West Ham’s vice chairman Karren Brady has leapt to defend the deal made between the Hammers and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for the Olympic Stadium.
In an interview with the Daily Mail the business tycoon said the stadium would have fallen into disuse and the Olympic legacy forgotten if it had not been for West Ham.
This comes after supporters from eight football clubs announced they have started a petition calling for further scrutiny of the deal made between the LLDC and West Ham.
From the new stadium, she said: “Anyone could have bought this. Leyton Orient, the Qataris, anyone. But nobody saw it, nobody saw the potential here. So roll back that movie without West Ham. Taxpayers’ money would have poured into a big hole, been concreted over and never seen again.
“Now the stadium is nearly finished, everyone recognises what is here and says it’s a steal. But it wasn’t a steal when we were doing the negotiations, because where was the queue of rival buyers? Without West Ham this would have been pulled down. It was going to be 25,000 with no roof.
“And what would have happened then? Who would have come to that stadium? That’s a legacy? Tottenham just wanted to flatten it and start again. So no Olympic Stadium at all. This is going to be an asset, a national asset. We shouldn’t have to keep justifying ourselves.”
West Ham’s end of the conversion is £15million, while the government pay £257million, yet Brady is insistent it was the LLDC’s decision to make them anchor tenants, while West Ham had initially looked to buy the stadium outright - picking up most of the costs.
She said: “The LLDC recognised they had made a mistake by not working out the legacy, saw all the other Olympic Stadiums that were left to rot and decided something permanent had to happen.
“Our choice was to buy and convert. We would have paid for the floodlights, the roof, the seats, the toilets, the turnstiles — everything would have been down to us. We could easily have funded £200million, particularly with the new television deal and we would have kept all the revenue, giving us a calendar year of income.
Explaining the secrecy behind the deal she said: “This is a multi- purpose stadium. Other people will want to use it. If all they have to do is open West Ham’s contract and see the figures, that’s the end of the negotiation, isn’t it? The LLDC have no position.”