Filed: Thursday, 3rd November 2016
By: Paul Walker
So somebody wants answers, frankly it’s about time because we should all be seriously fed up with the way West Ham is getting the blame for everything from the black death to the great train robbery.
To say I am a little surprised at the near-hysterical reaction to the intervention of new London Mayor Sadiq Khan into the Olympic Stadium fiasco is putting it mildly. Blimey, if I was following in the dodgy footsteps of Boris the buffoon, I would want to look very carefully into anything he touched involving money.
Khan wants to know why there is a £51million overspend on the restructuring of our new home into a place fit for football, and yes, I know there is a lot who have seriously angry opinions on that already!
Now I see many are upset that he is jumping onto a bandwagon that is already weighed down with critics. But in everything that he, his advisers and the new administration at County Hall have said so far, they have been careful not to blame us for anything. And rightly so.
They are after bigger fish than us. This, as must now be very obvious, has turned political. It has, in fact, been political since day one of the planning for the Olympics, and now Boris and his Tory mates have left office and Labour are back in control of London, this is only going to get worse.
And you know what, I believe that it will start to see the spotlight lifted from us, our board and Lady Brady, and onto the real villains - namely the bureaucrats, politicians, faceless quangos, the athletics elite and the stadium designers and planners who have left everyone with this dog's dinner.
Can’t everyone see that Khan wants Boris on a wire, something the blonde bungler made pretty famous during the Olympics? If Khan and the new regime have their way, Boris will be strung out for some time.
Up until now, everything that has gone wrong at the now London Stadium has been laid at our door. Be it the crowd problems against Chelsea, all that coin throwing and ‘aggressive pointing’ as one newspaper called it.
It doesn’t seem to matter to anyone that so little of the stadium issues are of our making, certainly not any of the recriminations surrounding the stadium’s design, construction and funding. And certainly not the initial nonsense over segregation, stewarding and the lack of police.
If I was Khan, I would want to know where the money has gone, who has been paid what, who decided what and when, and just how desperate Boris Johnson was to get the stadium’s future off his CV.
Don’t forget, he was our Prime Minister in waiting. A Olympic Stadium white elephant, unused and hugely expensive to maintain and mothball would have ruined all that glad-handing and picture opportunities that our pontificating rulers went through as they took the acclaim for a wonderfully successful Olympics.
And crucially, the much-peddled theory that the legacy and the financial aftermath would not further bother the tax payers.
Even the rightly much-maligned Dan Roan, the BBC man with his knife into us ever since the Tevez saga, managed to switch his wrath (just) away from our club and towards the people who made the catastrophic decisions pre-Olympics.
In one of his worthy pieces for the BBC website, he managed to talk about “those originally responsible”, and “who agreed West Ham’s remarkable deal” as well as finding out “why the stadium was not designed for duel use from the beginning. ”Hallelujah, it’s what we have been beating on about for years with nobody listening.
Even the new London bosses were talking about "how we should stop worrying about how West Ham acquired such a wonderful deal, to rather, who agreed to it in the first place".
Grudgingly, people are starting to stop worrying about Karren Brady’s negotiation techniques, and are now wondering how desperate Boris was to distance himself from the whole unseeingly wrangling, while he was concentrating on trying to stab David Cameron in the back and riding around the country in that bus covered in lies.
Brady couldn’t believe her luck. Here was a regime who would agree to virtually anything just to get rid of the problem. That she took full advantage is only to be expected. Why not? It’s only business.
And I don’t believe for a second that Khan’s inquiry will uncover anything untoward about West Ham’s involvement. Surely nobody believes that Brady and our board would have done anything at all in anyway underhanded. They may be a lot of things, but stupid in business. Not a chance.
This, from their point of view was surely going to be as straight as a dye, let’s face it, they were not really struggling to get what they wanted.
Khan has every right to look into the nuts and bolts of what was done before he reached County Hall, and as I have said, I bet he is not looking at us, but the people who mismanaged the whole thing from the start. And Boris.
