Brian GlanvilleAmidst all the present sound and fury over West Ham United’s bid for the Olympic Stadium, one particular statement surely stands out.

It was made in a blog by Mike Law, a former Newham councillor, who declared of the surprising £40 million loan offered by his council to West Ham: “It was a bizarre partnership between a deprived local authority and a failing football club.”

Indeed it was and it’s hard to see the logic behind it. Cui boni, as the Romans (not Roman Abramovich) used to say; meaning, who gets the good of it. Frankly try as I might I cannot see how Newham, supposedly the poorest borough in London, can hope even if and when the Hammers move in to recoup let alone profit from this enormous loan.

West Ham insist that there has been not an atom of dirty work at the crossroads. Perhaps they are quite right. Yet there seems something strangely incestuous about the fact that both Dionne Knight, who was paid over £20,000 by the club – for so called work on procurement, which was seemingly not made public at the time, and her present boy friend, Ian Tompkins, now a West Ham employee who worked on the stadium project, both worked for Newham council.

Doubtless they are both as innocent as the driven snow, but you do wonder why the so called Olympic Park Legacy committee were not informed initially of West Ham’s payment to Ms Knight. Curiouser and curiouser.

The Government, who like the May of London, Boris Johnson, have been firmly in West Ham’ corner, are apparently reluctant to re-open, at high cost, the bidding process. And surprisingly, little attention has been paid to the almost concurrent announcement that Daniel Levy the Tottenham chairman, is talking of

going back to the drawing board and rebuilding the historic stadium at White Hart Lane. In which case one assumes that ground sharing with Arsenal at The Emirates would be an option; just as the Gunners, their Highbury Stadium taken over the ARP between 1939 and 1946, once shared at White Hart Lane.

All of this ignores the predicament of Leyton Orient, appalled by the prospect of being squeezed into dissolution were West Ham to move so closely nearby. They themselves are to take the matter to the football authorities in months to come, having been somewhat perversely denied by the Olympic people permission to take over the Olympic hockey stadium.

Personally, I can see no rational case for Spurs deserting their historic ground and moving into what their supporters plainly regard as alien territory. A horrid affair indeed.


The current South American Championship began with two sensational results. First, unfancied Bolivia held mighty Argentina to a draw, having held the lead for most of the match till Aguero, Maradona’s son in law, originally and inexplicably, like Carlos Torres, excluded from the squad, volleyed the equaliser.

Next day, Venezuela, once seen as a mere chopping block, held Brazil to a draw 0-0, just as they had previously done in the long running World Cup qualifiers. Under their coach, Cesar Farias, they have made immense strides of late and most of their players are operating with European clubs.

As for Argentina, you are yet again moved to wonder how truly irresistible is the supposedly irresistible world’s best player, Lionel Messi, who was comfortably taken care of by the resilient Bolivians.


The recent death at 64 from liver failure of Mike Doyle evoked a bygone age; when players really cared, even excessively for their clubs.  How he hated Manchester United. Gary Neville seems last of the Mohicans.