Chairmen welcome OPLC decision

West Ham United Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold have expressed their pleasure after the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) Board decision to unanimously recommend that the club and Newham Council take over the Olympic Stadium.

Mr Sullivan and Mr Gold discussed their pride at being named as preferred bidders to move in following the London 2012 Games.

The Chairmen explained that, should the OPLC decision be ratified by the Government and London Mayor Boris Johnson, the Hammers would be playing at the Olympic Stadium at the beginning of the 2014/15 season.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales was equally delighted with the decision, outlining the amazing legacy the stadium and surrounding Olympic Park complex would have for residents throughout the Borough, the East End and beyond.

Here is what Mr Sullivan, Mr Gold and Sir Robin had to say on a historic day for West Ham United, the London Borough of Newham and the whole of east London -

West Ham United Chairman David Sullivan

"I think it's a wonderful day for the club and it can take us to the next level. I think it's very, very important. We need a bigger stadium to compete with the bigger clubs. It is an iconic stadium and it will be wonderful for the club.

"It's a long a complicated process and the due diligence has been enormous. Karren [Brady] and many others have put endless hours into it and I can't thank them enough for that they have done for the club.

"Newham Council have been very supportive and we will be partners. We will be renting the stadium from a company we jointly own with the council, so we will own the stadium with the council and will be tenants. They are very good people and want to do their best for the Borough."I'm absolutely sure this is the right move. I think there has been a lot of scaremongering by other clubs and people are obviously nervous about the move, but the sightlines are better than at Wembley. The athletics track will be covered so it won't look like an athletics track. Overall, it will look and feel like a football stadium. There is an enormous amount of work to be done to turn this from an Olympic Stadium into a multi-sports stadium.

"This is very, very good for east London and very good for London and for the community and the legacy. I really believe as a neutral our bid was the best bid and the best bid has won.

"We can move in for the 2014/15 season. We're not just going to roll across and open up. We're going to spend £95m which will completely change the stadium and atmosphere and turn it into a multi-sports stadium. We will give UK Athletics the same length of lease that we have on the stadium, so while we will be there for 250 years they will be there for 250 years. It will be a legally built-in guarantee that the track will be there forever.

"I think historically we're a top-six club and we can be a top-six club again. Realistically, it's very hard to challenge Manchester City and Chelsea - even Arsenal and Manchester United will find that over the next couple of years - but we'll be knocking on the door. I just can't wait for 2014 when we play our first match there."

David Gold, Sir Robin Wales and David Sullivan

West Ham United Chairman David Gold

"We are thrilled to have Newham Council as our partners and we are very excited about what has happened today. It's nice to be on the winning side and it's nice that the winning side is on the right side. That's what I feel we represented - what is right, what is fair and what is honest.

"It's a great day for West Ham United Football Club, there is no doubt about that. It's also a great day for Newham Council - my council where I was born many years ago. It's also a great day for England and Great Britain because we're keeping our promise. When Lord Coe gave a promise in 2005, it was on behalf of us all, and it would have been a tragedy if that promise had been broken.

"For me, this is also an amazing day. I've come full circle. I started out here when I was a young boy and I've come back to my home and when I look over my shoulder and see this wonderful stadium, I can't tell you how proud I am today. We're the preferred bidder. We're hopeful that will be endorsed by the Government and the Mayor.

"David Sullivan and myself have been in business for a long time and our experience at Birmingham City is well-documented. I believe this is a sound bid and the finances are in place. We have done our own due diligence and we're satisfied that, come what may, there will be absolutely no call on public money.

"I think it's important that this bid has been won by east London people. David and I, our roots are in east London. I was born in east London and played for West Ham Boys and I remember one day I hoped I'd win a Gold Medal. I remember when I was 14 years of age running at a school camp. Three hundred boys set out that day and I won and I was awarded a five shilling piece. It was a great day. I remember going to my school - Burke Secondary Modern - and telling my PE teacher I wanted to be a long-distance runner. My teacher said 'Gold, don't be a silly sod. This is Burke Secondary Modern in the East End of London and we don't do long-distance running'. Well, we do now.

"This is not just about football, it's about a community. This is about more than money and football, it's about our kids and their future and what we can do. It's very important, what we can do.

"When David and I first came to West Ham, I had my doubts, but once I'd been to the stadium and see the sight-lines, I was won over immediately. This is an iconic stadium, this will be one of the finest stadiums for football and the bonus is that all of the other stadiums will be taking place there.

"As a football stadium, I'm confident West Ham fans will be thrilled and we've already set up programmes for them to come and see it because we're so confident that they'll fall in love with it - both because it's iconic and because it's a proper football stadium. There is not a single seat in this stadium that will be worse than at Wembley.

"They have 90,000 fans go to Wembley and are thrilled by the experience. There will be 60,000 fans coming here and they will be equally thrilled by the experience."

David Gold, Sir Robin Wales and David Sullivan

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales

"On behalf of West Ham United and Newham, I want to say that today's announcement shows that people are the real winners in Newham, throughout London and across the nation, as fans and participants in football, athletics, cricket and many other sports, while also creating jobs and opportunities in the East End with diverse and vibrant events for residents and tourists alike.

"We want to ensure the legacy of the London Olympics inspires the people in the community and beyond for generations to come. It's more than just bricks and mortar and talking of those bricks, we think they work very well the way they are.

"The games will be fantastic spectacle but they will come and go in a few short weeks and the memories will fade. So the challenge for us all is to ensure the impact is permanent and very real. London won the right to host the Olympics with the promise lasting legacy for our nation, a legacy for our children in sport, transforming opportunities for our community in every sense.

"West Ham United and Newham share a vision for this venue as a fitting home for elite sporting events for footballers, athletes, cricketers and rugby players competing at the very highest level in a first-class stadium inspiring those who come to see them, and where young people can try these sports for the very first time.

"Entrusted to us for the nation, this stadium will be the heart of our vibrant local community. We will allow every member of our community to access their Olympic Stadium. Our vision is for spectacular events to sit alongside community activities. We want our kids to come along and see their heroes perform in a concert and then sing in a community event on the same stage the very next day.

"It works both nationally and locally. We will help benefit the wider community beyond the stadium walls. As Newham Council, we will use the profits we make from these events to fund activities and ground-breaking initiatives."Today's announcement means that, despite the financial cuts imposed upon Newham, we will continue to invest in our young people.

"I do want to stress that this is only possible because of the strong relations we have with our outstanding partners here with us today - Live Nation, the world's biggest concert promoters; Essex County Cricket Club with England players past and present; UK Athletics, who will nurture future generations of medal winners at our Olympic Stadium; Westfield, a world-class developer building Europe's largest retail mall here in the East End.

"Let me say something about West Ham United. Throughout this process the club has shown imagination and commitment. Yes, the bid is good for the club, but in David Sullivan and David Gold, they maintain a real vision of the wider community benefit way beyond that of many others. They are a pleasure to work with and really impressive partner.

"This is not the end of the bidding process, nor is it the end of our ambition for this venue and the space around it. It's for everybody, this stadium and that's what we've managed to achieve today.

"We are delighted that the vast majority of the British public shared our vision and back our bid. We are the preferred bidder and we've still got a lot of work to do. The London Olympic bid promised a legacy and together we promise to deliver that legacy and to ensure that the true winners are the people of Newham, of London and of the country as a whole.

"I think the whole process has been carried out very professionally and I'm very impressed with the way the OPLC has done its business.

"The loan we are taking is from something called prudential borrowing (from the Treasury) and has nothing to do with anything else we're doing. We couldn't take the money and spend it on services because it has to be tied to an income stream. It won't cost us anything. We're loaning the money to the SPB that is running the stadium and we will get that money back."