(N41) Football Story - so far... 17 April 2011

Football Roundup (6 April 2011)

Crystal Palace Park - has become mixed up in the heady politics of football and the Olympics.

On the 9th February 2011, West Ham Football Club won the backing of the Olympic bosses for the 2012 stadium,

the BBC reports:

the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) executives have decided that the offer from the club is a better solution then the rival bid from Tottenham. The OPLC board will be asked to support the view and announce the Hammers as the preferred bidder on Friday [11 Feb]. The Government and London's Mayor, Boris Johnson will then take a final decision in the coming weeks (Adrian Warner reports).

Done and dusted one might think.... but the saga continues with the announcement that Orient will challenge this decision. This followed a previous announcement from Tottenham that they might challenge the decision.

The problem centres around the main Olympic Stadium, designed as an 80,000 seater athletics venue and what will happen to it after the Games? It's a long way from our neck of the woods but the effect of the West Ham bid finally succeeding is that the Crystal Palace Football Club(CPFC), currently at Selhurst Park, have said that they mean to re-locate to the athletics stadium in Crystal Palace Park. Thus the existing athletics stadium (currently seats just less than 20,000 and is a well known and busy athletics venue) would then exclusively be used for football i.e. CPFC. This could produce a considerable planning challenge for the club!

Here's another potential twist -

then London will be left with a problem... a derelict, ex-Olympic stadium and no athletics left at Crystal Palace and, therefore, no significant athletics stadium in London! The financial strength of the West Ham bid, even though it is bolstered by the (controversial) loan from Newham Council, will not be helped by the fact that they are currently second bottom in the Premiership table (as of this weekend) and may be relegated. One other question for West Ham - their current attendance averages at 31477 (ITV football site) is this sufficient for the proosed new, larger stadium? It would only be about half full if the larger estimate is built.

Can athletics fill the stadium? The largest venue in London is Crystal Palace (15500 seats) and hosts many popular events which virtually fill the stadium like the London Grand Prix (5,6th August this year 2011). Is there sufficient following to fill the large Legacy Olympic stadium?

There are clearly other scenarios one could develop, but the speculation will have to wait until the issues settle down a bit - as the saying goes, don't hold your breath.

For the record, here are some of the reports on the issue, which have been collected on this website:

(N31) Football Story - How the Olympic Legacy might effect Crystal Palace - January 2011 (large file)
(N32) Crystal Palace Football,Club at the Park - from the supporters and the fanzine 17th and 18th January 2011
(N33) Crystal Palace Football Club reveals plans for a new stadium... in Crystal Palace Park (20 January 2010 - Evening Standard, Julian Bennetts and Ian Gibb
(N34) "trash our international reputation"? - Olympic Legacy argument continues; 24 January 2011 Jonathan Birchall, goal.com
(N35) London Football, Clubs - map by Ray Sacks, 24 January 2011
(N36) A 60,000 venue for track and field is a folly - Observer 16 January 2011; by Paul Hayward.
(N37) Mayor, Boris Johnson takes over Royal Parks - Evening Standard, 19 January 2011 Pippa Crerar, City Hall Editor
(N38) Spurs will not sell up if they win stadium bid, says Levy - The Guardian Friday 4th February 2011 by Owen Gibson
(N39) Store plans extension if Palace leaves Selhurst - Croydon Advertiser 25th February 2011
(N40) Spurs challenge Games stadium decision - Guardian Thursday 31 March by Jamie Jackson
N41 - this page
(N42) Orient Challenge to Newham loan - Guardian.co.uk by Owen Gibson 14 April 2011

Link to Olympic Legacy Company link to Olympic Legacy Co. website:


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31/3/2011 Last updated 31/3/2011;14/4/11