.
“Particularly relevant has been the anonymous complaint to the EC over ‘state aid’ and the OPLC received a letter from Newham Council yesterday saying because of the uncertainty they no longer wanted to proceed. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and we thought it better to stop it dead in it tracks now.
“We know there is huge interest in the stadium out there from private operators and football clubs and crucially we remove any uncertainty.”
“This is not a white elephant stadium where no one wants it, we have had two big clubs (West Ham and Tottenham) fighting tooth and nail to get it.
“The new process will be more like how Manchester City took over the Commonwealth Games stadium which is regarded as a leading example of how to do it.”
What depressed me about this whole process was the brutally thick nature of many Tottenham fans. Banging on and on about the running track. At no time have THFC even remotely considered playing with a running track between the team and the fans.
Some actually bemoaned the legal challenge as it was ‘wasting time and money that could be better spent on securing the services of striker.’ Please. Grow a brain.
I was even blasted for supporting an idea that would guarantee we could genuinely compete, but the love of litter, nail & wig bars and Chick King offers pulled at the heart strings of many.
The THFC bid has always been about a zero landfill recycling of the existing site into a state of the art stadium and that is what scuppered it for the unchecked egos involved, hello Lord Sebastian Coe, I mean you. These narcissists couldn’t cope with the shrine cast in their image being casually knocked down.
They want to be remembered for their pluck, their audacious delivery of an Olympic games in the nation’s capital. Nothing showy you understand, just a small plaque unveiled by the Queen so every young athlete in the country knows for ever who to thank.
What is left of course is a White Elephant to beat all white elephants. A venue hopefully perfect for athletics but unfit for purpose as a top notch football stadium.
The West Ham bid was no more than a highly polished begging bowl. The Porn Barons would still agree to play there if there was a long jump pitch in the centre circle. Their operations at Upton Park were a non starter.
Beneath an ‘Under New Management’ banner borrowed from a recently shut down local restaurant they banged a jingoistic drum with sinister references to the nationality of the club and it’s supporters. Sadly their specter of Evil Johnnie foreigners pouring squillions of filthy foreign dosh into a football club suddenly looked quite attractive when compared to a pair of iffy looking Sex Industry magnates trying to flog season tickets for 99p.
Then along came the Olympic Stadium and with a member of the OPLC publicaly acknowledged as having been on the pay roll of West Ham… The bidding process was a clean sweep in favour of Gold & Sullivan. They were so happy, they actually began celebrating the night before.
And so now what? Well Tottenham are in a ridiculously excellent position. They will presumably re-enter the new process knowing that they are significantly closer to being able to pursue to NPD which is everyone’s first choice.
West Ham are left well and truly in the lurch.
The stalking horse here is Orient. I hope the O’s come out of this not only unscathed but perhaps, slightly ahead. Barry Hearn I do not know, but he strikes me as an honourable type. I wish him well.