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Why West Ham could overtake Spurs both on and off the pitch in future years

West Ham

These are exciting times for West Ham United. Not only is the current crop playing with a new-found gusto, not only are they eyeing up a potential European finish in the Premier League but beyond this encapsulating campaign—regardless of what it may or may not eventually yield—those who blow bubbles at Upton Park should feel as though they’re on the cusp of something stirring.

Next season will be the club’s final one at the enervating Boleyn Ground and while there will be tears in the eyes of those donning the famous claret and blue when the curtain comes down at this famous old venue, the club is readying itself for an emphatic thrust into the modern era.

That will become apparent in earnest when they take to the field for the first time at the Olympic Stadium in East London. Detractors have jibed they’ll never fill it, others will point to another bowl design ground in the Premier League that’s without character or tradition, but for the football club that will be calling it home, there is plenty to look forward to.

By securing what will be the third largest stadium in the Premier League, the club will propel themselves to the forefront of English football. The backdrop of the Olympic Park, the seamless transport links to it and the wealth prevalent in that area of the capital—Canary Wharf is just a 15 minute drive away—will make the club a much more attractive proposition to all, especially investors.

Just look at Manchester City. They too moved into a stadium left over from a major tournament (the Commonwealth Games) and although they technically remain tenants of the stadium—it’s still owned by Manchester City Council—that did little to prevent the Abu Dhabi United Group purchasing the club; the subsequent strides made by the reigning champions and replenishment of the East Manchester area is there for all to see.

While this move may not prompt an acquisition of comparable proportions—although both David Gold and David Sullivan have admitted they’d be willing to sell shares—it’s inevitable that money will come in for the Hammers. And that’ll only seek to enhance their performance on the pitch and their gravitas in pursuit of high quality players.

Tottenham Hotspur famously vied with West Ham for the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium amidst plenty of backlash from the supporters. It’s understandable that those who frequent White Hart Lane were furious about the prospect of leaving N17, but with Spurs still struggling to purchase all the requisite land to get their ground re-development underway—one local business is refusing to relocate—the Hammers could well overtake them in the coming years.

Indeed, Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly looking at a potential ground share with MK Dons during the 2017/18 season while work gets carried out, per the Mail Online.

Those factors will only make the Hammers—who will fancy their chances of rivalling Spurs in all facets once the ground move goes ahead—more attractive a proposition and although these supporters have erred on the side of caution in recent seasons, they and everybody else at the club should prime themselves for a shift in mentality.

It seems as though everything is in place for West Ham to go on an establish themselves as one of the elite team in the Premier League. In fact, even before the planned move to Stratford goes ahead, the club announced record revenue in 2013/14 despite a lowly 13th place finish in the Premier League, per the Swiss Ramble.

While long-term, the future is looking undeniably rosy, it’ll be intriguing to see the direction that the club pushes in for the remainder of this season and indeed the campaign prior to their move to the Olympic Stadium.

With an impeccable record for keeping teams in the Premier League—something that is imperative as the club get set for a new home—Sam Allardyce will surely remain in charge for the remaining days of the Upton Park era.

But what about when they officially become tenants of the Olympic Stadium? Will the club swoop for a boss with a bit more panache about his duties? Someone who will play an effervescent brand of attacking football to further expedite West Ham’s surge towards being one of the league’s most attractive teams? Much, you suspect, depends on their development under the current man.

Allardyce has shown encouraging signs in that respect. Although the vibrancy that oozed from their performances earlier in the season has seeped away somewhat as of late, the manager has shown a willingness to adapt his mantras as the club moves towards a cornerstone period in their history. 

The foundations are in place for West Ham and according to Karren Brady, there’s already “a strategy to deliver sell-out crowds” at what will be a 54,000-seat stadium. As with any side, that will ultimately depend on how things fare on the field, but you suspect there’ll be plenty of a claret and blue persuasion who are keen on seeing this grand old club’s ascension begin in earnest.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattJFootball


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  1. Derek Herschman

    February 5, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Spurs will have new owners; OUT Levi / Badini- By time new stadium is built,to become major force in England/Europe! Hip Hip!

