(Article submitted by Kevin in Manchester)
In the last twenty years or so West Ham has made cock up, by dint of desperation, an art form.
When we set about redeveloping Upton Park we managed three sides of the ground before relegation and plunging income bolloxed the opportunity to finish the job.
When the Cearns sold up they chose the dead hand of Terry Brown; terrified no doubt of the opprobrium that may fall on them if they sold it to G&S who were gagging for it.( Little realising that in the PL no one cares where your money come from as long as you have got it and plenty of it- but also pornography, for better or worse- was about to go mainstream.)
For all the guffawing about dildos and jazz mags, Messieurs Gold and Sullivan wouldn’t have brass farthings to rub together if they weren’t servicing a mass market.
Upon being gifted two of the world’s best players, we snatched at them without considering the small print or if we had a manager with the wit to integrate them into the team and, as a result, we suffered pain, humiliation and a multi-million pound hole in the pocket.
As the age of billionaire sugar daddies dawned with the coming of Abromovich ‘up west’ – we managed to pick one with economic feet of clay. We did not even use the period before he was rumbled to invest wisely –choosing to pay Champions League wages to a collection of crocks and mercenaries ultimately incapable of keeping us out of the Championship.
When Paul Lambert applied for the West Ham managers job – we picked Zola (and then Grant!)
Now we have the biggest opportunity of all and blow me! Uncle cock-up comes calling again (Ho, Ho!).
I do not care how detached Ms Knight and her West Ham paramour were from the bidding process; it was madness to contract her under any circumstances. Even so, the government, the OLC, Boris and Newham have so much invested in West Ham moving in to the Olympic Stadium the season after next it’ll probably still happen.
If anyone doubts just what a boon the Olympic Stadium could be for West Ham, ask yourself why Daniel Levy, who hitherto is not known for mucking up, has been prepared to throw good money after bad to stop us moving in? It is nothing personal that would be mad and he isn’t.
It is because he knows that the location, transport links, economic ecology and iconic imagery are worth millions and the OS has it in spades. The sheer footfall will be mind boggling and it will be just about the best connected place in the UK. It will be possible to ship in and ship out a full house in not much more than 30 minutes – making it attractive not only for the casual fan but also a magnet for corporate entertainment.
It may seem trivial but crowded trains and traffic jams annoy people. So much so, Primo Nebiolo, the former head of world athletics (IAAF) after one nasty trip to Crystal Palace in the 1980’s, decided there and then to move the organisation from Knightsbridge to Monaco. No matter how shiny the proposed reboot of Crystal Palace that Levy had planned; he could do nothing about south London gridlock and that’s why the athletics legacy people weren’t buying it.
Liverpool’s failure to keep pace with Manchester United was in part down to an absence of vision; they didn’t see Manchester United turning Old Trafford into a cash cow as particularly significant. Levy understands very well how significant the OS could be for West Ham- not only for all the reasons stated above but also although the club is moving only a few miles; they are a significant few.
It puts us at the heart of a much bigger catchment area rather than to the south of it; it will make us a stronger presence in that rather moneyed arc of suburbia that swings south and east from Enfield to Southend where, hey, guess who have the odd season ticket holder!
Levy’s big mistake was to baulk at the athletics track; if he hadn’t Tottenham would have got it. I suspect it was bad timing. What started as a back-up plan for Northumberland Avenue (?) suddenly became the main event the more he looked into it but he didn’t have the bollocks to do a U-turn, face down fans and go with the track.
I doubt the track will be the impediment many seem to fear. I have read that stadiums with running tracks haven’t worked elsewhere but only from those who are against the move. As long as it is noisy- and I believe it has been designed to enhance the sound of the crowd – I am sure it will work fine, develop its own atmosphere and that most of us will learn to love it.
We have failed to do the right thing so often in the past but even so with the gift of the Olympic Stadium I’m tempted to say only an idiot could blow it now, but then again …….