Tottenham confident of Olympic Stadium bid

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Tottenham are confident they can win over the doubters in their bid to take over the Olympic Stadium after finally breaking their silence on their plans for the site.

Yesterday saw Spurs confirm they would demolish most of the 80,000-seater athletics arena and replace it with a 60,000-capacity purpose-built football venue if they win the bid and decide to relocate from White Hart Lane.

As expected, the club said they would also revamp the Crystal Palace athletics stadium to fulfil the legacy commitment made when London was awarded the 2012 Games.

Unlike bid rivals West Ham, Tottenham remained silent over their plans until yesterday, just over two weeks before the Olympic Park Legacy Company select their preferred bidder and less than two months before the final decision.

Convincing the OPLC is only half the battle for Spurs, who continue to insist they will not decide between the Olympic Stadium move and the redevelopment of White Hart Lane until a preferred bidder is chosen, despite the latter being around £200million more expensive.

They face serious fan opposition if they choose to relocate, but project architect David Keirle believes the naysayers will ultimately be converted.

He said: "I was heavily involved in the Man City project.

"Nobody wanted to leave Maine Road.

"A few years down the line, nobody would ever go back.

"I've been looking at the chatrooms and there have been some quite emotive comments: 'I'll never go there'.

"But if Spurs plays a very big part in your life and they produce this wonderful stadium and they're winning then I would suspect those people would reconsider that down the line."

Tottenham MP David Lammy and fan group 'We are N17' have led the protests to the Stratford move with their 'No to Stratford Hotspur' campaign.

Lammy said yesterday: "I fully support the money spent on the Olympic Stadium, but for it to be only used for a month before being demolished is a diabolical waste of public money."

The original plan for the Olympic Stadium was for it to be reduced to a 25,000-seater venue for athletics, and Spurs' proposal includes renovating Crystal Palace into a similar-sized arena.

West Ham plan to reduce the stadium to 60,000 but Tottenham insist it would never be anywhere near full for athletics events.

That has not convinced the British Olympic Association, who yesterday announced they wanted it to be retained for such use.

Lammy also claims Tottenham quitting the Haringey area will devastate the local economy.

But Keirle insists they have no intention of abandoning their responsibilities on that front - partly because it would cost them money on land they have already purchased as part of their alternative proposal to rebuild White Hart Lane.

He said: "We've spent the last months working up masterplans for a regeneration based around a sustainable development of residential and retail and hotel and community use.

"We're not going to see one of the poorest areas of London laid waste. It's of no interest to Spurs to do that."