So this is it. West Ham United are one step closer to realising their dream and, controversial or not, it’s one hell of a dream to have if things all go smoothly.
The idea of moving away from Upton Park and into the wonderful Olympic Stadium is beginning to grow on many West Ham fans who were initially apprehensive about the move. The thought of the ground still having the running track and what that could do to the atmosphere at games wasn’t something fans were too positive about. But now the club have confirmed retractable seating will be put in place, the fans can sit back and witness what could be the start of a very bright future for the football club.
Firstly, the Premier League club’s value is going to rocket significantly, which will make it much more attractive to prospective buyers, regardless of its current £80million debt. That debt will have also shrunk by the time the Hammers finally move into the ground, adding even more value. In order to secure highest-bidder status, co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan have had to agree to hand a share of any profits made from a future sale of the club back to the taxpayer, which won’t be a problem for them because they didn’t buy West Ham for personal profit. They have the club’s best interests at heart and they are doing whatever they possibly can to improve the club on every level.
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Secondly, with Arsenal already in their own 60,000 seater stadium, Tottenham ready to build theirs and Chelsea possibly searching for land to build one, West Ham would be in danger of being left behind as the three big London clubs expand around them. A stadium of such capacity brings so much potential and brings scope for a larger fan base due to the attraction of such a fantastic stadium in a now famous area like the Olympic Park in Stratford. If the club are not able to keep up with the other top London clubs moving forward, it would be almost impossible to compete at the highest level in the future.
Then you’ve got the commercial opportunities the move will bring. The London 2012 Olympics was one of the most successful in history and the iconic stadium, in which so many dreams were realised by so many different nationalities in the summer, will remain a major attraction for tourists around the world for decades. With West Ham playing there in the best league in the world every week, their name will suddenly be on the map, attracting more fans, big sponsorship deals and worldwide TV coverage.
On the playing side of things, with the increased revenue from the likes of gate receipts, sponsorship and merchandising, the club will be able to afford better players on higher wages. The Financial Fair Play rulings won’t have the restrictive affect it might have if West Ham were to remain at Upton Park for the foreseeable future. We all know that with better players comes more points, which ultimately results in silverware and, dare I say it, regular European football in eventually the Champions League. Laugh all you like, but this is the exciting reality West Ham are currently faced with. I have said it before and nothing will change my view, with this move West Ham could become a true force in English football, if not European football. It’s a huge step for the Hammers, one that is going to take a lot of time, but one that could be hugely significant.
It isn’t a done deal yet, but it’s a step closer to an exciting future for West Ham United. It could be the waking of a sleeping giant in London. A giant that has never been able to properly compete with its London counterparts like Arsenal and Chelsea, but ultimately could be on the same level as them in the not too distant future.
As the famous song goes, “And like my dreams they fade and die, fortunes always hiding.” Not any more, Hammers fans, the club’s fortunes are coming out of hiding and our dreams are well and truly alive.
Do you think West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium could be the start of something special? Or do you think staying with their roots at Upton Park is essential?