• London Olympics 2012

Orient back in hunt for Olympic Stadium

ESPN staff
January 25, 2011
Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn has threatened to upset West Ham and Tottenham as the future of the Olympic Stadium is decided © Getty Images

The delay in deciding the future of the 2012 Olympic Stadium has opened the door for Leyton Orient to make their own last-minute bid.

Premier League clubs West Ham and Tottenham are both vying for the right to inherit the site after the Games in 18 months' time, with markedly different bids. West Ham want to keep the existing structure - and running track - as part of a venture the whole community can enjoy, while Spurs will demolish the entire arena and build a purpose-built football stadium from scratch, providing resoures for an athletics venue elsewhere in the capital.

The rival plans have drawn widespread debate and criticism, and on Monday the Olympic Park Legacy Company decided to delay their decision, originally scheduled for Friday, in order to further investigate and evaluate all the options presented to them. That has brought League One side Orient back into the mix, and they will consider reviving their own plans for the site as worries grow that a Premier League club in the area will adversely affect their attendances and revenues.

With the original fall-back option of a reduced 25,000-capacity multi-use stadium also being considered by the OLPC, Orient chairman Barry Hearn confirmed that his club would again be interested in exploring the role they could play in that possibility - as they did when the idea was originally mooted earlier in the process.

"There is another way of proceeding here, and the decision to delay is a very good one," Hearn told The Daily Telegraph. "It is a common sense decision because there are a lot of things to be talked about, not least the future of my little club. We can't turn the clock back and undo the mistakes that have been made with lots of public money, but we can take a fresh look."

Elsewhere Hearn was more robust, telling The Sun that he would be prepared to launch legal action to delay the process by as much as five years if he sensed a genuine threat to his club's future.

"If someone or something upsets me I have all I need to take this to court," he said.

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