West Ham want Olympic stadium
Saturday 25 November 2006
Terence Brown believes there is a "real possibility" West Ham United's new Icelandic owners will pursue a relocation of the club to the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games.
Eggert Magnusson, who is set to take over from Brown as chairman, has said he would explore a move to the Stratford site. Brown believes the switch would benefit the club and make the Hammers the envy of London rivals.
"It would be great for the club to move into the Olympic Stadium," Brown said. "It could be a wonderful stadium for the club, holding 60,000-80,000 fans. I know there are problems, I know there is a requirement to incorporate track and field events but there are ways of accommodating these facilities.
"We tried to do a deal with London 2012 but the real problem was we did not have enough money. I think the new owners are keen on the idea and there is a real possibility they will go down this path.
"It could be a fantastic development for the east [of] London. David Dein of Arsenal tells me the prospect of West Ham in the Olympic Stadium frightens him to death."
West Ham announced on Tuesday that their board had accepted Magnusson's bid. Following the announcement, Magnusson said: "If there is an opportunity to discuss a long-term move to the Olympic Stadium, I would like to explore that, recognising that there will also need to be an athletics legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games."
The Icelandic consortium had competition from a group fronted by Kia Joorabchian. "They were desperate," said Brown of Magnusson's rival bidders. "With them, I felt we could have ended up like Chelsea or we could have ended up in the Conference."
The West Ham manager Alan Pardew, meanwhile, promised Magnusson "an East End welcome" and backed him to help the club compete for the game's big prizes. "I now find myself in an enviable position, and maybe there is an opportunity for us to challenge some of the bigger clubs," he said.
"One of the other bonuses is that Eggert Magnusson is already involved in the football world. He has had some senior positions, so his contacts are going to be useful."
He continued: "Eggert will receive the traditional East End welcome. I don't know if he is going to stomach the pie and mash, but he is certainly going to get a warm welcome."
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