Sam Allardyce talks up importance of Olympic Stadium move for West Ham


West Ham manager Sam Allardyce believes a move to the Olympic Stadium is imperative if the club are to compete with London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.

The future of the stadium in Stratford has long been a topic of debate, with the Hammers denied tenancy last October following a legal dispute involving Leyton Orient and Tottenham.

Allardyce is aware of the heritage of the club’s cherished Boleyn Ground but insists a move is necessary to take the club on to the next level.

“I understand the history and tradition of Upton Park or the Boleyn Ground, but to really become one of the true top clubs in London, if not in this country, then a new stadium, is of the utmost importance to host the huge fan base that West Ham United have,” he said.

Allardyce, who today celebrates his 58 birthday, has pointed to the growing stadia of Premier League sides as a reason to follow suit and claim the Stratford venue so the East London side do not get left behind.

“We’ve seen Chelsea’s stadium grow and we’ve seen Chelsea grow into a major European side over the last decade, because of Roman Abramovich’s money,” he added.

“We’ve seen Arsenal move into a brand new stadium, 60,000, at the Emirates, we’ve seen Man United grow their stadium to 75,000, and I think that moving from West Ham into the Olympic Stadium is a must for the growth and the development of the club. And of course 60,000 seats are planned, I think, and that will satisfy everybody who wants to come to West Ham and a fantastic venue it could be too. We experienced what the atmosphere was like at the Olympics, you know, from that point of view that same atmosphere could be recreated as West Ham football team playing there.”

The move to the stadium has not gone as smoothly as expected as the need to preserve a home for athletics was central to London 2012's legacy aims, while fans have been cynical of the move, claiming the running track would kill the atmosphere generated at Upton Park.

However, Allardyce believes it is still worth uprooting as other European giants, including Bayern Munich and Juventus, have taken state-built stadiums for themselves.

“I’ve travelled the world of football and I think that every stadia, in most countries is built by the city or the town which is a stadium which is shared by all, it’s a multi-purpose stadium, so lots of big clubs have had to play there, particularly Bayern Munich for instance,” he said.

The former Bolton manager understands fans’ frustrations about the running track which will surround the pitch and agrees that it will be detrimental to the atmosphere generated by the West Ham faithful.

“But you look at what they’ve (Bayern Munich) built now and moved away from the running track and got themselves their own stadium where the fans come much closer to the touchline and that creates a much, much better atmosphere,” he said.

“If you go to Spain, with the old stadiums that creates an even better atmosphere. Because their health and safety rules aren’t as strict as ours, their terracing is steeper, much, much steeper, so the fans are even closer to the pitch than they are in England and that does create the very electric atmosphere that you’re looking for.”    

For more insight from Sam Allardyce and other leading managers plus exclusive Barclays Premier League highlights go to

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk