Ever since they took control of West Ham in January 2010, David Gold and David Sullivan have been on mission to acquire the 2012 Olympic Stadium as a new home for the Hammers. With the news coming out this week that even relegation will not thwart the David’s in their mission to see the east London outfit move home, and that Boris Johnson has approved Tottenham’s plans to redevelop White Hart Lane, it seems as if it is inevitable that West Ham will be moving into the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games. But don’t West Ham have more pressing matters to deal with at the moment? Namely that they are currently sitting bottom of the table and are 5 points off safety.
People have quite rightly asserted that, even if West Ham do get relegated this season, it isn’t the end of the world because by the time it comes to actually occupying the stadium, they may well be back up in the Premier League. However, I can’t help feeling that in their earnestness to secure the Olympic Stadium, Gold and Sullivan are putting current, footballing, issues on the backburner. The notion of maintaining Avram Grant as manager, almost regardless of results and performances is absurd, and seems to tie in with their plans for the Olympic Stadium.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company are expected to make a decision on the ‘anchor tenants’ by the end of the year and it is seemingly very likely that it will be West Ham. But as the David’s prepare for West Ham’s future life in Stratford, it has been turmoil behind the scenes at Upton Park this week with Zeljko Petrovic leaving his post as assistant manager and Wally Downes being appointed as a defensive coach. At the most basic, footballing level, problems are being ignored, and having described relegation last season as being ‘Armageddon’ for the club, this season the duo don’t seem particularly bothered by the prospect.
Securing West Ham’s long-term financial future is one thing, but this must also tie-in with a short-term plan on the pitch as well, and the West Ham board don’t seem to have any contingency plans for when things go wrong. By the time West Ham are or aren’t announced as the new tenants of the Olympic Stadium, the club may well be in an untenable position in the Premier League, and in securing the Olympic Stadium they may well have also secured their passage to a stint in the second tier of English football.