Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughDoes West Ham’s Olympic Stadium move show Gold & Sullivan’s commitment to the club? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Does West Ham’s Olympic Stadium move show Gold & Sullivan’s commitment to the club? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Does West Ham’s Olympic Stadium move show Gold & Sullivan’s commitment to the club?

Many West Ham fans were against the club moving to the Olympic Stadium back in 2010, before the original decision was made to award West Ham as preferred bidders for the stadium. A poll by KUMB showed that an overwhelming 72% of those that replied were against the move. The first deal for West Ham to move in after the 2012 Olympics collapsed in October 2011 after a legal dispute into the bidding process from Tottenham Hotspur. Another poll of West Ham fans by KUMB in September 2012 showed a huge U-turn, with 64% of those that replied in favour of the move.

After reading the conditions of West Ham’s move into the Olympic Stadium, there is something that struck me. Gold and Sullivan might actually be committed to West Ham United for the next 10 years One major clause in the contract is that if Gold and Sullivan sell the club within 10 years from now, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) would have to be paid a percentage of the sale money. I believe that this clause is in place as a signal of intent from Gold and Sullivan to the West Ham fans that they are committed to the club and its future. If they sell the club within the next 10 years, they will lose a certain amount of the money they get from whoever the sell it to (if they sell it to anyone).

However, the amount of money put on top of the current value of the club due of the Olympic Stadium move might not be of any concern to Gold and Sullivan. If they can sell the club for more than it was worth before the Olympic Stadium move, even with the LLDC’s cut of the profit being taken off the amount that Gold and Sullivan would get, would they be tempted to sell a club that they say they have supported since they were youngsters? That is a cynical view to take, but it is one shared by some West Ham fans that I have spoken to.

As it has been announced, there will be retractable seating at the stadium when it is refurbished. This was one of the main concerns that West Ham fans had over the original deal, would they actually be able to see their team playing? Until the full plans have been released then they won’t know the answer, but it seems as if viewing will be made easier by the addition of retractable seating. However, the LLDC has released some stadium viewing figures of the Olympic Stadium and other comparable arenas in the UK. The viewing distance from a rear seat in the upper tier of the right stand at the Olympic Stadium will be 129 metres (approx.) and that is much further compared to the Emirates and the Etihad (97 and 98 metres respectively), but 5 metres less than from the same position at Wembley. This is considerably less than if no retractable seating was going to be put in place, but is still much less than at West Ham’s current home, the Boleyn Ground.

We won’t know exactly how good or bad the viewing experience is going to be for West Ham fans until the 2016/17 season. For the rest of this season as well as the next three, it is going to be a time for West Ham fans to say goodbye to the Boleyn, a place where some great players have played and where some great memories have been conceived. Irons fans can only hope that the move away from Upton Park brings as much good as Gold and Sullivan have promised.

Thomas Baxter