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October 2016
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If you live and work in the UK, you pay for West Ham United, no matter who you support.

By Tony Attwood

In my recent article on state aid for West Ham United, I made the point that not all the awful details of how the state (which means all of us who live in the UK and pay tax) is paying for West Ham’s ground had yet come out, although those that had, were bad enough.

Now the next set of awful revelations are emerging, and will be expanded in a BBC TV programme tonight.

The BBC have discovered that not only is West Ham United getting the actual Olympic Stadium for a fraction of its real cost, it will have the running costs paid for by all of us who live in the UK and pay tax.

In short, while Arsenal had to pay over £400m for their new stadium, and naturally pay for all the staff who work there, and all the costs of running the place, West Ham are getting all of this for almost nothing.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request some of the contract between WHU and the state have been revealed, although much is still hidden, which makes us wonder how much more the likes of Blacksheep and I are going to have to pay to keep WHU in business.

Stadium utilities, security, maintaining the pitch, and even the goalposts and corner flags are being paid for by those of us stupid enough to remain in the UK and pay tax to our WHU supporting government.

The BBC say that they “understand other overheads that could also be paid by the LLDC include the cost of stewarding and policing on match days, which amounts to many hundreds of thousands of pounds for other Premier League clubs.”

This is State Aid on a gross scale, and ends any thought of balance and equality in government treatment of clubs.  West Ham have now become State Aid FC.

Even Man City, until now the obvious recipient of government largesse, at least paid their overheads.   But not the club previously known as West Ham.

Chris Bryant, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said “To all intents and purposes, this is a contract which gives West Ham the stadium at a peppercorn rent at most or, to be honest, for no rent whatsoever.

“The question is, if we were able to see the fuller facts and figures, which I think we should, would we be even more angry?

“We’re talking about such enormous sums of money that I think most British taxpayers would want to know what the deal was that was signed on their behalf, and that’s the first hurdle that the government has got to cross.

“If it doesn’t come through then I think the demands for a full public inquiry will grow and that’s the point at which I’ll start to want to join in those.

“It looks to me as if, because there was only ever one player that anybody was really interested in, that Boris Johnson bent over backwards to accommodate them and West Ham ended up with a deal which is astoundingly good for them.”

West Ham’s reply has now been revealed to be a lie.  “We are more than paying our way,” is simply quite untrue.

West Ham’s contribution of £15m towards the £272m conversion costs was an utter and total insult to every taxpayer in Britain, as it came just as PL clubs shared out at £5,100 million TV fund, meaning WHU could afford to pay a proper price.

Asked why a multi-use stadium was not designed and built in the beginning, LLDC chief executive David Goldstone said: “I think that wasn’t possible at the time.  There wasn’t an offer of a football tenant and, without football, it wouldn’t have worked.

Exactly how good this “astounding” deal is remains unclear while so many pages of the published contract have been blacked out.

So will the EC act on what appears to be a flagrant breach of the state aid regulations?  They are investigating 12 clubs at the moment including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, PSV Eindhoven, Willem II, NEC and others.

But for the EC to act they need an affected business to complain, and so far the obvious complainants are staying quiet.  Tottenham and Chelsea are facing huge bills when they move out of their stadia for rebuilding work, so they should complain.  Arsenal paid for its own ground and should complain.  Charlton and Leyton are nearby and they should complain.  Better still they should all complain together.

“State aid rules in Europe are there for a good reason, which is that no government should be giving financial advantage of whatever kind to one commercial player over another commercial player,” said Bryant.   “These are very real issues that are already affecting other football clubs in Europe.

“If it were subsequently proven that there had been illegal state aid provided to West Ham through this deal, then West Ham would end up having to pay back any potential financial advantage that might have accrued to them, which could run to the best part of half a billion.”

West Ham’s co-chairman, David Gold, wrote “you are badly misinformed” on Twitter in response to the claim that taxpayers will foot the bill for policing and stewarding costs at the stadium from the 2016-17 season.   State Aid FC also issued a statement saying the taxpayer would benefit from food and beverage sales at the Olympic Stadium adding, “It is clear that the linking of the naming rights to West Ham United generates real cash value for the LLDC and the taxpayer.”

