Monday, July 17

Daily WHUFC News - 17th July 2017

West Ham United v Sturm Graz II: All you need to know

West Ham United begin their preparations for the 2017/18 Premier League season by tackling Austrian club SK Sturm Graz II in Bad Waltersdorf on Monday 17 July. Slaven Bilic's Hammers will play six matches against opposition from Austria, England and Germany ahead of the big kick-off at Manchester United in August.

Here, we let you know where to watch, who will be in action and much more about West Ham's first pre-season test...

Where and when?

West Ham United v Sturm Graz II, Monday 17 July 2017, 5.30pm BST, Thermenstadion, Bad Waltersdorf, Austria

Where to watch?

Coverage from the Thermenstadion begins at 5.25pm BST on Premier Sports. Fans can also follow the game on Twitter at @westhamutd. A full report, reaction and highlights will be available on

Matchday squads

West Ham United: Randolph, Adrian, Anang, Byram, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Masuaku, Collins, Ogbonna, Burke, Rice, Makasi, Kouyate, Lanzini, Feghouli, Snodgrass, Obiang, Noble, Fernandes, Cullen, Holland, Ayew, Fletcher, Martinez

FK Sturm Graz II: Giuliani, Strametz, Unterlader, Wiegele, Handl, Seidl, Gantschnig, Ehrenreich, Gruber, Piras, Steinwender, Wetl, Bevab, Grgic, Mann, Puster, Wagnes, Fink, Lema, Ostermann, Urdl, Breitenberger, Diendorfer, Sittsam, Krienzer, Gosweiner

Team news

Michail Antonio (hamstring), Andy Carroll (hip), Winston Reid (knee) and Diafra Sakho (back) will all miss the match to continue working on their rehabilitation, while Jose Fonte has been given extra time off after helping Portugal reach the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia last month.

Meet the opposition

FK Sturm Graz II play in the Austrian third-tier, the Regionalliga Mitte, and are coached by Austria international midfielder Joachim Standfest. The 37-year-old was in the Austria team beaten 1-0 by Slaven Bilic's Croatia in a UEFA European Championship finals Group B tie in Vienna in June 2008.

Sturm Graz II have already scored three comprehensive pre-season victories – 4-1 over Admira II, 4-0 over Regionalliga Ost club Austria Wien II and 7-0 over fourth-tier side SC Bruck - as they get ready to kick-off the new Regionalliga Mitte campaign against Lafnitz on Sunday 23 July.

The Austrians' squad is largely comprised of promising youngsters. Thomas Gosweiner, 22, was the team's leading scorer last season with eight goals, while Tanzanian midfielder Michael Lema, 17, netted six. Defender Dario Maresic (pictured), also 17, appeared five times for Sturm's first team in the Austrian Bundesliga last term.

Player to watch
Getty Images
Monday's match provides the opportunity for Slaven Bilic to hand Pablo Zabaleta his first appearance in a West Ham United shirt following the Argentina full-back's summer switch from Manchester City. Zabaleta arrives in east London after nine seasons with the Citizens, with whom he won two Premier League titles in 2012 and 2014.

Previous visit

West Ham United visited Bad Waltersdorf in 2012, following promotion back to the Premier League. The Hammers spent ten days in the market town, but their scheduled pre-season match with German club Werder Bremen was postponed due to heavy rain.

West Ham also visited Austria a year ago for three pre-season matches, and also traveled to the Central European country in the summers of 2009 and 2007.

Did you know?
Getty Images
Sturm Graz II coach Joachim Standfest was in the Austria team beaten 1-0 by Slaven Bilic's Croatia in a UEFA European Championship finals Group B tie in Vienna in June 2008.

SK Sturm Graz II were formed following a partnership between the club and local side LUV Graz in the 1990s, with Sturm taking LUV's position in the third tier Regionalliga Mitte - the division they have been in for the past 16 seasons
Getty Images
Sturm Graz II has produced a succession of players who have gone on to successful careers elsewhere. Midfielder Christoph Leitgeb has 41 caps for Austria and has won the Bundesliga title with Red Bull Salzburg on six occasions, while defender Sebastian Prödl (above) has 50 Austria caps and has spent the past two seasons with Premier League Watford.

How to get there

Bad Waltersdorf is situated in the Styria region of south eastern Austria, around 25 miles from the border with Hungary. West Ham United supporters are best-advised to fly from London to Vienna International Airport, seeing as there are no direct flights to the nearer Graz.

