Questions, questions, questions

The more this protracted, tiresome Olympic stadium debate continues, the more worrying questions it throws up.

Now we discover that Steve Lawrence, the architect initially responsible for the Olympic Park is revealed as the 'anonymous objector' to the EU that brought about the collapse of West Ham's plans to take over the Stratford stadium after this summer's games.

Mind you, the first question is, who really knew that Lawrence was the man behind the complaint?

He insists it was not an anonymous complaint. So did the Government know, did Boris know, did the OPLC know and more to the point, did West Ham or Newham Council know?

Lawrence maintains that the stadium is not right for football, and was never designed for such an outcome.

He also maintains that football is the only financially viable professional sport that can make a success of the stadium in the future. Yes, you have guessed it....why was the stadium therefore not designed with a football heritage in mind Mr. Lawrence? You must have had some part of that decision making. Good grief, sometimes you just couldn't make it up!

Simple, this. The stadium is a circle. Football is played in rectangular stadiums. As is rugby, and actually athletics. The only sports that seem to survive in circles is cricket and the various mad forms of Aussie sport.

And although I have been generally browned off with Orient owner Barry Hearn's involvement in all the legal stuff, he is actually being shown to be right on this point. The stadium was a cock-up right from the start.

Now Lawrence is suggesting that the warm-up track can be converted for the athletics legacy, and the stadium should be converted for West Ham and Orient to share as a football ground without a track.

Much the same as the Manchester City model following the Commonwealth Games. Manchester Council had City's involvement from the start, before a spade ever entered the ground because they knew it would be a white elephant otherwise. It is only the smug athletics world (yes, you, Seb Coe) who insists that athletics can survive financially in such a giant stadium.

City agreed to give Manchester Council their former home at Maine Road, in exchange for a long-term lease at Eastlands because the authorities could never have afforded to maintain the ground otherwise.

So the stadium was built with a submerged lower tier of seating that was dug out after the Commonwealth Games, with the track being removed, and now City have a perfect stadium for their future use. They were not given it as a gift, they actually made the Commonwealth Games possible in Manchester.

And athletics have a smaller, viable converted warm-up track for their use.

It has been asked before, but here goes again. Why on earth was the Olympic stadium not planned along such lines of co-operation? The warm-up track in Stratford would be more than adequate for athletics' needs. But then the Olympic athletics organisers were too pig-headed to admit to such a position.

Lawrence is now saying that he complained to the EU in October because he feared that the ?40million loan from Newham Council could be considered illegal state aid. Why did he take so long?

He fears that if West Ham sell off the Boleyn and move to Stratford, any football club at a later date (Spurs or Orient, we must assume) could complain to the EU, and if they won their case then West Ham would have to pay back the loan or even pay for the stadium. That clearly could not afford and we would have been homeless, because the stadium would have to be handed back to the authorities.

Lawrence even suggests that West Ham would die. Now the real question. Just how much of this possibility did West Ham's board know? How long ago was it suggested to them that they were playing with fire and could in effect, put our whole existence in danger?

If they didn't know, did the Government or Boris' lot? Or even the OPLC? It worries me that such a fundamental part of the pre-planning did not throw up this possible outcome. Lawrence seems to have known, why was it not considered fully much earlier?

Or was the political authorities, and West Ham, so desperate to get a future legacy in place before the Games took place, that such little problems were ignored or swept aside in the head long desire to make the Olympics a success?.

Yes, the same Olympics that has produced a ticket buying fiasco (now isn't that a surprise) and a furious attempt to make the rest of the UK believe these games are for them, all-inclusive.

Now these days I do not live in London, and have not been swept up in Olympic fever. I do not hear the Olympics being discussed much in my local pub (Man City and Man United hold sway there, and West Ham when I can get a word in edgeways).

I don't know anyone who has got tickets or even applied for them. But I hear plenty of complaints that taxes and lottery money from outside the south is paying for it all rather than schools and the NHS, and we should be grateful for a few football matches in Cardiff, Coventry, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow. Plus a fleeting sight of the flame when it goes off around the UK. Ok, I digress, rant over.

Back to the Olympic stadium future. I sense that too much energy was thrown at making the whole thing work and for a Government not to be saddled with a white elephant stadium, than to consider properly West Ham United's future. Our club. Our heritage.

It looked a good business plan. Our board sold the Boleyn, paid off the debts and moved to a stadium with the potential of vast wealth from naming rights. But that is now not the case.

We are told we are still interested in just renting the stadium, but not having any revenue from naming rights. And with the track staying.

Please remind me: Just why do we want to go there? Heard reckons that even the seats are not at the right angle, to make watching from the lower tier very difficult.

Answers please from everyone. The Government, Boris, the OPLC, and of course our own beloved board and Ms. Brady, who says she has devoted two years of her life to all this. And this is the mess we are left with!

Incidentally, the best match I have seen this week was on West Ham TV who showed our outstanding youth team in their very unlucky FA Youth Cup defeat at Chelsea.

I had not really seen much of the likes of Elliott Lee, Blair Turgott, Dominic Vose, Leon Chambers or Matthias Fanimo before from my vantage point in Cheshire. But there are some genuine stars for the future here - and what a cracking game.

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