West Ham United win three-year battle for 429m Olympic Stadium after being named preferred bidder
Club named top choice after competing with Tottenham Hotspur, Leyton Orient and Intelligent Transport Services
15:07 GMT, 5 December 2012
After a three-year saga over the fate of the Olympic Stadium, it looks like it will become the new home of West Ham United.
The east London football club have been named as the top choice to move in to the Olympic Stadium when it reopens, it was announced today
The London Legacy Development Corporation board (LLDC) unanimously made the decision in favour of the Premier League club ahead of rivals from Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, UCFB College of Football Business and Leyton Orient.
We're moving, lads: West Ham are ready to leave their Upton Park home
A new dawn: The Olympic Stadium is set to host football in the future
Tottenham Hotspur competed against rivals West Ham for the keys to the arena
LLDC chairman and London Mayor Boris Johnson said: 'We had four good bids, as everybody knows.
'The bid that has been ranked top is West Ham United. I am very pleased about that.
West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady
'It will, if it goes through, mean a
football legacy for the stadium but there is still a lot of negotiation
to go on between the LLDC and West Ham United about the terms of the
The choice of West Ham as tenants on a
99-year lease came after a bitter drawn-out battle with other businesses over who would be chosen to have the tenancy of the 80,000 seat arena.
Three men have been charged with fraud
after claims that Tottenham Hotspurs hired private investigators to snoop on
West Ham as the clubs battled over the Olympic Stadium.
trio are alleged to have accessed telephone bills and other private
records of West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady illegally.
They appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court on November 28, and had their case sent to Southwark Crown Court, where they are due to appear on February 1, 2013.
The north London club denied putting officials under surveillance.
There is still plenty of hard
talking to go on before West Ham move in, which is not likely to
be until the 2016-17 season if it happens.
The decision for it to go to the club, which has long been regarded as inevitable because of
the lack of any other long-term financially viable options, comes with a
number of expected caveats.
The Mayor, who did not elaborate during the two-hour meeting said: 'There’s a lot
of negotiations still to go on with West Ham. If we can’t do a deal, the
stadium will still have a fantastic future with plan B.
'But we have
plenty of time to get in a football solution by 2016-17.'
The Barclays Premier League club, who
have offered 15million in cash plus a minimum 9m-a-year in rent and
share of commercial revenues to help pay for the renovation costs, must
also help to fill the funding gap in the building work necessary to
transform a track and field venue into a multi-sports arena.
Jessica Ennis competes in the long jump in the Olympic Stadium, Stratford – which could be now the home of West Ham
Britain's Mo Farah won the men's 5000m final at the Olympic Stadium, surrounded by thousands of cheering spectators
Decisions, decisions: London mayor Boris Johnson has been at the centre of plans
THE SAGA BEHIND THE STADIUM
November 2010: West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur lead stadium bid
February 2011: West Ham win backing of Olympic bosses
April 2011: Spurs, Leyton Orient and an anonymous party launch legal bids over decision
October 2011: Government confirms collapse of West Ham bid
December 2011: Olympic bosses relaunch tender process
March 2012: Four bidders submit new proposals after 16 parties expressed an interest
July to August 2012: Stadium hosts Olympic and Paralympic Games
December 2012: Decision made on successful bidder
The hole in the projected 150m
finances necessary to install a new roof, retractable seating over the
running track and corporate boxes is now less than 20m.
Ham believe the overall building costs could be less in the current
market with no tenders yet taking place for the work.
West Ham, with partners Newham Council,
were initially successful in their bid for the stadium but the deal
collapsed in October 2011 after challenges from Tottenham Hotspurs and Leyton Orient
and an anonymous complaint to the European Commission.
There is still the fear of a
fresh round of legal disputes over West Ham’s occupancy led by Leyton
Orient chairman Barry Hearn, whose bid for a groundshare was turned down
by the LLDC.
