Why The Olympic Stadium Should Not Become A Premier League Stadium

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: A general view of the continuing construction work on the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on July 27, 2010 in London, England. Today marks two years to go until the London Olympic Games in 2012 and the London 2012 organising committee are launching their appeal for up to 70,000 volunteers to assist in the running of the Games. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur today made a surprise bid to move into the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 London Olympics. The bid now means that two Premier Leagues will be going head-to-head in a battle to be homed in the stadium after West Ham United also submitted a bit.

Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy admits the club are simply covering themselves as they continue to look for a new home,  saying: “It is only prudent and good management that we ensure that we investigate all possible options.”

But Karren Brady, Vice-Chair at West Ham feels that the Hammers are the most sensible choice. Earlier this year she told BBC Sport: “We are a natural, logical solution. We want to create a positive, vibrant ongoing legacy.

“We’ve made no secret of the fact we would be the best tenant and make the best use of the site where we can not only incorporate Premier League football, we can add athletics and we’re in discussions with international cricket and rugby as well.”

It is the fact that Ms Brady feels that a football stadium should incorporate other sports that is causing the debate. Lord Sebastian Coe, the man behind bringing the games to London, has already insisted that the Arena will be used as the countries number one athletics venue after the games, meaning the running track will remain in place.

I can understand why Lord Coe is insistent on the Stratford stadium retaining its Olympic heritage after the games, and for this reason both West Ham and Tottenham would be foolish to move in to the stadium.

Yes the facilities would be a vast improvement for both clubs, and I’m sure they would be able to attract more fans by moving in to the new arena, but the fact is that the spectator will only lose out with a running track in place.

Away from the pitch it is hard to generate an atmosphere; you almost become detached from the game itself. The atmospheres at Upton Park and White Hart Lane are amongst the best in the country. If either club moves in to the Olympic Stadium, you can guarantee that the fans would suffer, and this impressive vocal support would be diminished.

What do you think? Would a multi-use stadium really work in the Premier League?

20 thoughts on “Why The Olympic Stadium Should Not Become A Premier League Stadium”

  1. From the image you can see a shape of a Football pitch, will that be the actual distance between the pitch and the fans? If so then it’s a definite no-no.

    1. Well it’s an Olympic Stadium. I’m assuming it will also host some track and field events, hence you could see where a track could be put in.

      1. You must be the proof reader.

        If he had referred to “Stratford”, the actual location, this website and you “journalists” might have some credibility.



  2. You’d think by now there would be some technology to allow for one end to be mobile. They are able to make retractable roofs. Heck the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium has the entire field wheel out between games so that they can grow natural turf and move it into the indoor stadium for the game.

    I remember the Oakland Raiders moving to Los Angeles and playing at the LA Coliseum. It was a nightmare. Even from the television the game seemed dull and distant.

    I am really surprised that there has not been a discovery that allows for the stands at one end of the stadium to slide over top of the track. This would create a much more intimate environment for games which take place within the infield. Obviously at this point it’s too late for that. But does anyone really care enough to attend a track meet that doesn’t occur during the Olympic Games? It would seem to me that a college facility would be adequate for a non-Olympic meet.

    I hope Sebastian Coe put up his own money in financing a track stadium.

  3. For those Americans on this board, you could see the temporary seating that Boise State had over the tracks behind the end zones last week. probably could do something similar.

    Bayern played for 30 years in the old Munich Stadium. They did ok and had a good following.

  4. No good. For any sport. The wider sidelines in the NFL are living proof that this hurts the fan experience. The Miami Dolphins stadium is a good example. The lower bowl seats are not good due to the distance from the sideline. Compare the new NFL stadiums to the college stadiums which are older, and you cannot even compare. But fan experience is not the biggest factor in the decision making process for ownership groups. The Horseshoe in Columbus, OH used to have a track, and they made some vey good alterations. Not sure how they went about it, but perhaps that could be a jumping off point. I thought Spurs had some big plan to build right next to WHL?