Cue ribald laughter.


Arsenal v State Aid FC takes place on Sunday.

40 comments to If you live and work in the UK, you pay for West Ham United, no matter who you support.

  • alex

    Maybe tottscum and Leyton borient should keep schtum, as they also bidded for the place. Me..? Am laughing at you whingers, admit it, you’d love it if it was your club.

    Am buying my discount season ticket next season… Thank you all.

  • jules

    Sooo how much extra tax will this cost the average individual?

  • Kaff

    No wonder Mr Levy was keen for Spurs to have use of the Olympic Stadium!!

  • TailGunner

    “State Aid FC”. Brilliant! Keep that one rolling.

  • Visitinghammer

    You are making the mistake of believing the media who are only revealing the negatives because they are the headline winners. West Ham will also give up all catering rights to the owners of the stadium and most of the naming rights of the stadium. How much do Arsenal receive for their naming rights? I’m not pretending for a second that West Ham would equal that but that could be the type of sum that we are talking about every season in the very near future.

    If you rent a house – the landlord pays for everything except the rent. What is the difference? West Ham are tenants. Is anyone asking how much is being taken in rent from the Rugby World Cup? Athletics? Concerts? No is the answer that you’re looking for.

    Manchester City rent their stadium for £4m a year and no-one bats an eyelid (good luck to their fantastically loyal fans – they deserve it. 30,000+ in the second division? dofs cap). West ham will be paying 2-3 times that a season.

    Don’t forget that West ham wanted to buy the stadium but were stopped by Spurs (spit) and their legal loopholes.

    The reason why everyone is having a moan about this is simple – London journalists who are fans of other clubs. West Ham represent a very real threat. David Dien said that years ago. Search Google eg:

    The effect of West Ham taking up residency in the Olympic stadium will be enormous. David Dein, the former Arsenal director, has said that the prospect of West Ham in the Olympic Stadium “frightens him to death”. Dein understands that the only thing that has historically held West Ham back from emerging as a “superclub” has been the parochial attitude of successive boards, an inadequate stadium and undercapitalisation. The club’s support, its brand and its ability to compete in the Arsenal catchment is undoubted.

  • Jambug

    I see Boris is getting all uppity about working class folk exercising there right to strike over working conditions.

    Perhaps he should reserve his indignation for the Millionaire owners of West Ham United who have somehow managed to rip of the Country to the tune of Millions of pounds.

    The same with the media. I’ve lost count of the amount of biased, anti Union, news items I’ve had to listen to.

    Perhaps the ITV, BBC, Sky news teams etc. would be better served venting there spleen at this piss take of the British tax payer, than forever having a pop at hard working, working class men and women.

  • Carl

    A great deal for us agreed but to blame the stadium fiasco on West Ham is bang out of order. Ask yourself what the alternatives are would you prefer to see it stand empty for years but the taxpayer still have to fork out for it? West Ham £15 upfront and £2m per year for 38 exclusive days per year which is all over the news not mentioned is UK Athletics £1m upfront but €0 per year. Add in 90% of match day catering revenue and 70% naming rights plus the potential to host other events at a stadium underpinned by a primary revenue generating tenant. Even you and the obvious lack of research must remember this was built for the Olympics and the original incompetent decisions with regards to the design have directly contributed to the additional cost now required !! Affordable football on the horizon unlike the £1,000 plus some other clubs charge …. now just the little matter of the stamp duty on the old place … no chance I suppose … all the best except for Sunday go easy on us … you are my tip for the title with a little bit of luck fingers crossed rather than that classless rascist west london mob.

