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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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  1. Kevin Slade

    March 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    What a lot of people are actually missing with this saga is that the Olympic Stadium is situated in the London Borough of Newham. ‘Newham’ is actually West Ham United’s home borough, not Tottenham’s (Haringey) or Leyton Orient’s (Waltham Forest.) The Olympic Stadium is also situated a stone’s throw from the old West Ham Town Hall, in the old Metropolitan Borough of West Ham. It is also very near to West Ham United’s roots (Thames Ironworks FC in Canning Town) and nearer still to the site of West Ham’s original Memorial Ground stadium, where they played prior to their move to the Boleyn Ground in Upton Park. As anyone can see, the whole area is steeped in the history of West Ham United, not Tottenham Hotspur or Leyton Orient’s.

    Another side issue to this is the fact that Tottenham Hotspur only wanted to move there as a ‘Plan B’ and that Leyton Orient have moved to various different areas when it suited them at various times throughout their history. They were once known as ‘Clapton’ Orient, which is a neighbourhood in the borough of Hackney. Should two clubs with no real links with the community or historical attachments to the area be allowed to just steamroller over West Ham United’s heritage and history for purely spurious or selfish reasons? Also, this talk of being ‘next door’ to Orient, or putting them out of business, is also spurious. Anyone with an intimate knowledge of the area will also know that there is a major rail line, a major road network (A12) various housing estates and a trading and industrial estate between Orient’s stadium and the Olympic Stadium. It’s hardly ‘next door’ or a ‘stone’s throw’ as some (Barry Hearn) would have you believe.

  2. Rob Heywood

    February 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I think the OPLC got it right awarding the stadium to West Ham, I don’t think the Spurs bid was a good enough legacy of the Olympics.

    See my post on it

    T.Lee I was under the impression Leyton Orient were moving to the Hockey Stadium?

  3. T. Lee

    February 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Great map, but you should’ve shown Leyton Orient’s stadium as well.

  4. joey

    January 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    First of all, I should say I’m a neutral. Either way it’s a tough call, and I’ve flip-flopped my opinion many times… but now I would be more in favour of West Ham getting the stadium. Why? As someone said above, you never know where a club will be in the standings 10, 15, 20 years from now. At least if West Ham gets the stadium we’ll know where the teams are geographically.

    The one thing I think we can all agree on, however, is that there should have been a lot more bidding/thinking/planning done BEFORE this stadium was built where it was. Luck of the draw to West Ham I guess?

  5. mark

    January 22, 2011 at 5:13 am

    For a start both teams need to stop moaning. Both have fan bases that could help them out in such a stadium. But rightly if west ham go along geography route then it should be leyton orients for taking. Before you all moan about not big enough fan base look at what happens in scotland with hampden park being home to queen of south regular attendance of 2000 or so. Spurs fans get over yourselves 16000 people to milan I remember geordies doing something similar when they went there and barcelona in early 90’s. oh and its only your first season in champions league when you drop back to uefa cup footy or should I say out of europe altogether what will you do then. Where as west ham have continuous fans any day, month, week, season.
    The fact is you are both trying to get new grounds on the cheap which is wrong if you want them you should pay money for them back to government then all this shit the country’s in may become a little less which is a start.
    The fact is it will be ruled over for the legacy and if spurs get it an injustice would have happened. Tottenham are as bad as chelsea and man city trying to buy everything and everyone they can good luck in 2013 when rules change. I hope crystal palace do get there plans to redevelop there new ground stick the nail right in the cockerals heart

  6. football genius

    January 13, 2011 at 2:12 am

    club A fighting for premier league survival. Club B fighting for champions league.
    one stadium requires binoculous when sitting at the last row. one stadium claimed to be the best in europe.
    Club A playing only english games (potentially hosting championship games). Club B maybe be playing high profile european games.
    Club A being run by pornographers. Club B being run by a Cambridge first class hounour.
    One club offers more financial benefits to UK Athletics compared to the other.
    So you do the maths ……..

  7. Hotspur

    November 19, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Its a tricky one but the Olympic stadium is going to be excellent for both transport and venue. The only trouble for me is wether the atmosphere we create at the lane will be the same at a stadium where you can be approx 10 metres or so from the pitch side?
    Spurs could fill it every single week but only if the ground actually meets our expectations. For that to happen we need to rip up the athletics track and that is easier said than done especially with the Athletics Officianados piping up.

    David Rawson: As for the north not getting new stadiums i suppose Eastlands was paid for by Man City?……NO!!!
    It was built for the Commonwealth games and GIVEN to City who are a NORTHERN team that inhereted a stadium paid for by tax payers in the SOUTH. Get a life you idiot!!!!!