  5. As a new fan of the EPL I have to say that one of the fun aspects of watching the games on TV is when games are played mere feet from the action. The energy from those fans is palpable and adds to the viewing experience. The older builings like WHL and Stamford Bridge in particular are venues that I hope never go away.

  6. just imagine if the Roma-Lazio derby could be even more intense if they didn’t play in a stadium with a track around the field.

  7. As a West Ham fan, I am torn. To leave Upton Park seems just wrong. Yet, since the team can’t expand the stadium any further moving seems a forgone conclusion.

    Moving the Hammers to the Olympic stadium would be right for London and the team. The stadium will need a tenant long term to keep it running so that athletic events can even take place… And talk of taking the entire upper level off and reducing the seats to 20,000 would be foolish and more importantly expensive.

    What has seemed like the best option is AEG and West Ham take over the stadium. AEG, which runs the Millennium Dome, would help pay for the conversion, run the non football events etc… West Ham would be positioned to have a venue centrally located to its core fan base. Newham Council and Coe and now on board with this proposal.

    Tottenham have already been approved by the Tottenham Council to build a mega stadium. And the Tottenham MP is against a move to East London for Spurs. So why did they throw their hat into the bag? leverage with the Tottenham council for give backs or they move. Anyone familiar with the Yankees new stadium knows this approach all to well.

    As for the sight lines and running track. They will figure it out.

  8. As a hockey fan, I can attest to the impact of being right next to the playing surface — amazing for a fan, great for the game.

  9. As anyone who unfortunately catches Serie A matches, the running track kills the experience. Even for TV viewers.

    As others mentioned, I don’t understand why they don’t invest in some sliding stands. Maybe they will go the ManCity/Eastlands route and are only paying lip service to the Olympic committee until after 2012.

    I saw a match at Upton Park years ago, where my friend became an instant supporter as the atmosphere was so great. Would hate to see the Hammers dilute themselves with an inferior fan experience.

  10. It’s almost impossible to get the right atmosphere if you play in a stadium with running tracks around the pitch. Just look at AS Roma, they are trying their best to get a new stadium right now…

  11. yeah, give it to the hammers. if they keep going the way they are, west ham will be playing non-league football in a shiny new stadium.

  12. Absolutely a bad idea! I look forward to matches played at WHL and Upton Park. Along with the atmosphere it is the history/heritage that you loose forever.

  13. With West Ham indicating that they will offer cheap tickets to youngsters and schools, if/when they move to the Olympic Stadium they are showing a 100% disregard for Leyton orient, a team which has existed much longer than West Ham, and is heavily involved in the community. There have been many other options suggested for the use of the Olympic Stadium after the games, but then big money talks louder than principles. The FA have also shown a disgraceful open disregard for the future of Leyton Orient. One therefore suspects that this is their attitude to all small clubs, which are the future of Premier Clubs and football nationwide.

  14. I must applaud Arsenal for tyinrg to play proactive football in this day and age when reactive football seems to be the way to go. However, Wenger sets the team up with too many creators’ and not enough runners’. Arshavin, Nasri, and Rosicky will always search for the ball to feet and don’t make off the ball runs to drag defences out of position. They play infront of their opposition and make it very predictable to defend against them.Now take Barcelona for example. They have Pedro and Villa making constant runs off the ball disrupting the shape of the oppositions backline. Not to mention Messi who also makes these types of runs when necessary. It’s not just movement that is the key to playing possession football, its movement in behind and off the ball movement. Some may say that Arsenal move alot, but that is just the creative players swapping positions and doing the same thing. I think Arsenal need to play Theo Walcott to help this problem. Sure he may have a terrible football brain and makes bad decisions, but his willingness to move off the ball will help Arsenal. He actually can finish quite well I might add, but I digress. Cesc has also added a movement element to his game recently so his return from injury will help. Maybe a midfield of Song,Wilshere;Walcott,Cesc,Nasri behind RVP playing as a false 9?

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