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Billy Bonds against West Ham Olympic Stadium bid

The Olympic Stadium
West Ham want to move into the 500m stadium after the Olympics

West Ham legend Billy Bonds says he is against the club's proposed move to the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.

New West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold, who took control of the club on Tuesday, have said they would like West Ham to leave Upton Park.

"Personally I wouldn't like to see them move but can understand why they would want to," Bonds told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Obviously I'm in the same boat as every West Ham fan and have fond memories of Upton Park."

Former defender Bonds, who played for West Ham for 21 years, added: "They seem to think a move is vital in the progress of the club.

"The Boleyn pub and the actual ground - we all love that - but I suppose football today is all about money and getting people through the turnstiles and maybe that is the way forward."

The stadium is currently set to be reduced in size from 80,000 to 25,000 after the Olympics with the running track remaining in place.


Sullivan and Gold want to lease the stadium from Newham Council and are keen for the running track to be removed with the capacity being around 55,000.

The Olympic Stadium in Stratford is about three miles from the Boleyn Ground, the official name for West Ham's Upton Park home.

It is a similar arrangement that Manchester City have at their Eastlands Stadium, which was originally built for the failed 2000 Olympic bid and later used for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Billy Bonds
Bonds made over 600 appearances for West Ham

"If we could get this huge ground, we could take football back to the people," Sullivan said. "We could reduce the admission prices to the cheapest in the Premier League because we would have the capacity to do it."

Sullivan and Gold completed their takeover of the debt-ridden club which is valued a £105m on Tuesday. The pair are well used to turning around the fortunes of football clubs having taken over bankrupt Birmingham in 1993 and guided them into the Premier League.

However, supporters complained about season ticket price rises while they were in charge at St Andrew's.

A move to the Olympic venue would require approval from the British Government and the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), which pledged to adapt the £500m stadium into a venue capable of hosting major athletics events as part of its successful bid to secure the Games.

The OPLC says it is keeping an open mind on future use of the stadium and "not ruling anything in, not ruling anything out".

But Sullivan said he thought there was a better than 50-50 chance of the government agreeing to let West Ham become tenants of the stadium.

The former Birmingham co-owner also suggested it could be cheaper to build a new track and field venue elsewhere, with Upton Park a possible option.

There is also the possibility of keeping the running track but installing retractable seating, similar to that of the Stade de France in Paris, although that would require significant engineering work.

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see also
Hammers debt is 110m - Sullivan
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Gold & Sullivan take over Hammers
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham
West Ham want Olympic venue move
19 Jan 10 |  London
Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham
17 Jan 10 |  Premier League
Zola keen for takeover resolution
15 Jan 10 |  West Ham
West Ham hit by 115,000 FA fine
15 Jan 10 |  League Cup
Death hits West Ham takeover bid
12 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Top-flight finances stun Sullivan
11 Jan 10 |  Premier League
London firm to bid for West Ham
30 Dec 09 |  Business
West Ham debt repayments frozen
16 Dec 09 |  West Ham
Gold & Sullivan move for West Ham
09 Dec 09 |  West Ham

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