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West Ham to get hammered again?

As expected West Ham are the preferred bidders for the Olympic stadium. The usual claims of hundreds of jobs, legacy benefits, more visitors to the Park, social inclusion, community involvement and profit sharing if the club sells up accompanied the announcement. Actually, as with the rest of the Olympics, this has far more to do with property development and the prospects for making a killing on the redevelopment of the old Green Street ground. Of course, if the owners did sell out it might well be because the club was bankrupt or the owners were experiencing financial difficulties, they already have debts of over £80 million, so there might well not be any profits to share. As for the idea that a football club will attract more visitors to the Park I wasn't aware that many people visit Green Street because West Ham are located there. On the contrary, especially on match days it may have the opposite effect with people trying to avoid the crowds.

Interestingly though there was little discussion about the issue of who is going to pay for the stadium's alterations which are expected to cost between £160 and £200 million. Supposedly there is still a funding gap of £20 million. The present deal still requires public funds, including a loan from Newham Council, the issue which was at the heart of the collapse of the previous arrangement. In fact, Newham are now reported to be increasing their input from £40 to £70 million. Other bidders like Leyton Orient, who are still involved, were unhappy with this arrangement last time. If this was unacceptable then why should it be accepted now? Then there was also the anonymous complaint to the European Commission. Why should that not still be valid?

Will the saboteurchitecht step forward again?


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Will it be £40 or £70 million?

Newham has issued a statement which says: Currently £40m is the upper limit of our potential investment, subject to an appropriate and acceptable return on that investment and community benefits. Any change to that situation has to be considered by Newham's full Council."

So 'at present' £40 million. Will it be £70 million or not? Who knows?