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Monday, January 24, 2011
Brady responds in Olympic row

ESPN staff

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady has hit back at Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp as the war of words between the two clubs wrangling over the future of the Olympic Stadium site continues.

• Lord Coe backs Hammers bid
• War of words over stadium

Last week Redknapp warned that the Hammers would turn the site into a "desolate graveyard" if they won the bid to inherit the Olympic Stadium in Newham. But Brady has responded, claiming Spurs' interest is based purely on financial considerations - while her club's bid offers something for the entire East London community.

"To demolish the Olympic Stadium would be an outrageous waste of money and resources," Brady wrote in The Sun. "The energy used to build it for 500 million, knock it down and then rebuild a football ground would be the equivalent of running the Olympic Stadium for nigh on 90 years.

"Theirs is a spur of the moment money-making bid. Ours is a phenomenal partnership proposal which came together with a true united approach. Newham Council represent every single person in our borough. We can exchange our expertise with athletics, cricket and every one of the 15 Olympic sports that our community department already run.

"It is a persuasive case, no wonder Harry Redknapp was told to do his best to scaremonger."

Brady believes Redknapp's words actually had the opposite effect to that intended, and could not resist having a dig at the former West Ham boss while continuing to pick apart the rival bid.

"For my mind, his words ended up being a form of Harry-kiri that sounded the death knell on any credibility Tottenham had to getting support outside N17," Brady said. "Actually, scrub that. They don't even want the Tottenham plan inside N17.

"For Spurs, knocking it down and rebuilding, while keeping it on budget and on time, has to be a concern. The best estimate of it being ready is 2016, and we all know these things run over. We have the money guaranteed to convert and improve, we will deliver everything and pay back the community - without banks, debt and financial pressure. Can Tottenham be so confident?"

Brady revealed West Ham have 700,000 fans on their database, with more than 17,000 on the waiting list for season tickets. She believes such support will be more than enough to regularly fill the Olympic Stadium - while the design of the ground will mean fans will actually be closer to the action than at Wembley, even with a running track surrounding the pitch. With the original bid for the 2012 Games pledging to retain the track and stadium, Brady believes breaking that promise would be a worrying step to take.

"This is about more than the club," she said. "It would be a slap in the face to tax-payers and sports fans generally to demolish a stadium after four weeks of use. Our sporting integrity would be called into question."

The debate about the future of the stadium took a twist over the weekend, as legendary Brazilian footballer Pele surprisingly emerged to throw his weight behind Spurs' proposal. But Brady was dismissive of the three-time World Cup winner's intervention.

"This comes from a man who also endorses Viagra, at least that's one product that stands up!" Brady said.




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