  8. LezLane

    October 11, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    West Ham Cannot develop Upton Park any further & so it makes sense to try & get The Olympic stadium.yes 60,000 does seem a bit daunting when we currently can draw only 35,000 to Upton park but what everyone seems to be missing is what can happen in the future.Maybe in 10 years time West Ham might have become a huge club with huge success – Just look at Chelsea before the Russian bought them or Man City before they were bought none of these fans could have believed what would be around the corner for their teams.Go back 15 years & Liverpool were the Kings of English football if you had told Any fan that from 1989 till today Liverpool would not win another League title they would have thought you mad & yet that’s exactly whats happend.No one knows what or who will be the biggest or best clubs in 10 years time.

  9. Happy Hammer

    October 11, 2010 at 10:16 am

    WEST HAM should be given the stadium as they are the biggest fan base club in London. These fans are true fans not like some other clubs in london (Chelsea, arsenal and spurs). East London stadium needs an EAST LONDON CLUB. West ham could fill that stadium week in week out. When they were in the championship they still filled Upton Park every home game. Could any other clup say that? Im sure their fans would walk away because of lower league football. WEST HAM ALL DAY LONG

    • YID ARMY

      November 5, 2010 at 6:12 am

      you mug, spurs take 16,000 to milan you take 800 to united, we have the best support in europe,

      in a world full of city’s and uniteds there is only one Hotspur!!!!!!!

  10. David Rawson

    October 11, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Why should people from Sheffield subsidise West Ham, as London enjoys its THIRD Olympics?
    West Ham is owned by two pornographers. How do you justify public money being spent on the exploitation of women?
    It used to be owned by Icelandic bankers, who robbed British investors and Local Authorities.
    Its fans still indulge in 80s style rioting.
    I realise Londoners believe they are the cream who have every right to milk the North of England. But you are wrong.
    West Ham should pay for a new stadium if they want one. As they should have paid for Argentinian international players.
    I would have thought the best use of the Olympic Stadium would be to give it to Leyton Orient

    • MennoDaddy

      October 11, 2010 at 7:41 am

      You really think Leyton Orient can fill a 60,000 seat stadium on a weekly basis?! That’s delusional.

      • The Gaffer

        October 11, 2010 at 9:35 am

        The stadium could be downgraded in size to 20,000. Orient would have trouble filling that too, but at least it’d be a better option instead of a 60,000 one for the club.

        The Gaffer

  11. Gareth van der King

    October 8, 2010 at 5:36 am

    West Ham still have a football team?

  12. John Gregory

    October 8, 2010 at 1:24 am

    If West Ham move to Olympic Stadium, I’ll have to make the pilgrimage across the Atlantic to see one match in Upton Park. I’ve only been to London once and that was during the World Cup. I’d be hard pressed to wear my West Ham scarf with pride if I didn’t see one match there, even if it means flying all the way from Chicago.

  13. Stacy Richardson

    October 7, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I would hate to see a running track around a English league football site.

  14. soonerscotty

    October 7, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Ok, for an American fan who isn’t familiar with the histories of Tottenham and West Ham it was bloody confusing to use Upton Park and Boleyn Ground interchangeably. I was thinking maybe one was an older ground (a la Highbury)…but, it’s a good thing I can google.

    I learned something about West Ham…namely that their stadium is actually name the Boleyn Ground and is located in the Upton Park neighborhood of London. I’ve only heard announcers talk about Upton Park…never heard anyone refer to the stadium as the Boleyn Ground.

    • The Gaffer

      October 7, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      Sorry Scotty, I should have explained that better. Upton Park is also the name of the train and tube station nearest West Ham. But if you ask most Brits what the name of the ground is where West Ham United play and they’ll say Upton Park, which is technically incorrect. It is the Boleyn Ground. The same applies to Arsenal’s old ground. Everyone called it Highbury, but the actual name of the ground was Arsenal Stadium, which was located in Highbury, London.

      The Gaffer

      • soonerscotty

        October 7, 2010 at 11:14 pm

        No probs…and I just learned something about Arsenal/Highbury. Cheers to you good sir!

  15. simon

    October 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    M Reed, You cant take anything for granted in this league, betting hammers go down is as good a long shot spuds will overperform and make the top four again.

    • Matthew Reed

      October 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm

      I don’t now about that, Simon, I think that there is some good evidence to support my feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I like their club and their academy is legendary. They weren’t good last year and were almost relegated. They are not any better since last year and I really think the owners, despite good intentions are out of their depth.

