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SBD Global/December 7, 2012/Facilities

West Ham's Move To Olympic Stadium Could Put Club Among Football's Elite

EPL West Ham United's impending move into London's Olympic Stadium "could mean ascent to football's super elite," according to Dave Hill of the London GUARDIAN. For London Mayor Boris Johnson it could "avert the threat of embarrassment in white elephant form." Whether it would represent "a true and lasting legacy for east London," as Hammers Vice Chair Karren Brady has claimed, "depends a lot on what you're looking for." The big-legacy picture that Games advocates have always drawn features "more than a thriving sports bowl in a handsome park." It "sketches an East End liberated from decades of struggle and neglect, from being the poor relation of London's rich centre and affluent west." That is "nice enough as targets go." If "convergence" is achieved because of an influx of healthier, wealthier people rather than by improvements of the lives of those already there, it "might not be a legacy to love" (GUARDIAN, 12/6).

MOVING ON UP: In London, Graeme Howlett wrote the prospect of moving to Olympic Stadium could "potentially allow this famous old club to rub shoulders with the giants of the English and European game." Yet that possibility is "anathema to some supporters who remain vehemently opposed to uprooting from the Boleyn Ground, our home for 107 years." A poll on the supporters' website KUMB.com conducted shortly after the London Games showed 64% in favor of moving. However, the previous poll conducted eight months earlier saw 61% of fans "vote against the move." Those against argue that the Boleyn Ground is "sufficient for a club of West Ham's stature." Yet, those in favor of moving argue that the "fantastic transport links mean fans from western Europe will only be a few hours away," and more seats "could mean cheaper tickets." Whatever form the move to Stratford will take, it will "certainly mean the end of homely West Ham United we know" (INDEPENDENT, 12/5).
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Facilities, Olympics, United Kingdom

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