  2. Tony

    February 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Oh Dear! Let me furnish you with a few facts. Most success on the pitch is related to the size of your wage bill, and that in turn is related to your turnover. The Deloitte Rich List published last week showed that Tottenham had the 13th highest turnover in Europe (and the world) with £181m. West Ham were 21st with a turnover of £105m, only £10m more than Sunderland, and only £15m more than Swansea and Stoke. Even if West Ham succeed in filling the Olympic Stadium on a fairly regular basis they will still have difficulty in exploiting it commercially. Suggestions have already been made by those close to the club, that because filling it will be difficult, they may turn to the approach the Scots have to rugby internationals. Namely filling the ground with kids, either free of charge, or for a tenner. If you look at Italian football, most of the top clubs have been held back by occupying municipal stadiums. As soon as Juventus built their own stadium, they returned to dominate Italian football, despite the aftermath of the refereeing scandal. Mention has been made of Man City and their stadium, and for the first few years they were only able to claim 50% of stadium revenue above the old Maine Road capacity of about 35,000.But this was never an issue for Man City as they had every intention of cheating FFP, and were indeed found guilty of doing so with their £49m fine last year. West Ham don’t have similar financial backing, and probably never will, due to their community approach, and smaller fanbase. Fanbase surveys have shown that Spurs have the fourth largest fanbase in English football, which makes Spurs attractive to investors and potential buyers. As you pointed out only Archway Steel are holding out against the new Tottenham stadium, and there is a High Court hearing in two weeks time, which may resolve this.Should Spurs get the go-ahead to build this, the likelihood is that Spurs will increase revenue by around £50m a year. This roughly the increase Arsenal achieved when building the Emirates. If we work on the basis of 27/28 home games a year(including cup games), 20,000 extra bums on seats at around £55 average= £30m plus. Then you add on extra corporate facilities, stadium naming rights, and other events like rock concerts, then £50m is achievable. A turnover of £230m is within reach for Spurs, and that’s just the start, as that increases your prospect of CL football, and the extra sponsorship deals that go with it. In the next few years that could put Spurs on a par with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool on the rich list.No West Ham will not rival or overtake Spurs, it’s more likely Spurs will rival Arsenal and Chelsea.

  3. Robin Burt

    February 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Great article Matt, I completely agree with your view on what the future looks like for the Hammers. As a West Ham fan for nearly 40 years, I do recognize that West Ham have for many of those years been the inferior team to Spurs (can’t believe I just wrote that) as it pertains to results and league table standing etc. What I do know to be true is that West Ham have this great opportunity to make a fresh start come the 2016/2017 season.
    I’ve said this on the pod several times before, moving into the new stadium will allow West Ham to improve on multiple fronts. Think about this for a moment, a Premier league team based in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, moving to a state of the art stadium with easy and quick transportation links to the ground. It is perfectly teed up for an investor to put their money behind a club that will only get better overtime as West Ham ups its profile in World football.
    There are many billionaire investors out there that see the premier league as a great investment or for some a toy to play with, what could be more perfect than West Ham’s situation. It would not surprise me if Gold and Sullivan decided to cash in on their investment over the next few years. They are West Ham fans and emotionally have the interest of the club in their hearts. But for them and more importantly they are shrewd businessmen, they are going to make the right kind of noises on and off the pitch to make West Ham an attractive business proposition for future investors. Going into the Olympic Stadium will most definitely up West Ham’s profile a hundredfold – it is the perfect stepping stone to attract new players, attract a world class manager (yes, Allardyce’s days are numbered). Off the pitch, my belief is the gates will increase, which in turn will attract larger sponsors, merchandise and licensing rights will increase. As the saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all Ships”, the effect will lift all aspects of the club.
    The proof will be in the pudding, but all the signs look positive for West Ham to overthrow Spurs and become the 3rd best London club in the Prem. Cheers and COYI!!

  4. Stewart

    February 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I enjoyed your article, as a West Ham fan. We still have a long way to go, but I appreciated you recognizing that things are looking up for the club. Few outlets seem to even recognize the positive things happening at West Ham these days.

    As for the absolutely typical Spurs supporters in the comments section, they should ask Mr. Levy why we couldn’t have Adebayor.

    • Matt Jones

      February 4, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      Cheers Stewart.

      Like you said, still a long way to go for your side but there looks to be a very bright future on the horizon!

