The Olympic Stadium Decision–and Leyton Orient

February 11, 2011 — by John Lally

Today, the Olympic Park Legacy Committee selected West Ham United as the preferred bidder to become the new tenant of the Olympic Stadium, beating out competition from Tottenham Hotspur.  This decision will have a severe negative effect on an historic London club, formed in the early 1880s – not Spurs, but Leyton Orient.

The London skyline and 2012 Olympic Stadium (via

The Olympic Stadium is just a mile away from Brisbane Road, Leyton Orient’s stadium, and a tenant like West Ham will have a severe impact on their ability to attract new local fans.  Having been in existence since 1881, Orient have enjoyed just one season in the top flight in their history, back in 1962-3.  Despite this, they have a hardcore group of fans, attracting just over 4000 fans as an average attendance, and invest in the local community and in a youth program which gives opportunities to local kids.  West Ham, though they currently get around 30,000+ fans, will have 60,000 seats to try and fill for each home game (they don’t currently sell out Upton Park for some of the less high profile games).  To do this, they will be offering low price tickets to school children and families to encourage people to come along.  As a bigger club, with a more high profile name and more historical success, it is likely that new young local fans that otherwise might have been going to see Leyton Orient, will instead choose to go and see West Ham – more fame and a bigger stadium being obvious selling points.

The owners of West Ham are not doing this because they are fans of the club who want to see them succeed; Gold and Sullivan are in this purely for profit and know that having the Olympic Stadium plan will make the club have a higher resale value.  The legacy of the 2012 Olympics could now be that one of the oldest community clubs in London could be put out of business, while in the process, two speculators manage to flip a club for profit using the stadium as leverage.

I am so happy that Tottenham were not the preferred bidder for two reasons.  Firstly, we are not from East London, our roots, history and place is in the N17 region of North London.  To franchise ourselves in the way that MK Dons did when they moved away from Wimbledon, would be tearing apart our history and telling the fans that the desire for more (money, success, profile) was more important than the neighbourhood and community that has supported them for over 125 years.  It hasn’t escaped me that it’s not through choice Spurs are not moving.  I sincerely hope this was gamesmanship on the part of Daniel Levy to try and encourage the local council to improve transport links to White Hart Lane; I’m just not convinced at this point it was.  Secondly, I’m relieved that we will not be doing to Leyton Orient what was done to Tottenham back in 1913, when Woolwich Arsenal uprooted from South London to the Islington area of North London – previously a Tottenham stronghold.  This set in place a fierce rivalry between the two clubs, as we believe they had encroached on our territory – something fans remind them of to this day with their suggestion they should go back to the other side of the river (Okay, we sing “F$@& off back to South London”).  If we had made this move, my support would have gone to any local team that the supporters created, in the style of AFC Wimbledon.  I do not know any Spurs fan that was in favour of this move, all of us would accept less success in exchange for not moving. Bigger is not always better, and greed definitely is not good.

I went to one Leyton Orient game, they were the closest team to where I used to live in east London, and I saw them take on Chester, my Dad’s local team when he was growing up.  I sat in the away fans on a cold Tuesday December night back in 2005 and experienced the quintessential football experience, a scrappy 1-0 win for the away team in a low quality game, but completely enjoyable because of the banter between the two sets of fans and a fantastic coffee and meat pie at half time.  My favourite moment from the whole night was a chant inspired by a new residential building that had been recently finished and allowed residents a clear view of the stadium, and vice versa – “We can see you washing up”.  Since then, Chester have gone out of business due to years of financial mismanagement and are being forced to start again from the lowest rung of non-league football, I just hope that Leyton Orient do not follow suit  because of another team’s greed.

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American Midfielders Starring in England: Dempsey, Spector, Holden

January 24, 2011 — by Suman

Stuart Holden...American idol?

American midfielders have been getting their shine on in England.  Clint Dempsey has been leading Fulham, Stuart Holden has been a mainstay for Bolton, and Jonathan Spector has been a surprise performer for West Ham.  Moreover, Jermaine Jones recently debuted for Blackburn on loan from Bundesliga club Schalke 04–and we may soon see Michael Bradley also make the move to the Premier League from the Bundesliga (where he plays for Borussia Moenchengladbach).  According to a Fox Soccer report, Sunderland is lining up a bid for Bradley (apparently spending some portion of that staggering £24m they got in return for letting striker Darren Bent go to Aston Villa).