Hearn, who fears that Orient will go
out of business within five years of West Ham moving into a stadium so close to the League One club, was waiting
until today’s verdict before deciding on whether to legally challenge
the decision in the courts.
Newham Council's contributions of over
60m to the funding adds to the complications.
It was their original deal with
West Ham in 2011 that caused a legal wrangle, after a complaint was lodged to the European Parliament, claiming
that Newham’s financial assistance was an illegal subsidy.
There is now a European Commission
investigating state aid in football, but the LLDC is confident
that the West Ham deal will pass the state aid test.
HOW WILL THE STADIUM WORK FOR WEST HAM FANS BY SIMON CASS
Will the athletics track have to go
Not if the next generation of Mo Farahs and company are going to have something to run on in five years’ time. The stadium will host the 2017 World Athletics Championships after Lord Coe’s persuasive powers proved instrumental in bringing yet another major sporting event to London following the best Olympic Games in history.
How will the seating work in such a large venue
Here’s where the money starts mounting up. A key part of West Ham’s bid is to retain the running track but they do not want fans match-day experience to suffer. The plan is to install retractable seating to slide over the running track to ensure Hammers’ fans continue to get a close up view of their club’s renaissance.
Will the venue get a roof
Mercifully the weather held out for those magical nights in August but the stadium was originally conceived as a summer venue. Another chunk of cash has been earmarked to extend the venue’s circular roof to protect West Ham fans from the unpredictable elements.
How much is all this going to cost
Converting the iconic venue to one which fits the bill for the Barclays Premier League, and one which can also cater for athletics and pop concerts, won’t come cheap. Estimates for the work range between 130million up to 200m and it is worth remembering the stadium cost 429m to put up in the first place.
So who is going to cough up
Well, West Ham are willing to part with 15m towards the conversion plus 9million annually in rent and cash from commercial proceeds. Fellow tenants, Newham Council, are in for between 40m and 60m while the Treasury has reached into its pockets for another 38million. Some shortfall estimates for the work range between 15 and 20m although West Ham argue that the cost of the conversion is covered with the cash already on the table.
This is starting to sound like a cracking deal for West Ham – are they getting a 60,000 stadium for a knockdown price
There is little doubt that moving home would do wonders financially for a club currently around 80 million in debt and turning over around 80 million a year, provided they can maintain their top flight status. Do so and the match day revenue generated by the move to Stratford will dwarf the 18m they pull in annually at Upton Park. David Gold and David Sullivan shelled out in the region of 50m to buy a 50% controlling stake in West Ham in January 2010 and a Premier League club with an iconic, state of the art home could certainly be an attractive proposition for outside investors. But one of the caveats of West Ham’s lease is expected to be that they share a slice of the profits with taxpayers if Gold and Sullivan eventually decide to cash in.
So off to the New Boleyn Ground we go then
Romantic though that sounds, there is little prospect that West Ham will not attempt to sell the naming rights to their new ground. Manchester City get an estimated 400m from Etihad to have the airline’s name emblazoned on what was the City of Manchester Stadium, constructed for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. And while West Ham are unlikely to strike a deal of that magnitude, the potential naming rights cash would be too tempting to turn down especially if it covered the 9m-a-year they are paying their landlords.
And what happens to West Ham’s old Green Street home
Flattened is the overwhelming expectation. A 99-year lease on their new arena means the beige towers built from the proceeds of the 18m sale of Rio Ferdinand to Leeds will slip into memory. Potential buyers are already circling with community houses, flats and a supermarket the likely uses for the site.
When will West Ham move in
Prior to the last bidding process collapsing in May, the club reckoned they could be out of their present home by the summer of 2014. But as a result of the delays in reaching a decision about the fate of the Olympic Stadium West Ham will need to extend that until at least the start of the2015/16 season. Many feel that timescale errs on the optimistic side as the necessary construction work may take until the summer of 2016 to be finished.