West Ham United have won the Olympic Stadium bid – beating Tottenham – and will move in after the London 2012 Games, the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) announced today. However Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has suggested that West Ham’s fans might not be happy about the move.
The Hammers were officially named as the preferred bidder for the £537 million stadium after a tense bidding war with Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Both teams have dealt the other a few blows as the bidding war for the Olympic Stadium heated up.
West Ham’s vice chairman Karen Brady called Tottenham’s plans to build a new arena in the place of the one to be used for the Olympics “a corporate crime” while Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said the Hammers would turn the venue into a “desolate wasteland”.
Today, OPLC chair Baroness Ford said that after careful considerationthe board had come to a unanimous decision that West Ham United, in the London borough of Newham, should be the long-term tenant.
It was “cracking decision for the community of east London” the Baroness said.
London Mayor Boris Johnson however was quick to show his suppoer for West Ham’s takeover of the venue, Tweeting:
“Significant step forward today for the Olympic Park. Long-term future looking good.”
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp suggested that West Ham’s fans might not be happy, saying:
“Good luck to West Ham. I hope it’s what the fans want.
“That’s the key, the people who love their football club.”
The decision on handing over the Stratford stadium to West ham after the Olympics still has to be finalised by the Government and the London mayor’s office, but it is expected to be accepted.
West Ham put together a joint bid with Newham Council were favourites to take over the stadium with London 2012 chairman Lord Co believed to be backing them.
Working in West Ham’s favour was their “athletics legacy” plans to keep the running track.
Spurs plans for the stadium, on the other hand, did not include the athletics track. The north London club wanted to keep the stadium for football only and would redevelop Crystal Palace as an uber-modern site for athletics.
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Karren Brady, Vice Chairman of West Ham United, said: “Today is a momentous day”