From Vienna Airport, fans can either hire a car for the 90-minute, 100-mile drive down the E59 motorway to Bad Waltersdorf, or take a train from the Airport to Vienna Central Station, then board the Hartberg service. There, change to the No484 Furstenfeld service for the final 30 minutes to Bad Waltersdorf.

How to buy tickets

Tickets will be available on matchday through cash turnstiles, priced at €10 for Adults and €8 for Concessions, with free admission for children aged 14 and under.

Collins: I want to end my career at West Ham

As he prepares to commence his tenth season as a West Ham United player, James Collins admits there is one ultimate aim that drives him on – to finish his career in a claret and blue shirt. The hugely-popular Welsh defender, who spent four seasons at Upton Park between 2005 and 2009 before rejoining the Club in 2012 following a spell with Aston Villa, will turn 34 in August and has one year left remaining on his contract at London Stadium. However, Collins, who will make his 200th appearance in all competitions for the Hammers if he lines up against Manchester United at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign, proved last season that he remains as committed and reliable as ever at the heart of Slaven Bilic's defence. "To think I've been a part of this Club for nearly ten years now is incredible," he says. "It's been a major part of my life – I met my wife here, so my family are from the area, and I'm a very lucky boy to have been at such a good club for so long. And hopefully it can continue. "I'd love to finish my career here. I'm 33 now, but I felt at the end of last season that I was playing as well as I ever have. "I've come back for pre-season fit, I'm lucky that I haven't had any really major injuries in my career, and I feel really good. "I'm going into the last year of my contract, but I believe there is a lot of football left in me at this level and I'd love to stay here for years to come."

For Collins, the short term aim is simply to carry on where he left off last season. After returning to the side in April following injury to Winston Reid, he played a key role as the Hammers finished the campaign in strong fashion, losing only once and keeping four clean sheets in their final seven Premier League matches.
A particularly epic defensive performance in the crucial 1-0 win over Swansea at London Stadium further enhanced his already heroic reputation among the claret and blue faithful, and Collins is determined to show those qualities again next season. "I was delighted with the way I was playing towards the end of last season," he says. "I came into the team when we were still looking over our shoulders a little bit. "We steadied the ship, though, my form was good and, to be honest, I was a little bit gutted to be going off at the end of the season – I would have liked it to carry on a bit longer! "I've kept my fitness over the summer, though, and I'm really looking forward to the new season."

As Bilic's men continue the hard work at their pre-season training camp in Austria, it is clear to see the positive and valuable influence that Collins has on everyone around him, including both players and backroom staff. As the most senior member of a relatively young squad, his experience and guiding voice on the pitch is a vital element, while his sharp wit and humour can provide a sound test of character for anyone on the receiving end. And while the training pitch and dressing-room can be an unforgiving environment at times, it is the likes of Collins who ensure that the crucial balance between serious hard work and team spirit is just right. "It's got to be like that," he says. "You come away and it's a competition to get in the team, you want to get an edge on the boys and prove yourself to the manager. "There is a lot of friendly banter, though – it's about trying to enjoy the hard work to get yourself through it. "We've always had a great team spirit here and it's no different out here. We've got a few of the young lads with us to experience being around the first team environment, and that will benefit them and the club in the long term. "I was a young player once – a long time ago! – with some great older pros around who showed me the ropes, and if I can do that for the lads who are here then great."

Feghouli going nowhere - yet - as Gala talks stall
Filed: Sunday, 16th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Talks between West Ham's Algerian international winger Sofiane Feghouli and Turkish side Galatasary have ceased after the two parties failed to reach an agreement. Although the two clubs are understood to have agreed a fee worth in the region of £4.5million for the player, negotiations were halted after Sofiane rejected Gala's contract offer.
The Turkish giants are reported (by FutbolArena) to have offered a salary worth just under €3million per annum, considerably less than Feghouli currently earns at West Ham. However the offer was rejected as the player has also insisted on a similarly-sized signing-on fee, a demand Galatasary are currently unwilling to comply with.
Feghouli, who is currently in Austria with the rest of Slaven Bilic's first team squad signed for West Ham on a free transfer last summer, after completing his contract with La Liga outfit Valencia. He currently has two years of that three-year deal left to run. Gala's Superlig rivals Fenerbahce are also reported to be monitoring the situation.

