Carswell hopes to lead the way
Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:27:00
West Ham have been officially confirmed as new tenants for the Olympic Stadium after a deal was finally agreed on Friday.
The 99-year lease was announced by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) along with details of the revamped stadium.
The Stratford venue will be transformed into a 54,000-seater stadium set to cost ?150m, and the Hammers are expected to move in from August 2016.
Negotiations between the LLDC and West Ham have been long and tortuous since the club was named the preferred bidder in December, but with an agreement finally reached, West Ham have been given the right to use the stadium for all their matches under a 99-year deal, giving the club long-term security.
The deal will protect public interest should West Ham's owners sell the club for a large profit on the back of the move to the stadium, with the LLDC guaranteed a significant cut.
The stadium itself will have retractable seats, allowing the 2017 World Athletics Championships to take place as planned.
In addition, the deal opens the way for the stadium to be used as a venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The plans for the future of West Ham's current Upton Park home and the surrounding area remain confidential.
West Ham joint-chairman David Gold said: "This is very exciting, I'm thrilled that we've signed this deal today. There's a new exciting future for West Ham United FC.
"It will generate jobs when the stadium is renovated, then jobs for the future ongoing."
Joint-chairman David Sullivan added: "We really feel privileged to be going into this stadium. We've had 13 sell-out games in a row and we need a bigger stadium.
"We want football to be affordable for the working class man and that's why we want a bigger stadium.
"This is a win-win situation for London, for the legacy and for West Ham United Football Club."
London mayor Boris Johnson said: "This Olympic Stadium will now be the home of a great London football club, that gave us Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst...
"The deal is great for West Ham, for London, for football. We're moving the seats, we're moving the roof but we're keeping London's great Olympic Stadium."
West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady added: "When you come to this stadium at the start of 2016 it will look and feel like West Ham's ground. It will look and feel like a football stadium."
Gillingham will hand late fitness tests to four players but Andy Frampton definitely misses out as he starts a three-match suspension.
Midfielder Frampton saw red in the late stages of Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Rochdale and now misses the next three games as the Gills aim to consolidate their lead at the top of the table.
Chris Whelpdale was forced off midway through the first half at Spotland and now faces a fitness battle, as does his replacement Charlie Lee.
Matters went from bad to worse in midweek as fellow midfielder Bradley Dack was then substituted due to injury after the break.
Forward Myles Weston will also again be assessed having missed the last five matches with an ankle problem, while Gillingham have been unable to extend Michael Richardson's loan spell and he has now returned to Newcastle.
Accrington will be without top scorer Romauld Boco.
Boco is away on international duty with Benin for their World Cup qualifier against Algeria, giving manager Leam Richardson a place to fill in attack.
Padraig Amond is back in training following an abductor problem and is hoping to earn a place on the bench.
Defender Nicky Hunt is definitely ruled out as he continues to struggle with a hamstring injury.
In-form Lee Molyneux will start along with Francis Jeffers, who scored his first goals in English football in over four years in the 4-0 win against AFC Wimbledon.
Stanley are looking to record three consecutive league victories for the first time since December 2011 but face a stern test against Martin Allen's table toppers.
The 19-year-old extended his deal until summer 2015 but most of the Motherwell first team are out of contract at the end of this season.
The midfielder, who has made 41 appearances for the club, told MFCTV: "I am very happy to sign and I hope some of my team-mates do so too.
"I've played quite a fair bit this season, it's something like seven starts and 14 from the bench. My aim is to keep working hard and hopefully become a regular for the first-team."
One of those players who are out of contract, Nicky Law, has assured Motherwell fans he is fully committed to the club after being linked with a move to Rangers.
Rangers manager Ally McCoist has admitted interest in the player but Law felt too much was made of the issue in the media.
The 24-year-old said: "I said that I've had no contact from anyone and that is still the case now.
"I also told the reporter that I will be speaking to Motherwell and will probably take their offer more serious than anyone. I've had two great years here, I've thoroughly enjoyed it and we've had some great success.
"The last thing I want is for the fans, who have been so good to me, to think I am not committed.
"We have got seven huge games left and that's my only focus at the moment, giving 110% and hope the supporters see that."