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Geoff Hoon

Inside Lines: Hammers likely to get their stadium minus Olympic ring

The prospect of West Ham moving into London's Olympic Stadium after 2012 is becoming more realistic, with the Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell, now showing enthusiasm for the idea and John Armitt, chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, saying that staging both football and athletics there is feasible. So the ball is now in the court of the club's new vice-chair, Karren Brady, to help make it workable. And if anyone can help the hapless Hammers hit the nail on the head it is surely the feisty first lady of football. Her opening declaration was that she would like to see the Hammers move into the 2012 stadium and the club renamed West Ham Olympic. The latter is a pipe dream, as the International Olympic Committee would certainly put a block on it, so touchy are they about the use of the Olympic trademark. The main stumbling block is that West Ham would want to lease rather than buy the new stadium, and would also want to dismantle the running track that Seb Coe & Co have pledged is sacrosanct as part of London's Olympic legacy. Let's hope Brady and her two co-chairmen will have the wit and wisdom between them to work something out moneywise because, as the shadow sports minister, Hugh Robertson, says, it would be ideal to have the Hammers, the club slap bang in the middle of London's Olympic heartland, occupying it. "I have a high opinion of Karren Brady and want to see a proper, commercially viable legacy for the Olympic stadium post-2012," he says. "The issue of the running track can easily be overcome because the stadium is so much more compact than dual-use stadia of an earlier generation. West Ham would also be worthy occupiers because their community programme does so much for young people across the East End – which was a key 2012 objective." Some form of retractable or roll-over seating, à la Paris's Stade de France, could be a solution and probably would not cost more than a couple of mid-table Premier League forwards. Brady says she is "good at having ideas", so you can bet she will come up with something.

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