When London won its bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, it allowed millions and millions of pounds of funding to go towards the regeneration of Stratford, which was in dire state.
2012 was a huge success, and brought a brand new regenerated area of London, E20, which meant more jobs and more housing. The newest part of Stratford station was rebuilt, a brand new Westfield shopping centre was built, The Queen Elizabeth Park was built, and the London Stadium was built. It made Stratford a massive business location in the capital.
2012 was over… but what would happen to the Olympic Stadium? That was the question of everyone’s lips…
There were two main bidders interested in taking over the stadium – AEG and Tottenham, and West Ham United and Newham Council.
Before Tottenham made their plans to open New White Hart Lane – they were interesting in moving to the Olympic Stadium – with AEG, who turned the loss making Millennium Dome into the profitable o2 Arena.
However, West Ham United were always the preferred bidders to take over the stadium – as soon as they removed the proposal to get rid of the running track. They proposed to make it into a 60,000 all seater and also host international football, athletics, NFL, Cricket and LiveNation events.
The Hammers would eventually get the stadium – after a number of appeals from Tottenham and Leyton Orient, and work began on the stadiums so that the Hammers could move into the ground for the 2016-17 season.
WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?
It sounded like a dream move for the Hammers, moving just a few minutes away from West Ham on the Tube. But its turned into a nightmare for the London-based club.
The 2015-16 season was a successful season for the Hammers as they finished 7th qualifying for the Europa League in Slavan Bilic’s first season at the helm, hopes were high that the new stadium could take them to the next level, but all its done is cause nothing but trouble. Fans fighting, horrific home form, complaints of the pitch being too far away from the stands due to the running field.
The West Ham board thought that the new stadium would take the club – which was already on the way up – to the next level. The move brought a world-class stadium, allowed more fans to watch their team, and it was literally minutes away from their old home.
It brought excellent transport links with move, with Stratford serving the Central Line, the Jubliee Line, the DLR, main-line trains, and from 2018, the new Crossrail will be served at Stratford station, the new move would allow a fan who lived in Epping or further to catch a train from Epping and go directly to the ground in just 29 minutes – if you compared that to the West Ham station – it would take you seven extra minutes.
Fans started to fight each other, the club had problems with stewards, they couldn’t play any of the first three games of the 2017-18 season at home due to athletics conflicts, it’s really gone wrong.
I have many friends that are West Ham fans, and even a few that were lucky enough to be able to get a season ticket and the thing they moan about the most when we are talking about football is how far the pitch is away from the stands.
The dream that turned into a nightmare for West Ham… I mean, who would have thought that an athletics stadium wouldn’t work as a football stadium?