Academy star completes Rotterdam move
Filed: Sunday, 16th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham midfielder George Dobson has completed a permanent move to Sparta Rotterdam. The 19-year-old had been at West Ham for just two years since moving from Arsenal in the summer of 2015, and is set to join the Dutch club for an undisclosed fee. Sparta head coach, Alex Pastoor, admitted that he was delighted to get the transfer over the line. "George is an all-round midfielder and despite his young age, he looks at his game already quite mature," he said.
"Last season West Ham United loaned him to Walsall for whom he played more than 20 games in League One. We welcome his arrival and he will join tomorrow's [Monday's] training. "
Dobson, who failed to make a single appearance for Slaven Bilic's first team during his spell in east London has signed a two-year contract with the Eredivisie outfit who finished last season's campaign in 15th place, avoiding relegation by virtue of superior goal difference.

Noble on Hart
Filed: Sunday, 16th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Mark Noble believes that impending arrival Joe Hart "deserves a little more respect".

Noble, speaking to Sky Sports this afternoon from West Ham's training camp in Austria insisted that the England #1, whom he used to play alongside for the England Under 21s had been "fantastic" during his career - despite being shipped out on loan to Italy by parent club Manchester City lat season.

"I've known Joe for a long time," said Hammers captain Noble. "We played for England U21s together years ago. He is obviously a fantastic goalie, but at the minute he is not our player.

"In my opinion, he has been a little bit hard done by in recent years. He has been fantastic for England and for his club for the last 10 years and he probably deserves a little bit more respect."

Hart, 30, is currently on his way to London ahead of a medical and is expected to complete a season-long loan move to West Ham within the next 48 hours. He is set to join the rest of the squad at their Austrian training camp in Bad Waltersdorf once done.

Hart set for medical ahead of loan switch
Filed: Sunday, 16th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Joe Hart will undergo a medical examination within the next 24 hours ahead of being unveiled as a West Ham player.

The England international, who spent last season at Torino in Serie A is set to complete a season-long loan move to the Olympic Stadium after West Ham and Hart's parent club Manchester City reached agreement regarding the terms of the deal.

And this afternoon (Sunday) the 30-year-old posted a picture of him taking a train from Manchester to London, adding the caption "on route to the next adventure" - as you may see below.

City will part fund some of Hart's estimated £100,000 per week wages, with various sources claiming that the Citizens will account for anything between 10-50 per cent of his salary during his spell in London.

West Ham captain Mark Noble feels Joe Hart has been 'hard done by'
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 16/07/17 12:53pm

West Ham captain Mark Noble feels Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has "been hard done by" with the England stopper expected to move on loan to the London Stadium. Hart spent last season in Serie A in Torino but Sky sources understand he is likely to join the Hammers on loan by Monday. West Ham are at a training camp in Austria as they prepare for the new campaign and Noble feels a lack of respect has been shown to Hart. "I've known Joe for a long time, we played for England U21s together years ago," Noble told Sky Sports News HQ. "He is obviously a fantastic goalie but at the minute he is not our player. We have got two really good goalies [Adrian and Darren Randolph] here so it would be more competition for them. "In my opinion, he [Hart] has been a little bit hard done by in recent years. He has been fantastic for England and for his club for the last 10 years and he probably deserves a little bit more respect."

Andy Carroll missed the last month of the season with a thigh injury but has been involved in running exercises in Austria, while Pablo Zabaleta - a summer signing from Manchester City - has also been training with his new team-mates. Noble feels they are still lacking in numbers in attack, with manager Slaven Bilic lacking a fully-fit striker at present. "Hopefully we can get big Andy [Carroll] and [Diafra] Sakho fit. Mikael [Antonio] is not training with us yet, although he looks really fit," added Noble. "But he is not an out-and-out forward and you've only got Andre Ayew, an experienced forward, who's not really a No 9, so I think our biggest thing last year was scoring goals and finishing teams off. "We dug in last year and came 11th in the Premier League, though, which for the season we had is great, and hopefully we can improve on that."

