Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Has West Ham sealed the deal of the summer?

By Ali Gordon

It's not a question that's often asked, but have West Ham clinched the deal of the summer?

For just £15million and an athletics track, the Hammers have negotiated their way to a state of the art stadium that for each spectator will eclipse the colossal £798 million cost of redeveloping Wembley.

Built for use at London 2012, the Olympic Stadium was originally earmarked as a 25,000-seater athletics arena. But without the lure of household names such as Usain Bolt or Mo Farah competing week in, week out, suddenly it became much more lucrative to sell the space to a football club.

But it soon become clear that the Olympic Stadium was indeed made just for that purpose - a temporary facility solely for London 2012.

The original roof was not designed for long-term use and the retractable seats required for a football match were unsuitable, so almost three years and an estimated £702 million later, tax-payers have gifted the Premier League outfit with an ultra-modern world class 54,000-seater stadium.

As part of the Olympic legacy, it was agreed by West Ham that they would facilitate an athletics track and just last week the stadium's owners, the London Legacy Development Corporation, admitted the project is over-budget by around £35 million - the price the Hammers paid for Andy Carroll.

But assuming Carroll and new coach Slaven Bilic can keep West Ham in the Premier League for another while yet, it looks like a very exciting - and rather smug - few years lie ahead for the happy Hammers.

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