Olympic Stadium:West Ham vs Tottenham Hotspur

Now l have said before that l cannot see why we can’t have both Spurs and West Ham share the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 games in London (similar to Rome). Alas we did not get a joint bid for the stadium so it’s a straight tug of war between the two London clubs.

I was persuaded in favour of one club as a result of my trip as an away fan to the big game yesterday at White Hart Lane.  This experience once again confirmed in my mind that the current Spurs stadium is definately not the easiest ground to get to by public transport, especially after queuing at the station in the rain following a treck down an incredibly busy Seven Sisters road. There are similar issues at Upton Park, however,  not to the same extent, as thankfully, there are more options for leaving the vicinity around the ground.   The issue of sports travel is an area which was examined in a report produced by the London Transport Committee which looked at sports travel in London and in particular ways in which to enhance travel for fans to and from sporting events .

On the other hand, transport links to the Olympic Stadium are excellent, so inevitably, for an away supporter travelling to either of the clubs proposing to move there, travel will be lot easier but the reality at the moment is that only one is likely to remain in the premiership to host top flight games

So, that’s 2 very good reasons why it has to be Tottenham Hotspurs for me to win the bid.  Having said this, I am concerned that the loss of the these grounds in North London will spell the death of the locality, as many like me, who live and work outside of the area have little reason to visit Tottenham without the pull of the Spurs grounds. So, with my London-wide assembly hat firmly on, I would advocate some serious stragetic thinking, because it would indeed be a great shame for a local area and it’s economy to lose out as a result of such a move as it would take many decades to replace the club with anything similar to the scale of presence which it currently commands in the locality.

As for the issue of other uses for the stadium, such as athletics, it’s hard to see how it can ever be filled again as it will be during the 2012 games.  This point was particularly well argued by Paul Hayward in his sports blog in the Observer yesterday.  His piece also highlights the rather more realistic and viable offer by Spurs to revamp Crystal Palace athletics stadium as part of the deal.  Even this long standing iconic venue  struggles to host more than one or two major events annually so it would indeed be non sensical if the Olympic Stadium were to be forced down a similar track.

Another argument which has been mooted against Spurs, are clubs leaving their home turf.  In fact clubs have moved around in London before.  Look at Arsenal which moved from Woolwich to Highbury and Millwall from the Isle of Dogs to Lewisham.  So this is not unheard of.  In fact this is a historic opportunity for a high profile club to make a similar move to a new and what will no doubt be an equally historic venue.

In the event that West Ham are successful in getting the Olympic site, Tottenham Hotspurs, Haringey Council and Transport for London (via the Mayor) will have to take a serious look at the approved plans and improve the transport infrastructure such as the Victoria line.  This will not only benefit away fans like myself but also the tens of thousands of loyal home fans who want to watch their team play without the inevitable stampede which now takes place.  Also not forgetting the many more residents who have to carry on with their daily lives and travel around their local area which must be incredibly difficult during the big games especially.

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