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Feb 9, 2011

Sullivan continues feud with Levy

The war of words between West Ham and Spurs over the Olympic Stadium has reached new heights after Hammers co-owner David Sullivan hit back at Daniel Levy's arguments for handing the site to the North London club, in an interview with ESPNsoccernet.

• Brewin: Olympian ideals, but money talks

Both Premier League chairmen have been penning their own articles in the London Evening Standard, Levy on Tuesday and Sullivan on Wednesday. But Sullivan has taken the feud to a new level with stinging comments in the week of the judgment on which of the clubs should be the tenants after the Olympics.

Sullivan is now questioning whether it should be Levy putting the case forward or the man behind the throne at White Hart Lane, Joe Lewis, the billionaire currency trader who resides in the Bahamas, the 261st richest person on the Forbes Rich List.

Sullivan told ESPNsoccernet: "I'm not some tax exile living in the Bahamas, who never watches a football match, doing it for a huge, personal financial gain, as is the case with the Spurs owner. The motive of myself and my partner David Gold is to give something back to the community we came from and are still a part of.

"The Olympic Stadium will motivate and regenerate East London and Essex. We are proud to use our money to be a part of it. It works for West Ham United and all of London.

"Daniel Levy's sole argument seems to be that, in his opinion, the stadium won't work with West Ham United as the tenants. We beg to differ. What we know won't work is having a north London club having a stadium in the Borough where we have been for over 100 years. It doesn't feel right, as it isn't right. Any right-minded person would agree with us.

"Just imagine if Manchester United wanted to build as new football stadium in Bolton, it would be wrong. The Spurs plan is no different."

Sullivan also maintained, in his column for the Evening Standard, that emotion would play a key role in making the dream a reality.

''If you believe in something, you will work harder and for longer to make it a success,'' he wrote. ''You have to care. Lord Coe cares. He was emotional and full of sentiment when delivering the Olympic legacy promise which resulted in us winning the 2012 Games, against the odds. He cares as much as us about honouring that promise.

''Demolishing a feat of engineering and expertise that cost half-a-billion pounds and then knocking up a plain football ground in its place is about as cold and clinical as it gets. And, by the way, doesn't make financial sense.

''No wonder those who propose that option want the emotion stripped away and instead are choosing to patronise the tens of thousands of loyal Hammers fans who know a thing or two about atmosphere.

''We will be able to answer their desire for affordable tickets and better access at a world-class stadium that is fitting for a club that produced three World Cup winners. The fact we will be staying in our Borough to do so just makes the case even more compelling.

''After £90 million of conversion, we'll have great sightlines - no seat will have a worse view of the pitch than Wembley Stadium - and a new roof designed to create intimacy. I have no doubt that this stadium will succeed.''

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