We’ll get a chance to see Holden play this afternoon, as Bolton host Chelsea (3pm ET, ESPND &  Meanwhile, both Dempsey and Spector scored over the weekend for their sides.  In fact, Dempsey scored two for Fulham yesterday, giving him eight for the season (which makes him the 5th highest scoring midfielder in the league, behind Kevin Nolan, Tim Cahill, Samir Nasri and Rafael van der Vaart, and just outside the Top 10 scorers overall):

Video: PL Highlights: Fulham/Stoke

Meanwhile, Jonathan Spector scored for West Ham over the weekend against Everton (scoring on American goalkeeper Tim Howard); it was Spector’s first-ever Premier League goal–although he did cause quite a stir a couple months ago when he scored twice against Manchester United in a 4-0 Carling Cup victory for West Ham.

Video: PL Highlights: Everton/West Ham


Carling Cup Draw – Quarterfinals Today & Tomorrow

November 30, 2010 — by Suman1

The Carling (i.e., League) Cup is certainly a lesser competition in England than the FA Cup, but it’s hardware nonetheless.  The quarterfinals just kicked off in a matter of minutes, with two matches today (West Ham-Man U & Arsenal-Wigan), and two more tomorrow (Birmingham City-Aston Villa & Ipswich Town-West Bromwich Albion).  All games start at 7:45pm in England (which corresponds to 2:45pm ET).

One match each day is available for viewing here in the US.  Today, West Ham-Man U is on FSP, as well streaming on  Tomorrow, the same goes Birmingham City-Aston Villa.

Carling Cup Quarterfinals

Tuesday 30th November

Arsenal vs Wigan Athletic FC
Kick-off at 19:45 at Emirates Stadium
West Ham United vs Manchester United
Kick-off at 19:45 at Upton Park

Wednesday 1st December

Birmingham City vs Aston Villa
Kick-off at 19:45 at St. Andrews
Ipswich Town vs West Bromwich Albion
Kick-off at 19:45 at Portman Road


Santos Star Neymar Still with Club…for Now

July 20, 2010 — by Sean2

So slight he needs to hold up his shorts.

So everybody wants a piece of the goal-scoring phenom Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, more easily: Neymar. He’s a speedy, quick footed attacker who is of course a whiney brash little thing seeing that he’s all of 18 yrs-old. Playing alongside Robinho and Ganso has certainly helped him this year, but he is the type of player who would surely excel in any system that could feed him the ball 35 yrds out, as he’s quite capable of dribbling through the remainder of the defense from that point.

Clubs have lined up to get him, with Real, Chelsea, West Ham, Man City, and Barça among the suitors (yes, the Hammers don’t exactly fit with the level, but they do (try) and play possession football and are generally easy on the eye, though they lost often last season). Chelsea have felt the first sting of rejection, as their €20M offer was dismissed.


“Mike Tyson cheers on Peterborough vs West Ham”

July 15, 2010 — by Suman1

"We're not in Brownsville any more..are we?"

We here at CultFootball HQ are still quite new to the footy blogosphere.  We were poking around Twitter a couple weeks ago, looking for soccer-related feeds to follow, and came across Off The Post (on Twitter here, and also on Facebook here), and we’ve since become a big fan.  Like us, they have a healthy sense of their own importance (their subhead: “The best football blog on the planet!”).

What we like is their idiosyncratic take on the sport, such as their “Top 5 [or 10] Conclusions” series.

Or news reports like this:

West Ham’s pre-season friendly at Peterborough was given some extra, erm, bite by the presence of Mike Tyson. The cash-strapped boxer was in Peterborough for a £100-a-head Evening With The Baddest Man On The Planet.

He went onto the pitch at half-time wearing a Peterborough shirt and told the crowd through a loudspeaker: “I’ve never heard of Peterborough before but as soon as I heard it was West Ham I thought, we’ve got to really give it to them.”

He obviously didn’t see much of West Ham last season!