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It’s the stadium stupid: how West Ham, Tottenham, the government and us tax payers suffer.

By Tony Attwood

“The chairman of the LLDC, owners of the London Stadium, has resigned after an inquiry was opened into the soaring costs to the taxpayer to run the venue.”  The Guardian

“Tottenham have now lost each of their ties at the national stadium – they were beaten 2-1 by Monaco in September”.  The Guardian

“Playing home Champions League matches at Wembley is not necessarily all it is cracked up to be. When we did it with Arsenal for a couple of seasons, in 1998-99 and 1999-2000, it turned out to be a nightmare at times. It was classified as a home game but we never felt properly at home. Highbury was our home. That was where we knew exactly what we were doing, how we were preparing, where we felt comfortable without giving it a second thought. At Wembley both teams were away in a sense. Maybe it even gave the away team an advantage.”  Ray Parlour in the Guardian.

Yep – it’s the stadium, stupid.  New stadia are a problem, indeed as we showed in an earlier piece most of the clubs that get new stadia end up being relegated.

Which raises the question, what did Tottenham expect in going to Wembley to play their Champions League matches?   And what do they think will happen next year when (if they continue with their present plans) they will play all their “home” matches at Wembley.

Pochettino said, after the latest defeat, “We can make a lot of excuses but a psychological block with Wembley? If I wanted to make an excuse, I would say yes. But it is not true. Tell me one place better to play than Wembley? We had 85,000 fans watching us and it was embarrassing for me.

“You cannot blame Wembley. We need to show more. We need to put ourselves in front of the mirror and say: ‘Come on, we must improve.’

“The first game at Wembley may have been an accident but to do it again, something must be wrong, and we need to find out what. We are in a bad moment and we need to be critical and honest.

“The problem was not the attitude – it was that we did not show our quality. We are much better than we played today. Maybe it is taking my players time to manage the Premier League and Champions League – the two toughest competitions in the world. It is good to see how we react.”

Which is very honourable and decent.  But the fact still is that stadium moves bring problems.  Here’s the chart I’ve run before…

Stadium Club Built Promotion/Relegation
Riverside Stadium Middlesbrough 1995 Relegated 1997
Britannia Stadium Stoke City 1997 Relegated 1998
Reebok Stadium Bolton Wanderers 1997 Relegated 1998
Pride Park Stadium Derby County 1997 Relegated 2002
Stadium of Light Sunderland 1997 Relegated 1997
Madejski Stadium Reading 1998 Releg to D3 ’98
JJB Stadium Wigan Athletic 1999 Won D3 2003
St Mary’s Stadium Southampton 2001 Relegated 2005
KC Stadium Hull City 2002 Promoted from D3 2005
Walkers Stadium Leicester City 2002 Relegated 2004, returned to win league 2016.
Etihad Stadium Manchester City 2003 Won League 2012
Liberty Stadium Swansea City 2005 Promoted D4 2005
Emirates Stadium Arsenal 2006 Top 4 throughout
Cardiff City Stadium Cardiff City 2009 Won D2 2012, but relegated again.

Meanwhile London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has announced an investigation into the rising bill for converting the London Stadium for use by State Aid United.

Laughably the seats have to be stored off-site in a specific configuration to enable them to be put back again, like a giant jigsaw puzzle. It will take over two weeks to do the transformation meaning that there is not enough time to get seats in and out ready for the new season.

Oooops.

Meanwhile the cost of converting the stadium has gone up by a further £51m to £323m.  So the total cost to us tax payers is now £752m in total.  Very close to the cost of Wembley which was £757m.

And both were paid for in part by British tax payers.  Now you know why I call it the Tax Payers’ Stadium, and the club State Aid United.

Naming rights are looking less and less likely as the public mood swings against the stadium and everyone associated with it, from Boris Johnson to Karren Brady and her “make no mistake” comment.  Behaviour of people inside the stadium this season has not helped its PR either.  The search for a naming rights company has been going on for four years.

Damian Collins MP, chair of  the culture, media and sport select committee, has welcome the Mayor’s inquiry and said it should look into the decisions taken by the notorious Rt Hon B Johnson MP.  Mr Collins said, “They hoped they would find a use for it afterwards and there was no advance planning. If there had been they would have been much more effective at keeping their options open.”