Our club is absolutely right not to be making any statements on the situation, it’s nothing to do with us who made decisions and why before we were ever involved. And it is being pointed out the stadium was three-parts completed before they eventually started to talk to West Ham. We had no input.
I hope he soon sees that none of the construction work, the companies contracted and the costs agreed has anything to do with us. I hope, and believe, he will agree that we should have been involved in the initial planning from the start because it would have saved the taxpayers a fortune.
We all know that the pompous middle-class athletics mafia would not have anything to do with that nasty, money-making football industry. They were horrified at the obscene wealth of young men and their threesomes, gambling and wild behaviour.
All this while they have been defending, or turning a blind eye, to the most industrial drug taking scandal ever seen in sport, anywhere. Hypocrites.
And that brings me to the people who have really annoyed me of late, the rent-a-quote, gobby MPs and supposed experts. No, the stadium is not going to be pulled down. (Who would pay for a new one anyway, and where would we go for a couple of years?) Sheer nonsense.
No, the stadium is not going to be shut down because of a few incidents of coin throwing and a lot of pushing and shoving. And no, I am not trying to belittle what happened against Chelsea, anyone found guilty of pointing at rival fans should be banned, and seriously, anyone found to have thrown coins, plastic bottles and the odd seat , should hunted down and banned.
Brady is good at that, it seems. I just hope Chelsea are searching through CCTV footage to punish their lot. But don’t hold your breath.
Firstly, two ill-informed opportunist MPs are on our case. First up, Mark Field, (Tory, cities of London and Westminster, 9,671 majority). A job for life, you might say, must be hard to hang onto that seat?
But here he was talking about us playing behind closed doors and having to produce a detailed new plan inside 14 days on the stadium problems. Hang on there pal, Bury supporter and vice-chair of the Commons football committee.
Should he not have been aiming his attention on the people who have failed to handle the segregation, stewarding and policing at the LS? Talk about rent-a-quote, those MPs who find themselves on TV on Sundays dressed in cashmere cardigans, pressed cords and loafers sitting in pretty. walled Surrey gardens and spouting about whatever the TV people want.
It took me a while to remember where I last heard of Field, then the fact that he was all over the papers for shagging soon-to-be Tory MP, Liz Truss came up on my Google search (Don’t worry Ed, it’s all common knowledge, now).He clearly needed some new publicity.
Then there was his committee chairman, Damien Collins (Tory, Folkestone and Hythe, 13,797 majority) another with a job for life and the annoying habit of only getting half the story.
He wants to know why the conversion costs are so much more than for Manchester City’s Etihad stadium after the Commonwealth Games. Good grief, do keep up. It’s because City were involved from the start, the stadium was planned for football and the transition was easy and cheap.
Cheap though is not the performance of City this week I experienced from the newly built extension to the stadium as they smashed Barcelona.
A fantastic evening in a great stadium, seeing a team who have blossomed from mid-table also-rans to what they are now, and all due to big money, a stunning stadium and joined up planning. Think about it gents.
How come Collins didn’t know all that? Half cock, half the information. And this guy has form. He was the guy who, using the disgraceful ‘parliamentary privilege‘ was able to get away with bad-mouthing Neil Warnock of late in a committee discussing bent managers. Slander and actionable outside of Westminster.
The fact that Collins decided to drag up the Jason Puncheon incident again, and the twitter claims made about Warnock’s management style, was a disgrace. Collins was prattling away at another of those parliamentary committees, this one about football‘s governance. But he should have known that the FA fined Puncheon, the twitter stuff was taken down and Warnock was exonerated, something Collins somehow forgot. These are the sort of people taking pot shots at us.
Then we have Paul Fletcher, ex-Burnley and a stadium ‘expert’. He wants the stadium knocked down. What rubbish. I last encountered him when he was doing after-dinner speaking, and he does like the sound of his own voice.
But he did, pointedly, insist that he advised the stadium planners to involved West Ham and build a football style stadium right from the start. That fell on deaf ears…not surprised, are we?
So, let’s see what Khan’s lot come up with before jumping to conclusions. I bet he will have enough to do sorting out the planners, designers, policy makers and stadium admin to worry to much about Brady’s coup.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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