Third Marko Arnautovic bid expected from West Ham
By Kaveh Solhekol
Last Updated: 16/07/17 5:30pm

West Ham will make a third bid for Stoke City winger Marko Arnautovic when the time is right, according to Sky sources. The east London club have already failed with two offers for the 28-year-old, the first at £15m and a second of £20m. Sky sources reported earlier this month that forward Arnautovic had become frustrated at the situation and handed in a transfer request. Sky Sports News HQ has been told that the Austria international wants the move to West Ham to join up with Slaven Bilic, but Stoke do not want to sell him. Regardless, he is currently on a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury suffered in a pre-season friendly.
Arnautovic was forced off shortly before half-time in the victory over Swiss side Neuchatel Xamax, after falling awkwardly in the penalty area when attempting to complete a cross. Arnautovic joined Stoke in a £2m from Werder Bremen in 2013 and has scored 26 goals in over 100 appearances for the Potters.

West Ham take two players on trial - including former Barcelona youth product Oriol Rey
Olly Dawes

West Ham United have taken two young players on trial. Whilst West Ham United fans may be focused on the imminent signature of Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, the Hammers appear to be plotting other moves too. BBC Sport report that Hart, 30, will undergo a medical ahead of a season-long loan move to the London Stadium, handing manager Slaven Bilic a proven Premier League goalkeeper with two league titles to his name.
Whilst Hart brings experience, West Ham are also weighing up deals for two young players, who have joined the club on trial for pre-season training. West Ham's Under-23's made the short trip to take on Barnet in a friendly on Saturday, and the club's official report from the game confirmed that Oriol Rey and Julian Kristoffersen both took part as trialists for the Hammers. Rey, 19, has come up through the ranks of Barcelona's famed La Masia academy, but is now a free agent having been released at the end of his time with Barca's Juvenil A team. A defender who can play at centre back, left back or even in holding midfield if needed, Rey may be considered a little small for a centre half at just 5ft 8in tall, meaning West Ham may view him as a left back moving forward.
Additionally, striker Kristoffersen also featured, with the 20-year-old ex-Copenhagen attacker being given a chance to impress in a bid to win a contract at the London Stadium. Kristoffersen has two first-team appearances for Copenhagen to his name, but is a free agent having been released this summer – and the 6ft 4in centre forward could now join fellow Norway Under-21 international Martin Samuelsen at West Ham if his trial spell is successful.


Former West Ham midfielder, Jack Collison is set to agree to return to the club to become our new U16 coach after leaving Peterborough United earlier this week.

Most Irons will remember the stalwart midfielder more for his domination on the pitch after spending 9 years with the Hammers between 2005 and 2014 before he had to hang up his boots due to injuries in 2016 at the relatively young age of 28.

Jack played over 100 games for the Irons scoring 11 times, he was also capped by Wales 15 times.

Since retiring Jack has been working with Peterborough United U21's and U18's in a managerial role and there was interest from Arsenal in appointing him to a similar role but he wants to return to West Ham.

Jack would become the 4th former player in a coaching/management role at the club following Slaven Bilic, Julian Dicks and Steve Potts.

I'm pretty sure the majority of our fanbase will be ecstatic with this appointment as Jack still has a very fond following among the Hammers faithful and we wish him all the best in his new role at the club and here's to him bringing through the new Hammers stars of the future.

Seven West Ham youngsters named in squad for first pre-season friendly
The young lads should get some game time against Sturm Graz on Monday
Football London
11:36, 16 JUL 2017

Josh Cullen, Nathan Holland, Moses Makasi, Toni Martinez, Declan Rice and Reece Burke have all been included in the West Ham matchday squad for their first pre-season game on Monday. The Hammers take on a second-string Sturm Graz side in Bad Waltersdorf after ten days of pre-season training so far, five of them in Austria at the current training camp. All of the U23 players included on the tour have been named in the squad, as well as U18 stopper Joseph Anang who has joined up with the team. Michail Antonio (hamstring), Andy Carroll (hip), Winston Reid (knee) and Diafra Sakho (back) won't feature on Monday evening and Jose Fonte is still having some time off after his Confederation Cup exertions with Portugal. Pedro Obiang has been named in the squad as well as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery. Despite rumours over his future, Sofiane Feghouli is also in the squad, as is Robert Snodgrass and new signing Pablo Zabaleta.
The match kicks off at the wonderfully named Thermenstadion in Bad Waltersdorf at 5.30pm on Monday evening.

Full squad: Randolph, Adrian, Anang, Byram, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Masuaku, Collins, Ogbonna, Burke, Rice, Makasi, Kouyate, Lanzini, Feghouli, Snodgrass, Obiang, Noble, Fernandes, Cullen, Holland, Ayew, Fletcher, Martinez.

