“West Ham are not the problem” “The London Stadium needs leadership”
West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association (WHUISA) have obtained West Ham United’s vice chair, Karren Brady’s, submission to the Moore-Stephens Olympic Stadium review for the Mayor of London.
Throughout she describes West Ham as being unfairly pilloried as a result of operating in a political “goldfish bowl”.
Obtained through a Freedom of Information request, Baroness Brady’s statement reiterates the West Ham position that they shouldn’t have contributed anything more than the £15m upfront payment made “in the spirit of true partnership” and the agreed annual rent.
“As a result of the political focus on the deal with West Ham there is a desire for E20 to retro-fit and re-write our watertight agreement. This leads to a myopic focus instead of focusing on the much bigger opportunities to work together and grow OUR income.”
Other key quotes:
On the so-called “great deal”:
Every time a report, an investigation or scrutiny into the Stadium’s management takes place West Ham appear to take the brunt of the criticism. It makes for better headlines to talk about West Ham and the so labelled ‘great deal’ that we got. In reality we didn’t have to leave our Stadium that we owned and had full control over. We were asked to consider a monumental and costly move to the Olympic Stadium. At that time there were no other viable options that would retain the iconic building and deliver in line with the governments long term legacy goals to spark social and economic regeneration.
On the lack of retractable seating:
“Our view was that the state of the art retractable solution initially presented to us was the best way forward. LLDC later took the decision (presumably based on cost) to adapt this specification to what they described as ‘demountable seats’.
In fairness given this was their transformation budget to manage for the multiple uses that they aspired to, it wasn’t really appropriate for us to object provided that the seats were as close to the pitch as we required and as was contractual, and that they were covered and would always be back in football mode when required and of course that the overriding priority principle could always be upheld. We were given assurances that this change in specification would not impact on these matters which were of course so important to our supporters and hence the Club.“
Success or Failure?
“My honest view is that the Stadium move has been a success but so far we have not got close to realizing the full opportunity.“
On leaving the Boleyn:
“In addition our ground was too small to accommodate a large proportion of our local fanbase at a price they could afford. It was becoming increasingly difficult to access and was impossible to redevelop. We understood therefore that if we were ever to grow our capacity, it would have to be outside of the Boleyn Ground
“Many of our fanbase had also migrated out to Essex and we realised that with the transport links that Stratford enjoyed that would only improve as part of the Olympic investment, that there was an opportunity to bring many of them regularly back to East London to re-discover an area that we truly believed would at the heart of a significant regeneration project.”
On the LLDC team working on the reopened bidding process
“I personally have been managing and running successful stadiums for 25 years, I am not sure anyone on the other side had any experience of running a stadium? “
You can read the full submission here: