Skip to content

Lose Upton Park and you lose a gem of English football

Mar 21, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Getty Images

For some ridiculous reason – likely that 5 letter word that begins with ‘m’ and rhymes with ‘funny’ – West Ham United have gone ahead and agreed to a 99 year deal with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to become the primary tenants of Olympic Stadium.

The agreement is a major step towards resolving seven mind-numbing years of negotiations. The deal means the East End club will get a sparkly new, 60,000 seat stadium at a marginal upfront cost. Hammers majority owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, will invest at least $228 million (the majority of which will come from the public’s pockets) to convert the stadium and make it suitable for football and other sports. Part of the plans include retractable seats and a new cantilevered roof, so that supporters won’t get their heads wet when they’re chucking coins at John Terry.

Sounds like a pretty sexy setup for West Ham but there are still some snags that need to be worked out.

First, West Ham is required to pay off its $106 million in debt by the the 2016-17 season when the club moves into its new digs. This shouldn’t be too difficult as Gold & Sully plan on using the proceeds from the sale of Upton Park (for redevelopment) to keep the banks happy.

Second, Leyton Orient’s owner, Barry Hearn, is making a stink about seeing out judicial review of the decision to award the Olympic Stadium to West Ham. Without a hint of irony, Hearn claims that awarding the Stadium to just one club will “crush” his club and that sharing the palace would be a much better idea. Hearn concedes, however, that his appeal is unlikely to be successful.

Whereas the first two issues are unlikely to hold up the deal, the final concern – that West Ham still needs to sell the supporters on the plan – could prove tricky. And damn right it should! Tearing down Upton Park would be a disaster for English football.

What would a West Ham match be without without a shady, adrenaline-pumping, stroll down Green Street?

How are fans supposed to enjoy pitch invaders – drunk on London Pride and the claret and sky blue – when they won’t even be able to make it across the track before being tackled by the Yellow Jackets?

And what if bubbles don’t travel as well in the Stratford air?

These are just a few of the questions West Ham fans must ask themselves before they cozy up to the swanky new Olympic Stadium.

The electric atmosphere surrounding Upton Park is one of the few remaining glories that defines English football. I, for one, will be bummed if it disappears.

Latest Posts
  1. David Moyes vilified on return to Everton, as Manchester United nightmare continues

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Everton v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Everton’s old boss the villain on return to Goodison, as pastures new prove to be a nightmare:

  2. Berbatov scores a very Berbatov goal to send Monaco to the Champions League

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT

    Berbatov Getty Images

    With the cheekiest of chips, Dimitar Berbatov sent Monaco to the Champions League with his winner against Nice.

  3. Villa owner Lerner releases head-scratching statement

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:09 PM EDT

    Lerner Getty Images

    Randy Lerner released a pretty useless statement on the Villa website today, refusing to rule out a sale of the club which has been reported in recent days.

  4. Everton 2-0 Manchester United: Toffees rampant in miserable return for Moyes

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    Baines, a transfer target for Moyes and United, came back to haunt his old boss. AP

    Nightmare return for Moyes, as Everton do double over United for first time since 1970:

  5. Video: Sunil Gulati believes US Soccer is headed in right direction

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:35 PM EDT

    Gulati Getty Images

    The US Soccer Federation president talks USWNT coaching search, men’s World Cup goals, and MLS growth with NBC’s John Strong.

  6. Miami mayor hits back at Beckham stadium critics

    Apr 20, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Gimenez AP

    With the Miami port vehemently against the new stadium deal, Miami’s mayor comes to Beckham’s side.

  7. Hull City 0-3 Arsenal: Full-strength lineup sees Gunners cruise

    Apr 20, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    Arsenal

    Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil were back in the starting lineup and Arsenal looked like a rejuvenated bunch.

  8. Watch Live: Everton vs Manchester United (Lineups and Discuss)

    Apr 20, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT

    Moyes Getty Images

    David Moyes returns to his old home as Everton continues their fight for a Champions League place.

  9. Ramsey marks Gunners return with Hull City opener

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT

    Ramsey Getty Images

    It’s been nearly five months since his last goal, but Aaron Ramsey picked up where he left off to give Arsenal the lead at KC.

  10. Norwich City 2-3 Liverpool: Sterling, Reds with one hand on the title

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

    Sterling Getty Images

    Raheem Sterling shined and they held off a charging Norwich at the end to go five points clear at the top.

  11. Watch Live: Hull City vs Arsenal (Lineups and Discuss)

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT

    Ozil AP

    Mesut Ozil returns for Arsenal after a 6-week absence, can he lead Arsenal’s charge for the top four?

  12. Report: Danny Welbeck considering leaving Manchester United

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT

    Welbeck AP

    With a reduced role under David Moyes, Welbeck may search elsewhere in the Premier League for a better managerial relationship.

  13. Sterling and Suarez tear Norwich apart in opening 10 minutes

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:13 AM EDT

    Sterling Getty Images

    The Reds are well on their way to going top, but Norwich are battling with attacks of their own.

  14. Watch Live: Norwich City vs Liverpool (Lineups and Discuss)

    Apr 20, 2014, 6:37 AM EDT

    Rodgers AP

    It’s all on the line for both teams this morning in a massive game for each end of the table. Liverpool can put one hand on the title trophy with a win today, going five clear at the top.

  15. Premier League Sunday Preview: Liverpool’s chance to tighten its grip; Fourth place in focus

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:57 AM EDT

    Steven Gerrard AP

    Liverpool can go five clear before David Moyes makes his return to Goodison Park.

  16. MLS Roundup: Sporting climbs to first in East; RSL stays undefeated

    Apr 20, 2014, 3:53 AM EDT

    ned_grabavoy_javier_morales Getty Images

    Dallas stayed at the top of the Western Conference, while Seattle improved to 3-0-1 on the road.

  17. Late Martins goal gives Seattle full points at Chivas USA (video)

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:39 AM EDT

    Obafemi Martins 2

    Seattle’s high-priced strike tandem produced another late winner, giving the Sounders their fourth win of the season.

  18. Grabavoy winner prolongs Portland’s agony against Real Salt Lake (video)

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:51 AM EDT

    nick_rimando Getty Images

    Two huge saves in the final minutes from Nick Rimando keep RSL unbeaten.

  19. Sporting Kansas City takes care of business against Montréal, 4-0 (video)

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:05 AM EDT

    dom_dwyer AP

    Goal difference has the defending champions on top of the Eastern Conference.

Featured video

PST Extra: Race for the PL title