Wednesday 3rd April 2012
Karren Brady has told LBC 97.3 she doesn’t think the West Ham fans “understand” why the club wants to move to the Olympic Stadium – but once they do they’ll fully support it.
She’s also blamed the way the competition is being run for not allowing them to show off their plans to fans.
The Hammers vice chair, who can see the Olympic Park from her boardroom window, has been leading on the East London’s clubs plans for more than 2 years. West Ham were nominated as preferred bidders last year to takeover the Stadium from 2014 before a legal challenge from London rivals Spurs & Leyton Orient forced the process to start all over again. Now they’re one of four bidders looking to become ‘tenants’.
Asked by our Olympics correspondent John Cushing whether she thought West Ham fans want to go she admitted many still need persuading but its not their fault.
“I think the fans don’t understand what it means to go. I think if their view is that what West Ham will do is pick up goalposts on a Friday and play there on a Saturday then I don’t think they do want to go. If they could see the vision we have for it that makes it a world class football stadium – I mean a stadium for football as well as stadium for athletics and that would mean certain different configurations in winter compared to summer months then I think if they understand the facilities, the views and the easy location in terms of transport they would understand that, but because of the way competition is run we’re not allowed to visualise for our supporters what the stadium will be if lucky enough to move their.”
A spokesman for the London Legacy Development Corporation (formerly the Olympic Park Legacy Company) said it was to make sure the competition was “robust” and fair to all.
The Olympic Stadium will become the home of British Athletics after the London Olympics and will stage the 2017 World Athletic Championships. The University of East London and Essex Cricket Club confirmed to LBC 97.3 last week they are also jointly bidding to use the stadium – but Ms Brady is quite clear West Ham and Athletics are the perfect permanent match.
“In terms of sharing the stadium I think as many uses as possible will make it very viable but I think there needs to be anchor tenants. It has to centre around football as the winter sport and the summer sport being athletics and then if can slot in pop concerts and one off large sporting events then I think that helps make stadium viable as well as community use.”
And fans used to going to the Boleyn Ground or Upton Park will also have to get used to a new name. The Legacy Company are looking to seel ‘naming rights’ but “as long as looks and feels like home for West Ham that’s all we care about – and I mean look and feel – we’ve got certain traditions we’d like to take with us and that will be important to us.”
Karren was speaking as her book ‘Strong Woman – Ambition, Grit and a Great Pair Of Heels’ which is now.