Gold proud of Olympic success

BY foxsports • February 11, 2011

Gold said he was "overwhelmed" by the Olympic Park Legacy Company's decision to make the Hammers their official preferred bidder to become tenants of the £537million venue after the London 2012 Games. Gold said the club would work hard to maintain the heritage of the Hammers at their new home. Replicas of the World Cup winners statue may be made and talks still need to be held about whether the John Lyall gates are moved from Upton Park. He said: "Keeping the heritage of West Ham will be a challenge but it is doable. "The thing that we have here but do not have at West Ham is space. I am not exactly sure what will happen, we still have to think about the details and maybe a replica of the statue could be made to come here (to the stadium). The one thing I can guarantee is that we will keep the heritage of the football club." Gold said: "It is overwhelming and I feel huge pride. It is a great honour because it is such an iconic stadium. "This is going become world renowned. I just feel really proud and I am having to pinch myself. I cannot really believe that I am standing here." Overlooking the venue in Stratford, east London, West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady said: "We are absolutely thrilled - not only to be named preferred bidder but also to be named unanimously." They beat Tottenham, who launched a joint bid with sport and entertainment giant AEG. They also need to try and beat relegation but Brady insisted the club can still afford to move to the Olympic Stadium even if they did not avoid the drop from the Premier League. "One of the criteria we were judged against was financial and obviously our finances stack up," she said. "We do not aim to be relegated when we come here." Gold said he believed the club had the backing of the fans, adding: "This is exciting because it is historic and it will have heritage. "We are only moving 1.5 miles away. It is just around the corner. I know that from the boardroom I can see the stadium." West Ham midfielder Jack Collison said the players were also thrilled with the result. He said: "I know that I am happy and so are the players. "I am really looking forward to the chance to play there." West Ham's plan, in a joint bid with Newham Council, is to convert the 80,000-seater stadium into a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use. Collison did not see any reason why the fans would not flock to see the club at the stadium. He said: "I do not see why not. We have got great spirit and we still get 34,000 at Upton Park. One of the possibilities (of the move) is cheaper tickets. "The team has been working really hard so I am sure they will come up with something good (to avoid relegation). It is a very exciting time." In an online message to fans Brady stressed the bid was financially sound and ensures the Olympic site in Stratford will not be a white elephant. She told Hammers fans: "Today is a momentous day. We are proud to have been passed the Olympic torch and fully embrace the responsibility we have for keeping the flame alive. We have been working on this project for some time now and are just at the starting line of the race to make this a stadium that will really make the nation proud. "The club is run by supporters and today is another great day in our proud history. This will be your stadium and an atmospheric home for generations to come. Our vision is to move forward always with an eye on the past. We have been granted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow our club in a way you deserve and to really give something back to the community of which we are such an intrinsic part. "The nation has kept its promise and we'll keep ours. I promise."

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