      If America had anything worth wagering, I would place a friendly bet with you for a case of Ox crisps. 🙂

  16. blimey

    October 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    It would be a farce if Spurs really moved to Stratford!
    North London teams should stay in North London and a team called ‘West Ham’ should be in West Ham (Which is pretty much the Olympic site)
    DS & DG (Yes media whores they may be) have promised to offer cheap seats, particularly to schools ands community projects, this has got to the Olympic committees priority!

  17. Charles Boyer

    October 7, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Not many in Atlanta cried when the track in Olympic Stadium was removed after the 1996 games and the entire facility re-purposed for baseball. As I recall, that was also part of its financing too.

  18. PhillySpur

    October 7, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Stratford would be a lot easier for a tourist but since I’m only there once I year I’ll leave this argument to the locals to hash out. However, I will say that I hope whomever moves in gets rid of the track around the pitch. There aren’t many things that can take the atmosphere out of a stadium more than pushing the spectators back behind a track.

  19. LMAS

    October 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I’m a Spurs fan but want to see the club flourish as the pride of not just UK but Europe. That cannot happen with suburban roads and Northumberland Park/WHL as the only train access. The Stratford site will have a transport infrastructure that befits our excellent Olympic Park. As such it would be in keeping with the future for Tottenham Hotspur that all our fans want. Maybe its not on Tottenam High road but its closer than Arsenal are to Plumstead and unlike them theres only one Hotspur. Lets take the Olympic Stadium and make the post Olympic dream of better sport work. Athletics are not the only Olympic sport.

    • Sean

      October 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      You’re right, athletics are not the only Olympic sport. The thing is, nobody is arguing that.

      What people are arguing is the fact that the organizing group promised to build that facility with an athletics legacy in mind. Getting rid of the track just makes that a hollow promise.

      I have no idea what they should do. If I were Spurs I would not want to play in a stadium that featured a track around the pitch. West Ham on the other hand could have problems filling that unless they decided to splash cash they do not have in order to make signings before the European football’s financial regulations kick in.

  20. Matthew Reed

    October 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Wouldn’t 60,000 seats be too much for a N-Power championship team? I picked the hammers to go down this year, which at the early stages looks to be a fair bet. It is difficult to gather any confidence with the WH ownership group that they will even come back.

    • patrick

      October 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      Matthew, West Ham have one of the largest fan bases in England. They draw from London, Essex… The David’s may very well be media whores who just don’t know when to shut up, but they did a fair job at a lesser club getting them to the top level.

      Historically West Ham has a larger fan base then Chelsea… not saying we have the money they do, but its pretty clear how quickly a brand and club can be transformed.

      That said as a supporter of West Ham, I know who we are now… I know the drama over the past 8 years has been non stop. But I also have been at Upton on a Saturday and can’t even compare it to any other team or stadium experience in my life.

      so that that for whatever it is….


  21. Paul

    October 7, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    All Spurs fans want to see a new White Hart Lane and the Northumberland Road project looks amazing and has been approved by Haringey Council. Levy is just covering all the bases by bidding for the Olympic Stadium as a back up. He knows that Tottenham have over 20,000 fans on a Season Ticket waiting list and if the priority project is vetoed he is looking to accommodate them thus moving the Club forward as he has been since taking charge. West Ham are from East London and have Geographical priority but have been offering tickets at discount already this season, so increasing their capacity by approx 30,000 might be a little ambitious.

    • Matt T.

      October 7, 2010 at 5:10 pm

      I believe I read Spurs only put in a bid because they had to do it now or never have a chance again or something like that.

      • Ringo

        October 8, 2010 at 9:13 am

        Yeah, this was always a Plan B for Spurs. The only thing that muddied that up were some comments from AEG that hinted it was a very realistic option. Levy has put plenty of time, effort, and money into the Northumberland Project and it is not likely he would scrap all of those plans just because he could get a discount for moving the club across town and into the Olympic Stadium. This is a backup plan for Spurs and they only put in the bid now because they were told it was the last chance for them to do so. The West Ham brass needs to calm the **** down and stop talking about rioting. They’ll probably be a Championship team before long so I don’t know why they feel so entitled.

  22. Tongy

    October 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Spurs should stay in north London for 2 reasons: 1) It is our home, 2) the new plans absolutely dick all over that Athletics bowl. Let the bitching Hammers have it, their new chairmen have done nothing but brand themselves as media whores recently.

  23. MennoDaddy

    October 7, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Give it to West Ham. Keep the new White Hart Lane in Tottenham.

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