West Ham co-owner makes Olympic Stadium case
16 Aug 2012
West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan has stated his club would provide a greater legacy than any of its rival bidders for the future usage of London’s Olympic Stadium.
West Ham this season returns to the Premier League having been relegated in 2010-11 and was last month confirmed as one of four bids being considered for legacy usage of London 2012’s showpiece venue. Following an extension to the bidding period, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) announced that bids had been received from West Ham, third-tier team Leyton Orient, Intelligent Transport Services “in association with Formula One” and UCFB College of Football Business. The bids aim to add to the legacy uses already secured for the £486 million Olympic Stadium. It is already set to become the new national home for athletics and host to the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
The LLDC has said it is possible more than one bidder could be successful in what has been a drawn-out process, with a decision expected in the autumn. However, Sullivan is convinced West Ham can mount a greater case than its rivals. “You want to keep it for this huge iconic stadium that can be multi-purpose,” he said, according to The Mirror newspaper. “You’d have lots of different events – pop concerts, football and athletics. We believe West Ham will give a greater legacy than anybody else. We’ve a 900,000 email address list of supporters. We can use all that to help promote the other events at the stadium – to help athletics. The World Athletics Championships is going to be in there in 2017 anyway. Us moving there will be wonderful for sport, and wonderful for the country.”
Asked whether West Ham would struggle to recreate the atmosphere seen during the Olympics, Sullivan said: “For the big games you would have full houses, and near full houses for all the other games. It would be wonderful. The Olympics is something special. It will be hard to recreate the atmosphere for the 100m final – let’s not kid ourselves. But believe me when we’re playing any of the top six or eight teams in an important game there will be a wonderful atmosphere, just like when we played in the (2011-12) play-off final at Wembley. That atmosphere was incredible. People have said to me it was the best day of their lives.”