  • Hammerite

    très intéressant, mais illusoire – ouest étaient la seule solution viable pour le stade olympique

  • Carl

    How have West Ham ripped off the country to the tune of millions? I keep reading all this anti-WHU rhetoric but I am still waiting to hear of a viable alternative that guarantees the same revenues … with you on the anti-union media …

  • Ironman

    Just one problem… when you, the BBC etc etc do the numbers, you are only looking at one side of the equation. The ‘cost’ of the stadium is ridiculously high because it was not designed with football in mind from the start. .. not West Ham’s fault. The other side naming rights, revenue from catering… who knows or cares how the City of Manchester agreement compares to West Ham’s? No point in finding out… gets in the way of a good story.

  • colario

    wet spam are winning 1-0 after 20mins. If it stays like this they will go through to the next round.

  • gumbo

    i have to disagree with the comments as a gooner i do accept that its very unfair but blamming westham for the goverments cock up with the venue and not making it a multi purpose venue in the first place is disgraceful yes the spammers are getting a fantastic deal but lets be honest would you rather it go to ruin like the 02 ?? secondly westham have had to pay 40 mill and 3mill a season rent each year (not alot i know). as they dont own the ground the olympic legacy is sub contracting all restraunts kiosk and turnstilles to the highest bidder.

  • gumbo

    25 mill for retractable seating by the way

  • colario

    its 1-1 This means wet spam are out unless they score a second.

  • colario

    2-1 to astra

  • Jambug

    Another away goal though and they’re right back in it.

    Extra time and penalties maybe?

    Oh dear 😉

  • Jambug

    Not that it matters of course what with West Ham player there reserves with Bilic saying he’s prioritizing the Arsenal game.

    Still, when I’m helping pay there bills they obviously don’t need the extra money the EL would earn them. Nice.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    INCREDIBLE! Isn’t it for West Ham FC to have the London Olympics Stadium for free. I think it will be accountable if the Olympics Stadium leasers make available the whole deal of leasing the Stadium to the Hammers, failure to do this will imply the Leasers have skeletons in their cupboards they won’t want the tax payers to know. But since the Untold have brought the flagrant unfairness to the public knowledge, I believe investigation will eventually takes place and consequently West Ham will be compelled to pay for what they legally have to pay for. Talking about the West Hammers visit to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. They won’t have any service for free at the Emirates Stadium. They will pay for any service lawfully rendered to then. And the Gunners will collect all their hammers and hammer them thoroughly with them during the the game. I have something to say about the Gunners but I’ll wait for your next article to say what I want to say.

  • Notty

    Why are people still going on about the Olympic stadium,?
    Constant digs from other clubs mainly in the London area , give it a rest please.
    The Dartford tunnel , built in the sixties, a toll ever since, at the time of construction tax payers were informed that it would be free after eight years, that did not happen did it , tax payers are still playing.
    What ever you pay in taxes it will be used in one way or another, to some likes and to others dislikes, Using the excuses for taxation is purely jealousy rearing its ugly head.
    West Ham, ok they might not be paying what most clubs are paying for their grounds, but they are giving back football to the local supporters, season tickets half the price of the some what bigger clubs.
    Chelsea, on the brink of going under, a foreign billionaire comes in their hour of need and now they are one of the elite, is that fair to the premier clubs?
    One other thing, what would the Olympic stadium become if a premier club did not take residency or whom would of paid for the conversion – the tax payers .

  • TailGunner

    This has been known for some time, but it’s the BBC who are going large with it. Untold will of course continue to keep it “live”

  • LosMatillos

    A big thank you to all you Arsenal supporters for helping cough up the money for our new stadium.

  • colario

    For those who cannot see the program can we have the important points fro it please. Thank you.

    wet spam are not in the Sunday league. What was the point of entering it if they were not going to take it seriously.

  • Jambug


    It’s cost them injuries and red cards.

    Why did they just not turn up for the first game and be done with?

    Pathetic really.

    Don’t get me wrong I can understand them resting 2 or 3 ‘vital’ players but basically just throwing the towel in !

    As I say, pathetic.

  • apo Armani

    Bludgers United!!

  • porter

    Perhaps a fine for bringing the competition into disrepute

  • Pat

    Jambug @ 6.44

    Spot on!

