Sullivan escalates stadium row

BY foxsports • February 9, 2011

The clubs have been engaging in an increasingly bitter war of words over who should win the right to move to the stadium once the London Games are over. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has warned that West Ham's plan to keep the running track would "guarantee" the Stratford stadium would become a white elephant. Hammers vice-chairman Karren Brady, meanwhile, claimed last weekend Tottenham's plan to tear down the £537million publicly-funded stadium and replace it with a 60,000-seater football ground was a "corporate crime". Hammers co-chairman Sullivan took the criticism to new heights on Wednesday though when he accused Tottenham's billionaire owner Joe Lewis of pursuing a move to the stadium in order to make money for himself. Sullivan insists only he and Hammers co-owner David Gold, both West Ham fans who were both brought up in East London, have the area's best interests at heart. Sullivan told ESPNsoccernet: "The motive of myself and my partner David Gold is to give something back to the community we came from and are still a part of. "The Olympic Stadium will motivate and regenerate East London and Essex. We are proud to use our money to be a part of it. It works for West Ham United and all of London. "Daniel Levy's sole argument seems to be that, in his opinion, the stadium won't work with West Ham United as the tenants. We beg to differ. What we know won't work is having a north London club having a stadium in the borough where we have been for over 100 years. It doesn't feel right, as it isn't right. Any right-minded person would agree with us." Both clubs have been busy trying to get backing for their respective bids this week ahead of the Olympic Park Legacy Company's (OPLC) decision on who should occupy the stadium. That decision, which would see Spurs move around five miles from their current home if successful, is expected some time this month. Sullivan used his column in the London Evening Standard on Wednesday to hit back at Levy's claims emotion should not play a part in who the OPLC choose as their preferred bidder. He said: "Spurs claimed the other day that the decision should not be based on emotion. I disagree. "Emotion can often drive a financial plan forward. The legacy of the Olympic Stadium affects us all. We have paid our taxes and have a vested interest in what happens after 2012. "People who want to take the emotion out of the East End clearly need a history lesson or two. We have our field of dreams at last and no-one should be allowed to take it away." Spurs insist they are committed to maintaining a post-Olympics athletics legacy in London by refurbishing Crystal Palace. But Sullivan believes West Ham's plan to hold athletics meetings at the Olympic Stadium after 2012 is the only way of ensuring London will have a world-class athletics venue after the Games. The West Ham co-chairman also rejected Levy's suggestion the stadium would become a white elephant. He added: "West Ham are the only ones proposing to stay true to the Olympic legacy with a running track in the stadium and we know it will work. "I keep reading about 'white elephants' but the only elephant in the room is the one that suggests it is okay to rip up the track and bulldoze the Olympic Stadium to the ground - and in its place build a run of the mill football stadium, for a club that is over 10 miles away from the East End. Now, that would be crazy."