Reports that a deal which will see West Ham buy the London Stadium has been firmly denied by the club. The speculation that we could do so has been going on for months but a board insider has made it clear to me exactly where the club stands in relation to such speculation.
The Mail – referring to a story in The TiMes – declared that the club was reportedly exploring the option of turning their rental of the London Stadium into a permanent purchase. This came after it was revealed that the current ownership was losing money ‘year-on-year’ at the expense of the taxpayer.
It added that the club was apparently open to seeking a full takeover of the former Olympic venue as Lyn Garner, chief executive of the publicly funded London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), explained the landmark would be running at a loss even if a naming rights deal was secured.
Unaudited accounts that have been reportedly viewed by The Times apparently show the true extent of a £31.1 million operating loss for the year ending March 31, 2022. However, the Mail reports that should Daniel Kretinsky stage a full takeover of the Hammers – which is unlikely in the immediate future, if at all, he could seek to buy the stadium.
But any idea that the Hammers could bail out the London Stadium owners with a full takeover were immediately ruled out by the club. I was told by a highly-placed insider: ‘Who wants to take on a £20/£30m annual loss and as the stadium is now seven years old, there are some huge maintenance and repair bills that will increase annually.
‘Our ego might suggest buying the stadium, but common sense says don’t do it. Our rent goes up with inflation and we have the cheapest season tickets in the Premier League due to the wonderful stadium deal we negotiated for the club. It seems that nobody credits the spectacular deal we did. If we bought the stadium, season tickets might need to go up 50 to 100 per cent.’