By Duncan Mackay

London 2012_Olympic_Stadium_from_roof_February_21_2012February 22 - West Ham United are not prepared to share the Olympic Stadium with another football or rugby club and will only move there if they are confident that the atmosphere will be good, their co-chairman David Sullivan has warned.


He has also admitted that they could still remain and redevelop their current ground at Upton Park.

"There's a big part of us that wants to stay at Upton Park," Sullivan told The Daily Telegraph in an interview published today.

"It's a very difficult decision."

West Ham are among 16 parties to have expressed an interest in taking over the Stadium after London 2012 but are refusing to commit themslves to actually submitting a full bid by the deadline of March 23.

"We would need to ensure that the atmosphere at the stadium is right for football," Sullivan said.

"Whatever shape or form that takes is still under discussion.

"We reckon we can make the Stadium work from a legacy point of view, to provide a heart in the Stadium, to create the jobs, the usage, to give the Stadium a national and international stage, but we have to be sure it is right for football.

"If it is a truly multi-purpose stadium then that is a fantastic legacy and vision for everyone."

West Ham originally won the right to move into the venue last year but the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) withdrew from negotiations with the club amid a legal challenge from Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient, who had been defeated in the bidding process.

Under the new tender process, naming and catering rights would no longer belong to the anchor tennant, a serious financial blow to West Ham. 

David Sullivan_in_front_of_Olympic_Stadium_February_11_2011
"Under the previous tender process, as owners of the Stadium, we could adapt it, with enhancements such as demountable seats, covered seats with the roof, world class corporate facilities," said Sullivan (pictured outside the Olympic Stadium).

"We have to see what we will be able to achieve as a tenant.

"We also have to be very careful about who we share with. 

"We are not too keen on rugby or sharing with another football club, as we have to ensure the Stadium is a home for West Ham, not just a venue to play our matches."

Sullivan also ruled out asking West Ham's fans whether they want to move to the Olympic Stadium, which under the terms of any agreement must retain the running track.

"We're not a democracy," he said. 

"Where you've got fans running clubs they usually go bust."

Upton Park_at_night
Opinion among West Ham fans seems to be swinging away from leaving Upton Park (pictured above) - where the club has played since 1904 and players like Sir Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters are legendary favourites - and moving to the Olympic Stadium.

And Sullivan has admitted that they do have plans to redevelop the current ground.

"We have a stadium that could have a 45,000 capacity," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"We have a hotel.

"We have 3,000 corporate hospitality guests, a stadium we own.

"We say how/when and who, so to give that up we have to be 100 per cent sure the deal is right for the club."

Contact the writer of this story at du[email protected]


Related stories
February 2012: Barry Hearn - London 2012 Olympic Stadium is not fit for football 
February 2012: Olympic architect unmasked as man who scuppered West Ham United Stadium deal
January 2012: It's like someone gave us the keys and changed the locks, says West Ham's Brady over Olympic Stadium debacle
January 2012: West Ham among 16 interested in London 2012 Olympic Stadium as deadline passes 
January 2012: West Ham United refusing to commit themselves to Olympic Stadium move