The future of the Olympic Stadium is facing more doubts today as Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn continues his fight against the decision to choose the Hammers as sole tenants of the stadium.
Orient’s application to move in to the iconic Stratford venue had been turned down as their offer of rent – thought to be around £500,000 annually – was significantly lower than West Ham’s promise of £2million-a-year.
But Hearn has refused to accept the decision and takes it to a judicial review at the High Court tomorrow in the hope he can persuade a change of heart.
Hearn told the London Evening Standard: “We have built this fantastic stadium, let’s just share it like they do everywhere else in Europe. I don’t understand the rationale of turning us down.
“What we have said to the LLDC is that we are serious about this community club aspect of Leyton Orient, so we will be making an additional undertaking to you.
“If in the future we should ever sell Leyton Orient, every penny of that profit will go back to the taxpayer.”
And Hearn believes his argument will be further strengthened if West Ham and Orient are both playing in the Championship next season, which he insists is a real possibility.
“That adds another dimension to it. The whole thing is so ridiculously lacking in common sense,” he added.
“Let’s just share it, let’s get the maximum value out of the taxpayers’ pound. Of course, it makes it even more stupid if we were to get promotion to the Championship.
“I don’t want to see West Ham get relegated but it’s a tough League and if they went down, you could have a local derby with both teams in the Championship.”
The LLDC also turned down Orient’s bid for the venue on the grounds that it would cost the tax-payer too much to run on their match-days. The O’s averaged a home attendance of 4,002 last season. The Olympic Stadium is currently being rebuilt in to a 54,000 seater multi-purpose venue, meaning the League One side would need to find an extra 50,000 fans to make it financially viable.
The Hammers will definitely be moving in to the stadium in 2016, but it’s now not known whether they will be forced to share it with Hearn’s Orient.