Meanwhile West Ham still pay £2.5m a year.   Tottenham might still be regretting not getting that deal – but at least with Wembley they have the choice of going back there or not.

Recent stories from Untold Arsenal

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

Alexis’ time at Barcelona catches up with him as he is accused of tax fraud.

Do we actually need to buy anyone this January?

 

Ref Review : Sunderland – Arsenal: Was this not knowing the laws? Or just plain bias? The latter looks more probable

The moment that proves “our destiny is in the minds of our players”. Watch again and again and again.

CL Ludogorets – Arsenal 2-3: a Liège comeback as predicted after 15 minutes

Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal. “Our destiny lies in the minds of the players”

 

20 comments to It’s the stadium stupid: how West Ham, Tottenham, the government and us tax payers suffer.

  • John

    As a Hammers fan who has benefited from a large reduction in season ticket price (about £200) since our move I must say sensing you getting annoyed about about State Aid United and the Tax Payers Stadium warns the cockles of my heart. Cheers pal!

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Hmmn, this is intriguing. The LLDC looked to have made a mess of the deal loaning the London Olympics Stadium to West Ham alias State Aid United.

    The LLDC have no tenable convincing reason to convinced the discipline mind that the actions they took in converting the London Stadium to a dual use Stadium suitable for hosting regular Premier League football matches and occasionally for athletics event but at astronomical financial cost and at the expense of the tax payers, and their subsequent decision that followed to lease out the use of the Stadium to a top Premier football club who was said to have won the bidding rights to get the Stadium, but suspiciously through fraudulent means and at a ridiculous yearly rentage. The LLDC have been utterly reckless in committing public funds into use. Therefore, those who had a hand in this financial scandal however highly placed they maybe in the society, should face the wroth of the Law.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    And I don’t think Tottenham Hotspur can revert to use their White Hart Lane Stadium to play 1 of their 2 remaining Ucl matches because they already have a deal with the FA to use Wembley for all their 2016/17 Ucl home matches. The FA could charge Spurs for breach of contract should they attempt to do that. Otherwise, despite the fact that I am Arsenal for life, I would have suggested to them to play their remaining 1 home fixture of the Ucl 1st round matches at White Hart Lane to enhance their chance of picking a knockout stages ticket.

    I think the same legal implication will confront Tottenham HS if they withdraw from the contract they signed with the FA to use Wembley for their home Premier League matches likely including other matches too next season.

  • Fraudulent means

    This email has been removed as it appeared to come from an invalid email address.

  • Sam Sayyed

    I don’t understand one thing, Tony.

    If the stadium running costs are not covered by the rent paid by WH, and LLDC keeps making losses, is the government legally bound to keep the stadium running for the sake of a few days of athletics a year? Can they keep using the taxpayers money to pay West Hams stadium running expenses plus the cost of security and cleaning the mess their hooligans create? Why can’t LLDC say to West Ham to pay more or they will file for a bankruptcy?

  • Tom

    Tony, maybe the clashes between Chelsea and WHU fans during the match at the London Olimpic Stadium , which were described as both groups of fans removing the seats and using them to hit each other with were just taken out of context, and really what it was just a peaceful dispute how best to remove and put back the seats to save the taxpayers money 🙂

  • Flares

    Wet Spam are also three points off the drop zone after ten games, or three points off the top ten, depending on your point of view. There was much guffawing pre-move regarding the possibility of them enjoying their new stadium in the Championship, and the ripples of anxiety are starting again this season. It would be an absolute PR disaster for Miss Piggy after her smarmy posturing, although I wouldn’t mind betting there’s a fair few people – male and female – who’d be happy to see the smug smile wiped off her Chevy Chase.

  • Tom, I never thought of that

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Less I forget, I want the Gunners to be at red alert on Sunday when they play against their arch North London rivals – Tottenham Hotspur in a North London Premier League derby match. So that our current winning run in all competition we have recently got back does not suffer another drawn game setback.

