West Ham United co-owner David Gold has said that he believes the Hammers have done the taxpayer a favour by taking over the Olympic stadium, claiming without them the ground would have become a white elephant.
The Hammers had come in for criticism following the publishing of their contract with the London Legacy Development Cooperation over the stadium, which revealed the East Londoners would only be contributing £15 million to the £272 million renovation costs, and that they would not have to pay a penny for maintenance costs – which stretches to include everything from goal nets to corner flags.
But David Gold has it back at those claiming the Hammers are benefiting off the back of taxpayers, saying that they have rescued the ‘ridiculous stadium’ from ‘arrogant planners’.
As reported in the Guardian, he said to compare with Manchester City's Etihad stadium, which unlike the Olympic stadium, was planned with forethought.
“Try to think of another opportunity. Manchester City – except they’ve planned it with skill and forethought, whereas we didn’t. We built a stadium that was built by a number of very arrogant people that had no foresight for the future. They built a ridiculous stadium but we have made the best of it.
“It’s just ill-informed judgments and opinions. I get that. Sometimes a newspaper will pick out and its headline will be: ‘Taxpayer paying for the flags and the goalposts.’ What a fantastic headline. It gives everybody a misinformation. It sends out the wrong information that they believe the taxpayer is paying for everything and they get nothing in exchange.
“That’s ridiculous. The taxpayer is going to make a profit. It wouldn’t make a profit if you tore down the stadium and put it into a 25,000-seater, would it? Come on, how many people are going to watch the world championship hop, skip and jump?”
West Ham will play their final ever fixture at the Boleyn Ground tonight at home to Manchester United, after over 110 years at E13.
And West Ham are hoping to make sure they will go out in style, reportedly inviting over 450 former players to attend the event, while the current squad, such as captain Mark Noble, have reassured fans that they will go out on a high after their dire performance against Swansea City, which saw them lose 4-1.
The Hammers' first game at their new ground will be a pre-season fixture against Italian giants Juventus on Sunday 7 August.