‘Let’s address the elephant in the room. What’s really driving the problems here are the low rents paid by concessionaires, particularly West Ham United.’ The words of Lyn Garner, CEO of E20, addressing the London Assembly September 5, 2018, and to most of us these words are pretty explicit – West Ham’s contract is ‘driving’ the London Stadium problems.
We as a club are apparently ‘the elephant in the room’ and whatever happened in negotiations over us becoming anchor tenants back in 2013 is now history and unpalatable history for those currently responsible for operating the stadium.
They have got the hump with the Hammers and called for a retraction of some comments made on the club website over quoted costs. Karren Brady has since declared there will be no such retraction. If the Hammers are lying over them, as E20 claim, the LLDC should sue then – they are no strangers to such activity having spent or put aside a sum totalling £6 million on legal costs with us so far.
That’s why the statement from the LLDC chairman Sir Peter Hendry which emerged later is so bizarre in trying to justify comments made by Ms Garner. He claims: ‘We said that the West Ham contract was just one area which caused financial problems for the Stadium.
Well no actually. What was said is that our contract – and we were the only concessionaire mentioned – was driving the problems. He adds that our low rent of £3 million doesn’t cover the costs of the 25 days activity but fails to explain how UK Athletics need only pay £32k for 28 days.
He adds: ‘And just to be clear, on top of that there is no additional fee from the club for continuing maintenance and upkeep of the stadium which means it is ready every season to stage the matches.’ Nope that’s your job as it is when you look after UK Athletic’s requirements or the Rolling Stones or AC/DC etc.
The real elephant in the room is UK Athletics getting the stadium for ten bob with all the costs of the retractable seating that go with that and West Ham being described as the ‘elephant in the room’ driving the problems. Sorry, such hyperbole doesn’t wash with us.