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Premier League

West Ham talk up 'stunning' Olympic Stadium

West Ham fans will watch their football in the "most stunning" sports arena in the country if the club beat Tottenham in the race to occupy the Olympic Stadium, according to Hammers co-owner David Gold.

Spurs' 11th-hour bid to move into the stadium after the 2012 Games brings them into direct conflict with their east London rivals, who declared an interest in moving to Stratford in January.

Tottenham insist that a move to Stratford is only a back-up option if their planned Northumberland Development Project fails to go through as planned.

West Ham, who would only have to move three miles to their new home if they are given the green light, insist their bid is far superior to their north London rivals.

"It will be the most stunning stadium in the country," Gold insisted.

"We'd have two million visitors a year coming to it because it's the Olympic Stadium and because it's West Ham, and we would be generating jobs.

"There are many reasons we have the edge. Billions of pounds will be spent on regenerating Upton Park. Spurs can't do that.

"We are linking our bid with the community. We are linking it with Newham Council.

"You will see a fantastic Olympics in our borough and Newham Council have been hugely involved.

"We've linked up to put together a bid that's sustainable, proper and should be adopted."

The board that will decide the stadium's future, the Olympic Park Legacy Company, have insisted that the running track which will surround the turf at the Games must remain in place afterwards as part of the government's commitment to have a new athletics venue in London.

AEG, the entertainment company who have partnered Spurs in their bid, said earlier this week that they would not be willing to keep the running track.

But Gold insists that West Ham would keep it, potentially giving them the edge over their rivals.

"With the running track, I was worried when we first started negotiations, but there are a number of stadiums that have received acclaim that have a running track," said Gold.

"Rome has one and Rustenburg in South Africa does too and that was considered the best stadium at the World Cup.

"The sight-lines of supporters will be as good as The Emirates and it's not beyond the wit of man to make some changes, where we can have temporary facilities on the running track, and they're removed for the athletics season, no problem.

"We are fully committed to honouring our commitment to the legacy by retaining the athletics facilities."

Gold admitted yesterday that he was baffled by Spurs' decision to launch a bid to move into a stadium which is eight miles from White Hart Lane.

David Sullivan went further than Gold in his criticism of Tottenham's bid, describing it as "a slap in the face for east London".

Sullivan also claimed Spurs would be so unwelcome in Stratford that a move there would cause "civil unrest".

Gold defended Sullivan's comments by insisting that his business partner had every right to air his opinion on a matter close to his heart.

"David Sullivan has been in football for 17 years and has earned the right to speak his mind," said Gold.

"He has invested a huge sum of money in saving West Ham. That club was on the brink of administration and he has earned the right to speak his mind, and I would not be one to criticise him."