West Ham poll says no go as Olympic Stadium decision is delayed
17:15 15 May 2012
A poll conducted by a West Ham supporters group has come up with an overwhelming result in favour of staying at Upton Park
In the week where the decision to appoint a tenant at the Olympic Stadium has been postponed for two months, a new poll of West Ham fans has revealed an overwhelming number are against the move from Upton Park.
West Ham are favourites to take over the Stratford site in 2014, but legacy bosses have decided to extend the bidding process after issues arose surrounding naming rights, stadium improvements and governing body approvals.
After the problems of the original decision to allow West Ham to take control were withdrawn following legal problems, the legacy company are desperate to make sure everything runs smoothly this time.
Andrew Altman, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) said: “A number of issues have arisen during the process and we believe it is sensible to give everyone more time so they can be addressed.
“The fundamentals have not changed and it remains our intention to sign construction contracts for converting the stadium at the end of October, with the intention of re-opening in 2014 as previously announced.”
However, while all that is going on, a poll conducted among West Ham fans has concluded that the vast majority do not want to move.
Supporters group WHU’S VIEW polled 2431 supporters asking the question:
Based on all available information, do you agree with West Ham United’s proposed move to the Olympic Stadium?
An 86.6 per cent majority voted no, with just 325 people stating that they would like to move to Stratford.
However, West Ham have stressed that this is just one of a number of polls on the subject and others have delivered different results.
A Hammers spokesman said: “West Ham United is aware of many polls, including this one from a splinter group which is just one of a number of unofficial fan votes that have taken place over the past few months.
“Each has delivered a different verdict, including one recently that suggested more fans are in favour of a move to the Olympic Stadium than not and no doubt many different viewpoints will continue to surface from such surveys over the coming weeks.
“It remains the club’s belief that a poll of any description at this time would not be beneficial as we are unable to share all of the necessary information about our bid with supporters due to the constraints of the process.
“West Ham United remains committed to extensive supporter consultation, including an official poll representative of all supporters, once we are permitted to share our vision for the Stadium.
“We are confident that once our supporters can see the plans the vast majority will be in favour of the move,” concluded the statement.
Some of the comments made on the forms included: ‘West Ham should develop the East Stand at the Boleyn Ground’.
‘Supporters will stop watching West Ham if they move to the Olympic Stadium’ and ‘West Ham will be unable to fill the 60,000 capacity of the Olympic Stadium’.
Not all were negative though with one comment reading: ‘West Ham need to move to the Olympic Stadium in order to compete with the top clubs and maybe play Champions League football’.
The group, who state that they are neutral, but merely want the voices of the supporters to be heard by the club, have sent their findings to the LLDC, the Mayor’s Office, the FA, the Department for Media, Culture and Sport and to West Ham United.
It seems like the debate over West Ham’s future home is likely to keep on running.