Thursday, 10 February 2011

Legal battle won't help Stratford situation

If the Olympic Park Legacy Company do decide to back West Ham's bid then we can concentrate on an important part of the season.

With our Champions League last-16 tie against AC Milan just around the corner, the last thing we need is the club threatening legal action over a stadium bid that was surely never viable.

Admittedly, it's easy to say in hindsight, but it now seems obvious that Spurs were never going to win over a committee or the public with a move to Stratford.

Aside from the trumpeted controversy over demolishing an expensive stadium and establishing "the legacy" at Crystal Palace - away from the site of the Olympics, there is an obvious problem with moving one of London's biggest clubs on to the doorstep  of another.

Spurs moving in next door would spell disaster for West Ham, especially if they are relegated this season. The OPLC will surely be keen to cause as little upheaval as possible.

All this before even thinking about the fans. I'm not staunchly anti-Stratford, at the end of the day I'm a Spurs fan and I'd like to think I'd support them whatever. But, being a Spurs fan means I've grown up with the club being based in Tottenham. 

And, however it is dressed it up as "moving with the times" or "growing as a club", a large part of what I associate with Tottenham would disappear. Currently, I know the pubs around the ground,  where to get the best chips, and that I see more goals in the Paxton Road end.

I know where I sat at each game over the years and who I was with. It makes the occasion much more emotive and heightens the sense of pride, identity and nostalgia. 

People have mentioned that other clubs have moved in the past but there can't be too many folk still make the long trip from Wimbledon to Milton Keynes week-in, week-out

I can't see thousands of Wimbledon fans still making the 40-minute trek to Milton Keynes to watch the Dons. And so what if Arsenal moved from Woolwich to north London in 1913?Football was nothing like as established back then and they didn't have a 130-year history to uproot.

Sadly, even as I write, stories are surfacing online that Spurs are preparing for a legal fight for the Olympic site. Like I say, I'm not totally opposed to the move but if does look like a lost cause, unlike our season - so let's hope the players can keep their mind on the football ahead of the Sunderland and AC Milan games.

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