London 2012 - Brady hails Olympic Stadium decision
West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady heralded a momentous day after the Hammers were unanimously voted as the preferred bidder to move to the Olympic Stadium after London 2012.
After more than four hours of consultation this morning, the Olympic Park Legacy Company confirmed that West Ham met all five of their criteria, and had been unanimously selected by the 14-strong OPLC board.
Brady has been leading West Ham’s PR offensive in an increasingly bitter slanging match with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy regarding the merits of the two bids.
West Ham have promised to maintain the athletics track in the stadium and have accused Spurs of plotting a ‘commercial crime’ in planning to tear it down and create a purpose-built football arena.
The process is yet to be to completed and still needs to be ratified by two Government ministers and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and as a result OPLC chairman Baroness Ford would not divulge specific details of the two bids.
But it appears West Ham’s commitment to the athletics cause, combined with their comparatively lower cost in renovating the stadium, has proved pivotal.
"Today is a momentous day. I would like to thank the Olympic Park Legacy Company for making us preferred bidder and acknowledge everyone involved in what has been a truly professional process,” said Brady.
"I would also like to recognise the significant contribution of Newham Council, who have shared in our exciting vision from day one, and thank our supporters for trusting in us to take West Ham United to a new level.
"We are proud to have been passed the Olympic torch and fully embrace the responsibility we have for keeping the flame alive.
"We have been working on this project for some time now and are just at the starting line of the race to make this a stadium that will really make the nation proud.
"With our partners we know exactly how to do it. We are working on realising our proposals already. We would like to say far more but fully understand we are still under the process and must continue to respect it - as we have to this point.
"To West Ham supporters, I look forward to extending our consultation process - now that we have the mandate from the OPLC to do so - and I guarantee their views will continue to be heard. We simply cannot wait to show them around this impressive and intimate stadium so they can truly experience the awe and excitement that all who visit are compelled to feel.
"The club is run by supporters and today is another great day in our proud history. This will be your stadium and an atmospheric home for generations to come. Our vision is to move forward always with an eye on the past. We have been granted a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow our club in a way its huge fan base deserves and to really give something back to the community of which it is such an intrinsic part.
"The nation has kept its promise and we'll keep ours. I promise.''
West Ham’s bid was made in conjunction with Newham Council, who have promised to honour a commitment to the local community.
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales added: "We are delighted by the announcement. We think this decision is the right one and the nation will be the biggest winner.
"We are pleased the OPLC has recognised our bid. London won the right to host the Olympics by making a promise to leave a lasting legacy, not just for us and our children but for future generations. It will inspire people in Newham and beyond.
"We were delighted when public opinion supported this view, and this overwhelming public support has been recognised by the OPLC.
"Our bid is about giving something back to the community, to London and the country. We will make the stadium a magnet for visitors across Britain, Europe and the world, to view and participate in a wide range of sport and entertainment fixtures.
"We want to create a situation where people will feel good about community education projects and more. That means every member of our community could access the Olympic Stadium. Spectacular events drawing huge crowds could sit side by side with community activities. You could go to a Madonna concert - then sing on the same stage in a community choir the next day."