DYLAN BREGMAN @breggertelli

Slaven Bilic suffered massively from injuries last season and it looks as though this bad luck is set to continue into this season. According to reports, West Ham will play their first pre-season game against Strum Gratz II tomorrow without four first-team players. All four players suffered from multiple injuries last season. It is understood that Bilic wants to allow the players to fully heal to ensure they do not make their current injuries worse. The Hammers have a busy pre-season schedule with games against Fulham and Manchester City on the horizon. West Ham are also set to face German side Werder Bremen in a double header with the Betway Cup at stake. The two teams will face each other twice over two days with the aggregate score deciding the winner. The club want the whole squad available for the opening game of the season against Manchester United and this explains their absence from the squad for Monday's game.

West Ham closing in on £22m deal for Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic
Arnautovic has made no secret of his desire to leave the Potteries
Ed Malyon @eaamalyon
The Independent

West Ham believe they will complete the signing of Austrian international Marko Arnautovic this week, and hope to be successful with a third bid of £22m. Arnautovic has made no secret of his desire to leave the Potteries and, with Bojan returning from loan and the emergence of Egyptian starlet Ramadan Sobhi, the funds raised from Arnautovic's sale will be used to strengthen Mark Hughes' defence. Stoke's backline is in need of reinforcement, with two arrivals planned in central defence and a new contract in the offing for Ryan Shawcross to repel interest from Newcastle. Shawcross' new deal isn't expected to be a problem, and Stoke remain confident that Bruno Martins Indi will return to the club after a successful loan spell. The Potters failed to take up the permanent option in his loan that expired on July 1 and now face competition from Everton and Crystal Palace for his signature. Stoke do lead the chase for Kurt Zouma, however, and remain in talks with Premier League champions Chelsea over a move for the talented young defender.

By Sean Whetstone 16 Jul 2017 at 08:00

This week London Stadium owners London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) revealed that liabilities for what they now call 'Onerous' loss making contracts with West Ham and UK Athletics will cost them an estimated £200m in future losses which will be ultimately be paid by the taxpayer.

Draft financial accounts for E20 Stadium LLP and LLDC reveal is that revenue for the London Stadium for the year up to 31 March 2017 is recorded as £6.588m against the cost of sales of £10.614m The operating loss is listed at an incredible £205.206m with a total comprehensive loss recorded as an eye-watering £268.245m.

They explain that £200m of the losses relate to liabilities for onerous contract provisions that have with West Ham United and UK Athletics with a further provision of a £62.3m loss relating to impairment which is the reducing value of an asset you own, namely the Stadium with the valuation of Nil.

Newham Legacy Investments (NLI) which owns the remaining forty percent of the London Stadium also published their draft financial accounts this month. They reveal they lost another £2.5m in the financial year up to April 2017 on the Stadium. The latest loss for Newham is on top of a reported £41.6m loss recorded last year for the company setup by Newham Council. NLI now have net liabilities totalling £44.4m primarily due to the £40m loan from Newham Council of which no repayments have been made to date. Many doubt whether Newham Council will ever see any repayments of this loan.

These losses come on top of the total cost of building and rebuilding the former Olympic stadium which already stands at £753m.

With existing operating losses to date, the total cost to the Tax payer could now easily reach the £1 billion mark.

The current London Mayor ordered an investigation into the decisions which led to the financial disaster and its future financial sustainability which will be published later this year by Moore Stephens.

In this article, I delve into the men and women involved in those decisions or challenges which inevitably led to the financial mess we are in today. I place no personal accusations or blame of their involvement but collectively they got us to where we are today and each must take some responsibility for their involvement in my personal view.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Sports Minister Tessa Jowell Lord Sebastian Coe & Lord Moynihan

Former sports minister Richard Caborn claims he was voted down by then London 2012 chairman, Lord Coe, the then Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell, the then mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and the British Olympic Association's chairman, Lord Moynihan over his proposal in February 2007 for an Olympics stadium designed and built for Athletics and football from the start.

Former West Ham Chairman Terry Brown had met with Sports Minister Richard Caborn in October 2006 about the club's interest and Caborn was said to be supportive.

In 2007 after the Icelandic takeover Eggert Magnusson criticised the Government openly saying: "I don't understand why we are not able to go to the Olympic Stadium. We offered money, we sent letters and we described how we saw things happening. We had a meeting at the House of Commons with [Olympics minister] Tessa Jowell and [Mayor of London] Ken Livingstone and it was not possible. As a businessman it makes no sense to me [to] build a new stadium and then take it down to 25,000."