  • Ironman

    Wet Spam… Goodness, that’s funny! You know, that’s the first time I’ve heard that. Good luck on Sunday, btw. Whatever happens, those that know, know and any of you that have actually been to a game will understand we’re too bothered by you’re ‘funny’ jokes. Still, you’re not Spurs…

  • Robert

    West Ham threw the game because they won’t take any chances of being relegated this season.

    For starters, the new mega TV deal starts next season – and that’s estimated to be worth a minimum of 100m a year to the bottom-ranked PL club.

    But more importantly for them, imagine how silly they will look if they start their taxpayer-funded existence at the Olympic Stadium in the Championship.

  • Gouresh

    Its a brilliant piece of business and anyone will say that. If it were us, we would be delighted as well. On awarding the site to WH, some pockets were greased, surely? We as supporters or tax payers can only raise this with the local MP’s and we know what the answers will be. Its the local clubs who should be fighting this together.

  • I think the comments today give us a fair idea of where some State Aid Utd fans are coming from. Always handy to know.

  • blacksheep63

    In the context of the RBS sell off (£13m to Osbourne’s best mate) and other examples of ‘legal’ corruption in financial circles the Olympic stadium fiasco bothers me a little less. Maybe this is because I’ve always had a soft spot for the Hammers, maybe because I think the East End deserves to have money invested in it (I know it has recently, but that is part of the whole Olympic thing to some extent).

    Yes, on the surface its unfair on us the humble taxpayers but then I resent my tax being spent on bailing our bankers, investing in fracking, funding the arms race, and propping up the monarchy. Others many resent their tax being spent in other ways on things I deem important.

    So while I think this is a debate we need to have (and once again Untold is out there doing it) I’m more relaxed about State Aid United than some

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I think I’d prefer them Irons to the Spuds. After all they have been the ‘elephant’s graveyard’ for many of our former players . And they don’t complain too much either frt getting our cast offs !

  • Pat

    @Blacksheep – you say the East End deserves to have money invested in it. Unfortunately the money is being invested in skyscrapers of expensive housing that price out the current East End residents.

    There’s a council housing estate next to the Olympic Park where three tower blocks that could have people in them are standing empty because Newham Council and the London Legacy Development Corporation are intent on demolishing them and using the land for other purposes.

    Going on every other example in London this will mean expensive housing which someone will buy as an investment and possibly even leave empty.
    Meanwhile Londoners lack homes that don’t eat up most of their income.

  • colario

    West Ham and Wet Spam.

    I think this explanation may be a bit too late for this blog.

    The word spam for all us internet uses means unwanted emails.

    However for those born before the internet it is possible it has another meaning. It is this other meaning a brand of spiced ham that leads me to wet spam.
    This Wiki link gives the full details.

    Monty Python did a sketch on spam which has become a classic Monty Python sketch. The second link will take you to it.

    So by wet spam I don’t meant wet emails but rather wet spiced ham = spam.

  • Menace

    No issues with West Ham getting the Stadium but 49% shares should be issued to West Ham fans/supporters groups & 2% to Local Council. That will ensure equity remains in true football hands rather than ‘boys from the club’.

  • Has anyone linked the above with Cameron’s freudian slip about who he supports?
    “My team is West Ham…. oh no sorry I meant Aston Villa…..oh b******s!”

  • Finsbury

    A quick referral to the history books Informs us that corporatism or corporate welfare was all the rage in Italy between 1922-43

  • Menace

    Good thinking Jaroda! The slip must have been an incoming Gold missile.

  • Gord

    Sorry obituary here. But it goes to the idea of football not being war.

    The Camden newspaper on the web has a story about a lifetime Spurs supporter who died. It sounds like 11 of his close friends were Arsenal supporters, and they all wore Spurs uniforms for the funeral. Maybe some other newspaper has a better report?

    In any event, Chris Carron was 72.

  • Vintage Gooner

    I am intrigued as to what the away ticket pricing will be? Or is the beanfeast just for West Ham supporters?