West Ham’s ‘deal of the century’ may not turn out to be the good news the club once hoped.
The Hammers are currently in a legal dispute with the publicly funded London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) who operate the London Stadium. It’s a classic case of landlord v tenant and it’s not the first time the club and stadium operator have locked horns.
The latest disagreement between the club and venue seems to centre around commission due following Daniel Kretinsky’s share acquisition in November 2021
Only yesterday the Daily Mail reported that the LLDC had spent a whopping £7m in legal fees battling West Ham, and this is just the latest in a line of spats between club and stadium. I could spend countless pages pontificating about the individual gripes of each party but one thing is for certain . . . It ain’t a healthy situation.
Many have speculated that the ultimate goal of West Ham is to make the financial deal so economically stacked in the clubs favour that the stadium owners relent and hand over the keys. The suspicion is that the £20m per year losses will be so significant and unpalatable to the tax-payer that London Mayor Sadiq Khan will hand ownership and full-time operations over to The Hammers.
Lyn Garner, chief executive of the LLDC, informed city politicians that, “like it or not”, the stadium will operate “at a deficit year on year”. It can also be revealed that the £200 million figure provided in the LLDC’s accounts to cover future losses related to the stadium has been challenged by auditors and that the amount could increase “significantly”, which could lead to more pressure to open talks with West Ham about taking it over.
From the outside this would appear to be promising news for the club but there is no open dialogue between the two parties, and it’s believed that Khan has little appetite to see West Ham get their way.
Rumours have also been circulating that Chelsea may wish to become a co-tenant at the London Stadium whilst they redevelop Stamford Bridge. Quite what this would mean for West Ham is unclear but it’s would certainly be a stumbling block in any potential takeover.
Ownership of the stadium and surrounding real estate is key to any potential sale of West Ham United. However, by trying to save a few million here and there, and by alienating the very people they need to do business with . . . the club may well lose out on a whole lot more.