Pie in the sky! Fans’ talk of new ground will never be achieved

West Ham don’t have a billion pounds to demolish a golf course outside Romford

It might be a new season, full of hope and expectation but some discussions never go away.

Like the chat around the London Stadium, our relationship with LLDC, and whether or not we have indeed got the “deal of the century” (copyright Karren Brady).

Recently, the Knees Up Mother Brown forum has played host to such a discussion. As anyone who is familiar with the area will know, behind Rush Green Stadium and the training facilities there is a golf course.

What if West Ham were to, say, purchase this land? Adam Leatherbarrow on Twitter has helpfully indicated that lots of things could fit on that land, including – oh look! – a stadium about the size of the Emirates.

It’s an exciting thought – the idea that West Ham could be playing in a stadium they actually owned.

No more retractable seat debates. No more running tracks and dodgy carpets.

And if you are sat towards the back of one of the stands, you actually have a vague chance of making out the vagaries of a football pitch (let alone the players).

Could this actually happen though? There are, of course, arguments against this coming to fruition.

Firstly, it would most likely require a change of ownership to start to make this happen (can you really imagine the board seriously contemplating shuffling millions towards the stadium?).

Secondly, accessibility – the area isn’t easy to get to and would require a lot of new public transport infrastructure.

Thirdly, what are the benefits to the club? The London Stadium, for all its detractors, does have nearly 60,000 walking through its doors for each game. So it’s not as if there’s going to be any likely increase in revenue from fans (unless the ticket prices go up, which would be highly likely).

And of course, golf fans would have the highly unsatisfactory situation of having to take their nine irons elsewhere.

However, this idea shouldn’t be written off immediately (sorry golf fans). There are advantages, both visible and hidden, in at least exploring this as an option.

The size of the area in question would enable the entire football club to be based on one piece of land, with the obvious advantages that entails.

By definition, we’d therefore have better training facilities. The men’s and women’s teams wouldn’t be locationally split as they currently are.

Put decent transport infrastructure in, and it would be more convenient for fans – and they would have a match day experience which would be more comparable to the Boleyn Ground days, in terms of journeys to and from the stadium, and also within the stadium itself. A lot of fans will like that, with its added atmosphere.

However, the biggest advantage to pursuing this is most likely hidden. Let’s say that West Ham announce interest in this, and start to seriously take some steps to investigate its viability, for instance.

Given the state of attrition between LLDC and West Ham United (relationships appear to have thawed in recent months, but no-one is truly happy with the compromises that have been thrashed out – either club, corporation or fans) could this act as a bargaining chip?

Could a serious threat that West Ham would leave the London Stadium allow the club more leeway in their negotiations with the LLDC?

You would think that without West Ham United, the London Stadium is nothing (and it is clear that intermittent athletics and other events would not sustain it). It would obviously not be in LLDC’s interest for West Ham to walk away. What a wonderful bargaining chip that would be for the club.

In terms of actually getting a new stadium built though, the chances are very, very slim.

The very act of taking steps to move would mean something that is very difficult to see happening: the current board would have to make an acknowledgement that there are good reasons why the London Stadium shouldn’t be our long term future when they have been so for it up until now.

Why would they do that, when they will be selling up at some point anyway? There’s nothing in it for them. On the pitch, it would also mean a further period of upheaval for the club, at a time when we can least afford it.

The biggest no-no to this whole exercise, however, is the sheer amount of money involved.

After stadium costs, movements, infrastructure and so on, not to mention likely planning battles, we are most likely looking at a £1bn bill to move. A billion.

And on that basis alone, whilst it’s a nice thought, unless a very wealthy benefactor comes along this idea will remain where it has been since its inception: just an idea in the sky, and like my dreams, they fade and die.

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