So, by now we’re all aware that the Irons’ plans to move in to the Olympic Stadium have fallen through, thanks to a ‘unanimous’ decision by the OPLC, the Government and the Mayor of London.
This is bloody typical. It is so predictably British to make such a mess of things like this. As a mate of mine said this morning, ‘What should we expect, other than a protracted, pointless mess?’ Good point. From the flat-out denial that a football club could move in to the stadium post-games, resulting in a stadium that really isn’t suitable for football, to this latest decision, it has all been handled atrociously!
I was 100% against the move to the OS for a long time, before conceding defeat and forcing myself to warm to the idea. As I’ve discussed before (OS Images Continues to Concern) I struggled to accept how, even with retractable seating, this stadium could work for us. But as time wore on I let myself believe that it was the best thing for the club, despite my concerns.
In the wake of the new decision comes the thing that concerns me most. Karen Brady has suggested that we will still bid to become the new tenant. It is suggested that any tenant would pay an annual rent of £2 million, and must re-apply for renewed tenancy every year. This worries me – what happens if we’ve sold The Boleyn and a few years down the line the OS landlords turn around and tell us we can’t renew.
And in terms of football, if we’re only tenants for a confirmed year-at-a-time what does this do to the chances of the club installing retractable seating? Sure, the club will save the £40 million loan we would have needed in our original plans, but would we risk forking out for expensive, custom-made retractable seating if we’re unsure of our long term plans there?
I may have warmed to the idea of moving to the OS, even though I do not plan on watching football across a running track, but the new plans to bid to be tenants concerns me more than the original plans ever did. I’m looking forward to reading up on this as it progresses. Hopefully, I’m worrying for nothing, but I don’t know if I trust the owners to ensure we are not watching football from across a sodding athletics track.
In other news, I just got a ticket for the Blackpool match and am very excited – more on that later.