Something for nothing. That is what it is presumed West Ham United are getting out of the Olympic Stadium deal. A free ride. A gift from a grateful nation.
So consider the alternative. Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, is supposed to make his final announcement about tenancy a week today. If he does not award the Olympic Stadium to West Ham, what are his options? Not West Ham, basically. That is what is out there. West Ham or Not West Ham. West Ham or white elephant.
There is no coherent rival plan. The Formula One future envisages a grand prix that does not currently exist and ignores a long-term contract with Silverstone. Leyton Orient’s average league crowd this season is 3,785, which should play well in a 60,000 arena. The University College of Football Business in Burnley would get some nice classrooms out of the executive boxes. There is only one serious bidder. There has been all along.
Spot on analysis as ever from Martin Samuel.
Whether the stadium is good for West Ham is another matter. As Martin points on in the piece, it was constructed with summer in mind and needs a lot of work to be suitable for any winter sport. The concourse is exposed to the elements and a whole new roof would be required.
Before I visited for the Paralympics in September I was broadly in favour of the move. Now, having seen just how far away the seats are from what would be the centre circle, I really would have to be convinced by the club's (so far secret) plans.
For the long term future of the Olympic Park though, it is the only option.