Should West Ham or Spurs Move Into the Olympic Stadium?

Both West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur have submitted bids to occupy the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, England once the 2012 Summer Olympic Games are over. West Ham’s bid is in conjunction with Newham Council, while Tottenham’s bid is conjunction with AEG.

So far, West Ham’s bid may be more palatable because theirs includes keeping the athletic running track around the pitch. Tottenham’s plan calls for the track to be removed which elicited this response from the chairman of UK Athletics: “[It’s] an insult to the whole Olympic project.”

The stadium, which would hold between 55,000 and 60,000 seats, would be an upgrade for both West Ham and Tottenham. West Ham’s capacity at the Boleyn Ground is 35,303 while Tottenham’s capacity at White Hart Lane is 36,310. Obviously either team moving to the Olympic Stadium would generate significantly more income for either club and would drastically reduce the cost of moving to a new ground if you compared building a new ground versus refurbishing the Olympic Stadium.

Out of curiosity, I calculated the distance from White Hart Lane to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, as well as the distance from West Ham’s ground to the Olympic Stadium. I knew that Tottenham’s ground was quite farther away, but by how many miles? The following distances are as the crow flies (while driving distances are shown in parenthesis):

  • West Ham’s Boleyn Ground to Olympic Stadium: 2.4 miles (3.4 miles by road)
  • Tottenham’s White Hart Lane to Olympic Stadium: 4.9 miles (7.1 miles by road)

It’s obvious to see which ground is closer but the distance as the crow flies is only 2.5 miles further for White Hart Lane. In London, though, that would seem like a much greater distance. In the map above, the letter ‘A’ denotes White Hart Lane, ‘B’ is Olympic Stadium and ‘C’ is West Ham’s Upton Park.

It’s not uncommon for clubs to move from different parts of the city. Arsenal is one of the best examples when they moved in 1913 from their Manor Ground in Plumstead to Highbury, a distance of 9.3 miles. Again, that distance may not seem like a lot but Manor Ground was across the Thames so it was literally near the other end of the city.

There remains the chance that both West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur could ground share. But the more likely and more practical solution would be for Tottenham to build their new ground near White Hart Lane, and West Ham to move from their Boleyn Ground to the Olympic Stadium. Gone will be the history and atmosphere of Upton Park. But for the club to flourish and move on to greater heights, the Olympic Stadium should be theirs.

What do you think? Should West Ham United or Tottenham move into the Olympic Stadium? And how pleased or not would you be if your club decided to move into the ground? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

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