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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 23, 2012

Hearn angry at bidding process

Following the announcement of four submitted bids for the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium, Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn has confirmed that his club have not applied and hit out at the whole bidding process.

"We have withdrawn. The whole process has been one disaster after another,'' he told reporters on Friday afternoon.

"The whole thing has been totally bonkers. No one has talked to little Leyton Orient about it. This stadium is going to kill the area and kill our football club, but no one wants to listen.

"We have been totally overlooked by everyone. No one has talked to us. The people who are organising this are ignoring us. They don't care about us. It's total, complete b******t. We are a club that is 750 yards from the stadium.

"We organised a £30,000 survey of the effect that West Ham will have on moving to Stratford and the results are pretty disastrous.''

Hearn thinks the stadium, which will be reduced to a 60,000-seater arena from its Olympic capacity of 80,000, is not fit to host top-tier football.

He added: "The stadium is a magnificent athletics stadium, a magnificent building. It's just not built for football.

"The pitch is 40 to 50 yards away from the front row of seats an I personally find that abhorrent for football. Also, this stadium is designed for athletics. Football grounds have steep stands but this one doesn't.

"The view from the lower tier is dreadful. It's not a white elephant. It's a white elephant that they're trying to make into a pink flamingo.

"If you're talking about atmosphere, then forget it. You would have to rebuild the entire stadium to create any atmosphere in that place.

"This represents a quantum change in the experience of a football punter and frankly it could be the demise of West Ham if they move there. It's a huge slap in the face to their fans and their history.''

West Ham tonight hit back at Hearn's claims, saying in a statement: ``While others spend their time speculating on our plans we are focusing only on the long-term prosperity of our great club and how we can take it to the next level for the benefit of our loyal and deserving fans.

"We will ensure that we make our vision a reality should we get the opportunity to do so. Our aim is to sell out a 60,000 stadium and we have a plan to do it. Other people's five favourite words might be 'What's in it for me', while West Ham's are 'What's in it for us'.

"We want a world-class stadium fit for football, not the stadium that is there today, but one that will be first-class for football in 2014. To have no vision is to have no dream. We have the vision and we'll realise the dream."

The OPLC did not reply when asked for a response to Hearn's comments tonight.

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