Talking Point

West Ham Vice Chairman Karren Brady appeared before the London Assembly Budget Monitoring committee at City Hall earlier this week and her performance was impressive.

The Baroness says she finds E20’s match day costs of up to £290,000 per West Ham game quite incredible and she doesn’t understand them.

Brady explained that West Ham’s running costs at the Boleyn Ground before the move were £51,000 per match day including stewarding, police and electricity for the former 35,000 stadium in Green Street. She added even doubling that amount should mean a cost of £102,000 per match day which would be less than West Ham rent for the London Stadium. She says she shared those figures as part of the original tender process. She insisted that West Ham’s rent was not too low at close to £3m per year but the London Stadium running costs were way too high. “I refuse to accept any criticism that our rent is too low, because that is simply not the case. Costs are too high,” Brady said.

Brady claimed she offered free help to the stadium owners 15 times but her offer of advice despite 25 years of running stadia had been refused.

The Baroness also told the London Assembly committee that she has reached an agreement with stadium owners London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) on a suite of disputes yesterday with CEO Lyn Garner the evening before before her appearance at City Hall.

Brady says the LLDC has now agreed that West Ham can rename the London East Stand after a West Ham player thought to be Billy Bonds and there is also an agreement to install a statue at Champions place outside the stadium where the Champions Statue from Green Street was supposed to be moved.

She added that there is now an agreement on a new pitch surround which will be mainly claret with West ham crossed Hammers logos with a small London Stadium dark blue edge to it. The West Ham honours board will also be re-instated after the two sides came to an agreement.

The West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady revealed that West Ham United and E20 Stadium LLP will go to court on the 19th of next month. Brady estimated that both sides had spent around £2m each so far and the matter was unlikely to be resolved out of court at this late stage, adding whoever loses would pay the other’s legal costs.

The court case will centre around the judge’s interpretation of the London Stadium concessionaire agreement signed by both West Ham and E20 Stadium LLP in 2013.

The agreement – which is in the public domain after a freedom of information request – defines the minimum football capacity of 54,000 but is strangely silent on the subject of a maximum capacity despite having over 66,000 seats available in the stadium. The agreement does infer that West Ham has the full use concessionaire areas of the stadium on match days which the club are understood to have interpreted to include all the seats within the stadium.

Brady confirmed that West Ham were forced to take out a legal injunction against London Stadium owners E20 to release information to an FA investigation about the Burnley crowd troubles. Brady explained to London Assembly members that initially E20 refused to hand over information for the FA investigation so the club was force to take them to court and won an injunction against them. The Vice Chairman added that the FA hearing about the Burnley crowd troubles which includes a look at the stewarding provision was being heard this week.

Brady also revealed that West Ham took out a second legal injunction against E20 to stop them installing a second tier of LED adverting at the London Stadium as it wasn’t permitted in the 2013 concessionaire agreement with West Ham. Again the Hammers won the legal injunction and the stadium owners were forced to abandon the installation.

West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady had admitted that the London Stadium with its current contracts would be difficult for West Ham to take over despite saying it is something she would look at.

Finishing her evidence to the London Assembly budget monitoring committee she was asked whether West Ham would be prepared to take over or buy the London Stadium.

Brady replied that the club would need to be really clear how UK Athletics, seat moves, long-term stadium maintenance costs and the operator were factored in to even consider it. Brady said “To be blunt, the reason we fixed our rent as a contribution to the operating costs is we did not want to find ourselves in the same position as E20 now find themselves in. We didn’t want to pick up costs of an operator we have no control over so we made an estimate being £51,000 being the cost at Upton Park”

Brady added “If I put myself in E20’s place and I have to pick up the contracts that they have signed which don’t seem to be very commercially geared in my mind with the operator, with seat moves, with UK Athletics and other users then I think that would be a very difficult situation for anyone to take over”

Karren Brady isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I am glad she is on our side, fighting our corner and negotiating on our behalf.

He is often said she negotiated ‘the deal of century’ for West Ham when signed the agreement for the London Stadium. If that is the case maybe the government should ask her to negotiate BREXIT with the European Union ? ;-)