    • Rob

      February 4, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      You couldn’t have Adebayor because he plays really well right when he gets to a new team and we (Spurs) don’t want to allow you to score more goals…

  5. Peter Goggin

    February 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Poor poor writing and an even work “click-bait” headline. Who let this through?

    Where was West Ham in 2011-2012? The Championship. A West Ham club that hasn’t finished higher then 9th(!!!!) since 2001(!!!)

    By your logic, Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle (Not to Mention Leeds who are stuck where? right the Championship) should all be challenging for Spurs annual 5th place finish since they all have larger grounds then Spurs. But instead they are routinely fighting to stay out of the relegation battle.

    As a US Spurs supporter I can also tell you that thanks to their many visits to the US over the last few years, Spurs are gaining a LOT of ground on the Sky Four. And in the DC market (which routinely has the largest BPL viewership in the states) I have NEVER EVER seen a ‘Spammers kit.

    I’ll agree that Spurs need a new ground, and hopefully it comes sooner rather then later, but please, no more “click bait” on this site. If you want to write about a club that is really making strides in the right direction why not talk about Southampton who have been on an “upward” trajectory the last few years, unlike West Ham who have muddled around mid to low table…and are a team who Spurs are truly scared of…….

    • Matt Jones

      February 4, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      “By your logic, Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle (Not to Mention Leeds who are stuck where? right the Championship) should all be challenging for Spurs annual 5th place finish since they all have larger grounds then Spurs.”

      Would take some issue with this point. Cleary cite that the location of the stadium will do plenty to attract players and investors. The lure of London isn’t something the aforementioned clubs boast.

      Have already written a piece heralding Southampton’s ethos. It’s here if you’d like to give it a read:

      Think the “Spammers” are well deserving of some praise, even if it’s not quite in your remit as a staunch Spurs supporter.

      Well entitled to your opinions on the other issues. Cheers for the comment.

      • Peter Goggin

        February 4, 2015 at 4:17 pm

        To be fair, my main issue was with the “click bait” headline. You’re right, I missed your article on the Saints a few weeks ago, maybe if it had mentioned how they were going to pip Spurs and Arsenal for 4th place in the headline I would have seen it…:)

        It sure worked this time since you got me!

  6. Joe

    February 4, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    I think the premise of this article is overblown.

    “there’s already ‘a strategy to deliver sell-out crowds’ at what will be a 54,000-seat stadium”

    Yeah, and I have a “strategy” to begin dating Kate Upton. LOL if West Ham thinks they are getting 54K a week at the Olympic Stadium.

    No doubt that West Ham’s fortunes will improve w/ the new stadium and the new matchday income, but to say they are going to surpass Spurs is ludicrous. Spurs have a larger fan base both in London and the UK, a small (but growing) international marketing foot print (West Ham has none), a first-in-class training facility that is listed as Europe’s best, and an Academy that rivals only Southampton for turning out top prospects in England.

    Yes, Spurs are taking forever to get their own new stadium, but once they do, I think Spurs wll be closer to Arsenal, than West Ham will be to Spurs.

    • Matt Jones

      February 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Cheers for your comment Joe.

      Like I said, I think much depends on the results on the pitch. It’ll be a cumulative effort, but if it all comes together there’s undeniable potential to tap into. Anyway, even if it isn’t completely full, the revenue earned by the club will increase.

      Spurs are obviously of more illustrious stature at the moment, but just look at what’s happened to City when they were in comparable circumstances.

      It’s hypothetical of course, but if the potential is used appropriately, then they can surpass them. Either way, there are positive times ahead for the Hammers!

      • Erik

        February 4, 2015 at 2:43 pm

        This is mental, absolutely mental. And to suggest the West Ham circumstances are anything like city’s is crazy. West Ham have had one moderately decent season (in which they are now predictably falling below Spurs considerably) and are getting a new stadium like so many other clubs have done in recent years – they are not going to overtake Spurs in any way, shape or form. Especially since Spurs are also getting a new stadium and have better facilities in other areas. West Ham are small club comparatively. Soon they’ll be a small club with a similar sized stadium to Spurs. Nothing about that suggests they will plug what is a massive gap between them and Spurs. Simple.

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