    With the FA leasing their Wembley Stadium to Tottenham Hs for use, the Totts have by circumstance become the FA favourite boys who they are currently admonishing since they are giving the them some good money they badly need to have.

    Therefore, the appointment of Mark Clanttenburg to take the centre stage in the impending North London derby match between Spurs and us on Sunday may not be a normal scheduled referee appointment but could be a cynical appointment appointing Mr Clanttenburg to carry out certain instructions instructed him by the Pgmol his employers.

  • Enjoy it while it lasts John. These things never go on forever.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Less I forget, I want the Gunners to be at red alert on Sunday when they play against their arch North London rivals – Tottenham Hotspur in a North London Premier League derby match at the Ems. So that our current winning run in all competition which we have recently gotten back does not suffered another draw game setback.

    With the FA leasing out their Wembley Stadium to Tottenham Hs for use, the Totts have by circumstance become the FA favourite boys who they are currently admonishing since they are giving them some good money they badly needed to have.

    Therefore, the appointment of Mark Clanttenburg to take charge of the centre in the impending North London derby match between Spurs and us on Sunday may not be a normal scheduled referee appointment but could be a cynical appointment appointing Mr Clanttenburg (the now controversial referee after his face-off with Jose Mourinho) to carry out certain instructions instructed him by the Pgmol his employers.

    And to think of it, Mr Clanttenburg used to be Arsenal’s home referee. But he has since changed to become something else.

  • nicky

    What intrigues me is the 85,000 who visited Wembley to watch Spurs of all people. Where did they all come from?
    Could it be that Monaco emptied for the day?
    I think we should be told. 😉

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Mr.Tony, Sir, please take down my last 2 comments posting I posted on the site not quite long ago. So that people will stop reading through them, the 1st one for my mistakes and for my wrongly using of the word – admonishing. The 2nd one for my repeating the usage of the same word admonishing which is not the word I intended to use, the word admonishing has killed the point I wanted to point out in my comments to our readers. Please kindly do me a favour to take down the 2 comments.
    Thanks.

  • Philbet

    While the greedy,coniving moraless media whores, who own and run West ham are allways ready to promote the Conservative party and its capitalist ideals, it would seem that they are not averce to a little “socialism” when it comes to there own ends,taking from the public purse and letting it arrive in there wallets, it would seem suits very nicely.
    Socialism for the rich and powerfull and Capitalism for the rest of us.

  • Steve

    Of course the LLDC could have stuck to the original plan & spend £550m on a stadium, use it for 4 weeks & then spend another couple of £100m taking the top tier off. we would end up with a lovely £700m 20,000 seated athletics stadium that sits empty 11 months every year. We could follow Beijing & use it as a bus park or Greece where we let it rot away & pretend it never happened.

  • Steve, or better still the authorities could have considered the uses of the stadium, and its costs before putting in a bid for the Olympics, and decided there were better things in the UK to spend money on.

    Like housing for those in run down homes, or with no homes at all, or in overcrowded houses.

  • Chris

    Tony,

    I do not know the capacity of WHL, but I’d say probably on the lesser side of 50’000.
    So the 80’000 plus paying spectators must have netted the Spurs quite a top-up.
    This 3 times in autumn and you get a boost to your budget.
    I believe they decided to do it for financial reasons. After all they have a stadium to finance, don’t they ?

  • ARSENAL 13

    At this rate olympic stadium will have to go bankrupt. When they do, What will happen of West Ham?

  • Florian

    Chris,

    The hidden benefit of the Wembley matches is gauging the potential season ticket market. This is even more important than the short-term gate receipts. We did it first, now they are copying us. Though their results are appalling, it is still better than guesswork. The funniest thing that I see here is that their normalized season ticket prices were above us for many years, and have only recently gone below us, specifically when we officially became the club with the most expensive season tickets. The pressure from the waiting list can only push their season ticket above ours once more.

  • Steve

    They refused to build the stadium for any other use apart from athletics. WHU tried to buy the stadium three times. They were awarded the right to buy it until Levey & Hearn stuck their noses in.There would have been no “state aid” & no problems.
    I agree that we should have saved the money & let some other country waste their’s.
    But lets go down the easy route & blame West Ham anyway, everyone else does

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