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Stratford: the Dale Farm of football?

Filed: Tuesday, 11th October 2011
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United could be without a permanent home should the club's board decide to push ahead with plans to move into the Olympic Stadium.

As a result of the OPLC's about turn earlier today, any successful bidder in the hastily re-arranged bidding process will have to re-apply for tenancy on a regular basis, according to reports.

All of which means that should West Ham prove successful with any forthcoming bid - which, according to vice-chair Karren Brady this morning, the board intend to make - the club will never be more than a matter of seasons away from being potentially homeless, should they sell the Boleyn Ground to developers as planned.

Also in serious doubt are the club's plans to make the stadium suitable for football; limited to a short-term lease, it is extremely unlikely that the club would consider spending the millions it would have cost to add a full roof and make other essential adjustments, such as introducing temporary seating and branding the stadium in the club's colours.

This will also have to be done without the 40million previously promised to West Ham by Newham Council in the shape of a loan on favourable terms - the agreement that Sports Minister Hugh Robertson admitted this morning was at the heart of the decision to re-start the bidding process.

Already Hammers supporters who previously supported a move have spoken out against the club's new plans, citing the lack of a secure, long-term lease as the main reason for objection. Meanwhile others are calling for the club to ditch plans to move to Stratford and instead focus on redeveloping the aging East Stand.

To date, West Ham fans have never been consulted over the move by the club's owners. Since this morning's decision was announced, a 'No To Stratford' campaign has begun on Twitter whilst the tag #savetheboleyn is also trending on the popular social network.

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