As Leyton Orient chairman, Barry Hearn, moved to confirm a motion to secure a judicial review of the decision that gave the Olympic Stadium to West Ham, Tottenham fans might be left feeling that they have dodged a bullet in missing out on the Stratford site as a location for their new home ground.
In a week where Tottenham took a big step towards the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the initial disappointment of being forced to re-examine plans for a new ground has diminished. Orient’s vociferous challenge of the Olympic Stadium decision may well put a fly in the ointment for West Ham’s bid team, although with the major saving the Hammers are getting by using the existing site, expect the board to remain firmly behind the move.
There is now so much negative press surrounding the plans for the Olympic legacy, that all talk surrounding the rival bids has become tarnished. The International Olympic Committee has been openly critical of what they deem a violation of the sporting legacy promised to them when the games were awarded to London in 2005.
Hearn believes the move could cripple Orient and seems in no mood to back down over what he believes is a pivotal moment for his club; “Give us the respect, the decency and the right to put our case forward.”
There may be a storm brewing over Stratford, but could Tottenham not have done more to bring the project home? I was surprised to see the bid team not make more of the Hammers’ Premier League struggles this term and question the merits of awarding such a prestigious arena to a side struggling financially and one that may be playing at a lower level by the time they take residence after the world leaves London.
Questions remain as to how committed Daniel Levy was to the Olympic bid in the first place. Alternate plans have long been discussed and conspiracy theorists have suggested Levy only used the bid to manipulate the cost of building on top of the current White Hart Lane plot.
Whether or not this was a flawed plan remains to be seen. Tottenham, despite offering to develop the athletics facilities at Crystal Palace, were always deemed second favourite to land the bid.
Levy may well argue that by admitting to scrapping the athletics track from the outset, Tottenham were hoping their honesty would be enough to topple a West Ham bid that many believe will ultimately result in the removal of the track anyway.
We should not forget that the white half of North London remain determined on constructing a new stadium, and despite the failure of the Olympic bid, these plans have not been shelved. Despite opposition in some quarters, it does appear that the threat laid down by the Spurs board to up sticks and move away from North London could become a reality, with costs for a redevelopment at White Hart Lane rocketing.
So, where do you stand? Can Tottenham fans count themselves lucky to have missed out on a project that may well face a messy legal battle in the coming months? Should Daniel Levy have done more to protect the Olympic legacy with the Spurs plan, or are we witnessing a long game from the chairman?
If you want to read more ramblings, feel free to join me on Twitter. I’ll be trying to justify staying up until 1am to watch a Sex and the City repeat I’ve already seen…
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