Promotion tied up, now Allardyce wants stadium


For Mark Noble it was the perfect start to his stag week and for Sam Allardyce it made up for missing out on a trip to Las Vegas, but for David Gold West Ham's play-off victory on Saturday was priceless. Pressed, the joint-chairman put a figure on how failure would have hit himself and co-owner David Sullivan. "It would have cost [us] probably around another £30m. If you own 150 oil wells then it's no problem. If you own 150 Ann Summers shops..."

That £30m would not have been enough to hold on to players like Rob Green and Carlton Cole – not with Financial Fair Play due to be adopted in the Championship, a prospect that Allardyce said would have forced the club to slash the wage bill. Instead the manager can look forward to a return to the top flight with a team that looks well equipped to survive, Gold and Sullivan being prepared to invest to maintain Premier League status while they wait for the opportunity to move into the Olympic Stadium.

"I would like to see the stadium tied up as quickly as possible," said Allardyce. "I know a lot of diehard West Ham fans would like to stay where we are but believe you me, the way forward is to go to a venue like that. It would be like playing at Wembley every week."

Allardyce had booked a trip to Vegas to watch Amir Khan's world-title re-match with Lamont Peterson. The fight was called off and so, after West Ham's failure to secure automatic promotion, was Allardyce's trip. His wife, daughter and grandson went, though.

"They're eight hours behind so they're having a drop of pink champagne with their breakfast, I'm glad to say," said Allardyce.

There was relief, too, for the soon-to-be Mrs Carly Noble, whose wedding to childhood sweetheart Mark on Friday would have had a cloud hanging over it had West Ham lost.

There was a sour note to Blackpool's defeat, Ian Holloway having a screaming row with doping-control officials after the match. Holloway tried to gather his squad together "to tell them how proud I am of them", only to find Kevin Phillips and Barry Ferguson whisked away for drug tests. Then he turned to his ongoing struggle for funds with his chairman, Karl Oyston, and summer negotiations on wages and transfers.

"I'm almost not looking forward to those chats because he gets on his high horse and starts bellowing about, 'They're all wrong, everybody pays more than they should'," said Holloway. "But I'm not here to break the bank, I'm here to add to things.

"[Losing the play-off final] means another season of Championship slog, of 'Will we get people putting in offers for some of the young ones?' and 'Will we lose some of them?'," added Holloway, gloomily.