Magnusson later admitted he had offered the Olympic Delivery Authority £100m to take over the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, but says their proposal was eventually turned down. I spoke to Magnusson earlier this year and he says he stands by the quotes at the time and says the articles were an accurate reflection of what happened.

Current LLDC CEO, David Goldstone recently defended his predecessor's decisions not to build a stadium suitable for football in 2007 claiming no football club was willing to commit at that time to his knowledge. Giving evidence to the London Assembly Budget Monitoring Sub Committee in December last year Goldstone said: "With hindsight would you have made that decision in 2007 to build a multi use stadium rather than the one that was built for the games which was demountable to a 25,000 seater bowl. I would say the information available I believe at the time was there wasn't a football club who would commit then so it would have been slightly speculative, it would have risked it being a white elephant."

London 2012 Forum Chair Richard Sumray Sumary admitted in written evidence that West Ham had in fact been interested in taking over the Stadium when he discussed it with the club himself in 2001. He later said he regretted the countered proposals which aimed to put athletics "in the mix" which in his view "made the whole process of finalising the ownership and uses of the stadium much more difficult. Early on a decision should have been made to use the main stadium for football, converting the warm up track to an athletics stadium. This would have been a more sustainable and appropriate use of that part of the park." he stated.

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson was not only the London Mayor also took over the Chair of the London Legacy Development Corporation for a period of time. London Assembly member Andrew Dismore, once told Johnson "You wanted to cover up the fact West Ham had put one over on you and taken you to the cleaners."

While still Mayor, Boris said that the LLDC was left with no choice but to undertake the expensive conversion scheme in an attempt to clean up the "mess" left by the previous Labour government. He also laid the blame squarely at Ken Livingstone, Tessa Jowell and Lord Coe doorsteps. However, his insistence on hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup at the London Stadium and what impact that had on the stadium transition programme and in particular retractable seating is expected to come under scrunity and criticism in the Mayor's £140,000 investigation report due out later this year.

Dennis Hone served as the Chief Executive of Olympic Delivery Authority and London Legacy Development Corporation from February 2011 until 2014. From 2006 to 2011 he was director of Finance and corporate services for the ODA. On leaving the LLDC in 2014 he joined one of Stadium prime construction contractors Mace as their Group Finance Director.

LLDC Deputy Chairman Philip Lewis is still a board member of the London Legacy Development Corporation for the past three years and a chartered surveyor with 40 years experience in the property market. He is currently Chief Executive of the property division of the Kirsh Group. He is a former Chairman of Sport England, London and past President of the British Council of Shopping Centres. Lewis was part of a three man sub committee convened by Baroness Ford in 2011 to review bids for the London Stadium occupancy.

Keith Edelman was formerly the Managing Director of Arsenal Holdings plc and was instrumental in the development of the Emirates Stadium and the attendant regeneration of the surrounding area including the development of Highbury Square. He is still an LLDC board member. Edelmen was part of a three man sub committee convened by Baroness Ford in 2011 to review bids for the London Stadium occupancy.

Baroness Margaret Ford was the former Chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company On 7 April 2009 Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell announced Ford's appointment to chair the newly created London Legacy Development Corporation, known officially as the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC). In 2011 she formed a sub-committee to consider bids for the former Olympic Stadium. She was replaced in 2012 by Daniel Moylan.

Daniel Moylan was the Chairman of the LLDC for just three months in 2012 before he was replaced by Boris Johnson who had appointed him.
At the time of the appointment, Mayor Johnson said: "I am sure there is no better man than Daniel Moylan to ensure every possible ounce of benefit for Londoners is squeezed out of our Olympic legacy."

At the time London Assembly Members had criticised the Mayor for ignoring the recommendation of a London Assembly confirmation hearing which said Mayor should not appoint Mr Moylan to the LLDC because he "did not consider that he had demonstrated sufficient knowledge and experience in the area of regeneration which was crucial to this role".

