West Ham off to 10 Downing Street
West Ham launch their bid for the Olympic Stadium with a trip to number 10
Applications for the site must be in this week and the Hammers, who have joined forces with Newham Council, will look to get a head-start on the rest by sending six players and six youngsters from Cleves Primary School close to Upton Park, to deliver a copy of the bid to Prime Minister David Cameron.
Ian Tompkins, who has been working full-time for the club on West Ham’s tender for the Stratford site is confident they have delivered the best possible application.
“We have put a lot of thought and work into our bid and we are confident that it is the right way forward not just for West Ham, but for the area as well,” he said.
Scott Parker, Matty Upson, Robert Green, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Carlton Cole and Mark Noble are the players expected to go to Downing Street, though they are not expected to meet the Prime Minister.
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West Ham’s bid has received support from the influential Lord Coe, while they have also had promising discussions with the owners of the O2 Arena – AEG – as well as the NFL in America, Essex County Cricket and the English Cricket Board about using the facility.
However, there still remains opposition among some fans and supporters groups about the move, and in particular the presence of a running track around the pitch.
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Tompkins is aware of the mood, but believes there is a long way to go before the final plans are put together and that those fans may be pleasantly surprised.
“I am always monitoring the fans’ opinions and I have had discussions with a lot of them, but what I really want is to take the supporters down to the site and show them what it is like.
“It is so intimate. The fans are nearer the pitch than they are at Wembley by eight or nine metres, and nearer than some Premier League grounds,” said Tompkins.
“The groups I have taken down to see it have been very impressed and a little surprised and I think taking a look would allay a lot of the concerns of supporters.
“We are confident of making the shortlist and then we can look at things in a lot more detail and that means listening to everybody and trying to make it the best stadium we can.”
West Ham should hear if they have made the shortlist in late October, with the final decision being made in around March of 2011.