Much has been said about West Ham’s bid to move into the Olympic Stadium and most will agree when I say the whole farce has gone on for way too long now.
But amidst all the debate on what the stadium should be used for in the future, one question still remains unanswered. How important is this move for West Ham?
There is no hiding a way from the fact it will generate further revenue for the club in the shape of sponsorship and gate receipts. But what else could West Ham expect if they do indeed win the right to move in?
There will be a domino effect right from the start. It won’t happen over night, but I feel the club will benefit hugely from a move that could eventually propel them into the Premier League’s top four.
There’s the extra money that can be made on match days alone for starters. Owners David Gold and David Sullivan have always made it clear that ticket prices will go down, but with the extra 25,000 tickets that could be sold on a match day, there will be a pretty significant rise in income, and that’s without the sales of overpriced burgers, hotdogs, pies and club merchandise.
Upton Park will also be sold off for tidy sum, which would no doubt help pay for any re-developments at the new stadium and clearing any debt that the club still owes.
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Sponsorship deals will be more lucrative because of the sheer volume of people companies will be able to reach out to and a deal will no doubt be made for the stadium’s naming rights, which is always worth a few million quid if the right company comes calling.
From these increased revenue streams the club will have extra money to add to the wage bill and for signing better players. Of course this has to be done within reason, especially with the imminent Financial Fair Play rules coming in to place. But Gold and Sullivan are renowned for being pretty careful when it comes to wages and transfer fees so there shouldn’t be any room for worrying about any deals that could jeapordise the club’s financial situation. There will be no more Keiron Dyer-like signings, that’s for sure.
Now, with a better team in a bigger stadium and with more money coming in to the club, West Ham are suddenly regularly competing for a European spot and memories of a relegation battle every season are quickly forgotten.
Multi-millionaires, or even billionaires, suddenly see the Hammers as a viable investment opportunity. Where there is money to be made there are wealthy people looking to make more money by buying their share of the pie.
Suddenly, depending on the wealth of said investor, West Ham are now worthy contenders of a Champions League spot. West Ham are now able to compete with the Premier League’s elite and it’s all rosy in East London. Everyone lives happily every after and the club’s fortunes will come out of hiding for good.
Now, that is an extreme domino effect, though it’s one that isn’t completely unrealistic, but is based on probability and my own personal dreams.
It won’t happen over night, of course, but that’s the sheer reality of what West Ham might come to expect if they are handed the keys to the Olympic Stadium. With a 60,000 seater at your disposal, anything is possible.
We could sit here all day and talk running tracks, lack of atmosphere and the apparent inability to fill the stadium on a regular basis but, that’s all speculation.
The running track will probably be hidden by retractable seating, which will allow fans to be closer to the pitch, which will help create a proper football atmosphere, which will ultimately attract more fans to the ground. There’s a way around anything and, with possibilities come opportunities.
This is a massive opportunity for West Ham to realise their dreams, to begin looking forward. Currently, the club is seventh in the Premier League following an immediate return from the Championship. The owners have steadied a ship that looked very close to sinking quicker than the Titanic only a few years ago and manager Sam Allardyce has got his players performing and getting results against the division’s top teams.
The early foundations are there, in place and being executed perfectly. The next step now is moving to a bigger home and making some more money. Many hate the idea of leaving Upton Park, our home, for good, as do I. But the reality is that we can’t have it both ways.
The chance of the club getting the Olympic Stadium hangs in the balance at the moment but the choice is a pretty easy one to make: Stay at Upton Park and remain a mid-table Premier League club with the very occasional challenge for a European spot, or move away to a bigger stadium and grow as a club and regularly compete in the upper echelons of the world’s most sought after league and challenge for silverware.
I know what I would rather do and so do the owners, which is why they are doing their very best to secure the stadium for this great football club. Call me an optimist, but this could very will be the future of West Ham United.
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