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Historic Day for West Ham

Today was the day the fans of the Hammers had being waiting, not nervously, but in anticipation, the confirmation of the their move to the Stratford stadium or more commonly known, the Olympic stadium and when that move will take place, the summer of 2016. There has always been a sense of inevitability with West Ham’s move to the stadium, with them facing little competition and fight for the deeds to play in one of Britain’s , newest, historic and prestigious grounds.

“Since we came to West Ham in 2010 we have had a vision to really take the club forward so West Ham United can compete on the pitch at the highest level.” Joint owners and personal Hammer fans, David Gold and David Sullivan, speaking today in an official statement released on the football club’s website, they took over a club in 2010, ridden with debt from the previous, frivolous Icelandic owners. They’ve taken the club back to a healthy status financially and are moving them forward on and off the pitch. Speaking back in early March, David Gold spoke of the need for calm over the situation of the potential move; he was quoted as saying “We will only go there if it’s fit for use.” West Ham’s owners weren’t interested in the flashy title of having the Olympic stadium, they wanted a football ground, fit for purpose and fit for the fans, so credit where credit is due for two men who have almost eradicated the clubs debt, stood by them with funding through relegation and their forthright to not only secure a 54,000 seated stadium, but to negotiate it’s conversion into an actual footballing home for West Ham, and it seems they’ve got a bargain in sense of revenue to the outlay of what they plan to pay.

West Ham will leave Upton Park at the end of the 2015/2016 season to embark on a new chapter in a club laced with rich history and triumph, but also a club faced with uncertainty, in the sense of will they be there in the top flight come the date of their big move, after all, this is their first season back in the top flight and are albeit in 14th place, a bit too close to the relegation zone than they’d like, but in the uncertain face of uncertainty, there is one dead cert, West Ham have today reached a milestone in not only their history but English football. Back to the financial terms of the move, West Ham will pay around £2 million a year in the 99-year lease they have signed, while further pledging £15 million pounds for the redevelopment of the stadium; this in terms of benefit for the club is great with the rest of the money coming from the government with the total rumoured with at least £150 million coming from public money, which of course has been one of the obstacles in negotiations for the rights to the ground, one of the other stipulations for West Ham’s move is that they be debt free when moving across London, with a large amount of their debts paid, there still is around £70 million left to clear, with the sale of Upton Park, the plan is to clear that debt and put money towards the redevelopment of their new home also. There is also another expected aspect of West Ham’s move which will see the London club give away around 100,000 tickets a season to locals, while also maintaining the “affordable family football” angle and scheme, which is the morally right thing to do being as the club are using public money for their own gain. The football club will also let out their new stadium for concerts and other sporting events such as The World Athletics championships, which has been guaranteed a home for the summer of 2017, that’s not the only guarantee for athletics too, they’ve also been guaranteed a promised 20 days per year usage of the stadium and track facilities every calendar year.

So with the always preferred choice of West Ham and the announcement delivered by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, West Ham beat Tottenham, Leyton Orient and bids from America’s NFL and Formula one to the right to call the stadium their own, a new home which will give the club bragging rights to one of the finest stadiums in Europe, the platform it gives the club is enormous and I for one am more than excited to see them take on the move and reach a new level for the club, one thing is for sure, West Ham have certainly hit a milestone and reached a new chapter in their 118 year old existence, by the time the red tape gets cut for the start of the 2016/2017 season, they’re bound to be the envy of every football club.       

Michael King