Andrew Altman is the former CEO of the Olympic Park Legacy Company and London Legacy Development Corporation from 2009 until 2012 when the American stepped down unexpectedly. He was also a member of Baroness Ford's sub committee which approved of West Ham's initial bid for the Stadium in 2011.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2009) Eric Pickles
Secretary of State for the Department for Culture media and Sport (2009) Ben Bradshaw & Jeremy Hunt (2010-2012)

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) was established in May 2009 by the Mayor of London and Government as the company responsible for the long-term planning, development, management and maintenance of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park .The OPLC was a public sector, not-for-profit company limited by guarantee with three founder members: the Mayor of London, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture media and Sport.

All the Secretary of States named above were involved in decisions relating to the former Olympic Stadium during the time the OPLC was in existence.

Former LLDC Chairman David Edmonds resigned in November last year shortly after a further over spend of £51m was revealed for the London Stadium transition. Edmonds, who has been an LLDC board member since its 2012 inception was appointed chairman in September 2015. He has been involved in the post-Olympic planning since 2009 when he became a director of the Olympic Legacy Committee. He will soon be replaced by Sir Peter Hendy who is also the Chairman of Network Rail since 2015.

David Goldstone is the current CEO of the LLDC having joined from Transport for London in 2014 where he was Chief Finance Officer.
He was the Government's finance director for London 2012 between 2007 and 2012, helping ensure that the Games were delivered within the £9.3 billion budget. In that capacity, he worked closely with the Olympic Delivery Authority on the design and delivery of the Olympic Park including the Stadium and on the planning for the future of the Park including the regeneration of east London. Goldstone is also a board member of Sport England.

Sir Robin Wales Current Mayor of Newham council was involved in both West Ham bids and a board member of the LLDC. Also, a self-confessed West Ham fan.

Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy raised two Judicial review legal challenges in 2011 to West Ham's occupancy of the former Olympic Stadium. The first one was rejected by the high court and a second challenge was later withdrawn after agreeing to rebuild White Hart Lane with some help from the London Mayor. In December 2013: Three investigators found guilty of illegally obtaining Karren Brady's phone records during the initial battle for the stadium. The lead investigator worked for accountants PKF, who were engaged by Spurs. The company and Spurs both denied any knowledge of illegal activities.

Leyton Orient Chairman Barry Hearn raised a Judicial review in 2013 over ground sharing at the former Olympic Stadium claiming he wanted Leyton Orient with West Ham and the LLDC hasn't considered this. He also wrote to the Premier League asking them to ban West Ham's move because of the distance from Leyton's Orient's stadium. His judicial review was rejected by the courts. He originally vowed to give up his legal fight if he lost the judicial review but instead said he would take his case to European Court of Justice. He later sold the club for £4m in 2014 and dropped his fight. This year he claimed he bitterly regretted the sale after Orient were served with a winding up order from HMRC.
The clun were finally take over by fan led consortium last month.

Architect Steve Lawrence is probably the least public figure involved in this sorry tale but possibly had the biggest impact when he challenged the LLDC by filing an anonymous complaint to the European Commission over illegal state aid. The public body cancelled West Ham's winning bid as a result of this complaint and Boris Johnson ordered a new tender process in which the former Olympic Stadium would only be rented on a 99-year agreement.

When Lawrence's anonymous complaint to the EU came to light at the High Court, the Olympic Park Legacy Company agreed to scrap the West Ham takeover of the stadium.

"If it had been shown subsequently to be illegal, and I am not saying that it was necessarily, then in those circumstances then West Ham would have had to repay the subsidy," Lawrence told Sky Sports News at the time.

"If that had happened after they had moved out of Upton Park and that ground had been redeveloped then they would then have been in a position where they would have had to return the stadium to the authorities and they would have been homeless. So we would have lost one of our precious English football clubs.

"The EU would have required the UK authorities to recover the illegal state aid, which would have meant either West Ham would have had to pay the full price for it or a full rental for it – and we are talking about an asset worth £500?million – and they would not have been able to afford that. The only option would have been for West Ham to go somewhere else."

Post note:

Going forward there is no simple solution, West Ham is unlikely to take over the London Stadium in the short term even if it was offered to them for free of charge, the government would need to pay the Hammers to take it off their hands. As they have forecast £200m of operating losses an up front fee of £100m might do the trick. Of course, there would be a political outcry and various complaints from jealous third parties to not make that feasible. In reality, the tax payer will need to fund the stadium for now and E20 Stadium LLP will need to honour their legal and proper contract with West Ham.

I understand that the Stadium is more likely to change hands into Newham Council ownership long term but only when the operating losses can be stemmed.


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