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West Ham's move to the Olympic Stadium has come at the perfect time

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West Ham United look set to ride into their new 60,000 seater stadium next season on the crest of a wave - and at a fraction of the total £701 million that its construction will eventually cost.

Should the Irons finish the campaign in their current sixth place, it will represent their best finish to a Premier League season since 1998/99 under Harry Redknapp.

Positivity is at an all time high at Upton Park at the moment and Europa League football is almost guaranteed in the inaugural year at their new home.

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Managerial leadership under club legend Slaven Bilic has galvanised the side, while signings such as Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini have proved more than capable of 'playing the West Ham way'.

The original capacity of the former Olympic Stadium was set to be 54,000 but unexpectedly high demand for season tickets has meant a 6,000 increase in capacity.

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More good news for fans of the East Londoners was unveiled last week when landlords the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) published its agreement with their future tenants.

The long and short of it is that West Ham have negotiated themselves the deal of the decade.

The Hammers will be paying just £2.5 million in rent per annum. An amount which will be bettered by match-day gate receipts after roughly three games, meaning the club will make very tidy profits.

Out of a £272 million conversion cost to make the ground suitable for football, West Ham will only be required to contribute £15 million.

FBL-ENG-FACUP-BLACKBURN-WEST HAM

Amazingly, the LLDC will be responsible for the entire upkeep of the stadium, including pitch maintenance, goalposts and nets, even down to the corner flags.

Arsenal supporters, whose club invested £470 million in constructing their own Emirates Stadium ten years ago, are understandably resentful towards their neighbour's bargain.

Tottenham also bid for use of the site, although their plan to bulldoze the arena in order to build a specialist football stadium did not comply with Lord Coe's demand to respect the Olympic legacy.

Taxpayers feel that the news of the deal means they will effectively be subsidising a football club which already receives millions of pounds a year in television and sponsorship money.

But aside from a few games at the Rugby World Cup last year, the stadium has virtually been sitting empty since the London Games in 2012 and was in real danger of becoming a white elephant.

Reports that the LLDC are close to striking a stadium naming rights deal worth £6 million a year with Indian conglomerate the Mahendra Group are great news and should minimise the cost to taxpayers.

France v Romania - Group D: Rugby World Cup 2015

For West Ham, their final home game at the Boleyn Ground against Manchester United in May is sure to be an emotional occasion, but their future is brighter than ever.

Owners David Gold and David Sullivan seem to be in for the long haul, while Bilic is a young and hungry manager who's building a squad combining continental flare with British grit.

Considering their strong community traditions, it's critical for the Hammers to have a player who links the terraces and the team.

Captain and local lad Mark Noble is that bond. A player who bleeds claret and blue and encapsulates the spirit of the football club, Noble is a rarity in the modern-day game.

West Ham United v Arsenal - Premier League

Currently sitting just five points off a Champions League qualifying place with four games to go, their season could still finish on a massive high.

If they hadn't fallen victim to some terrible refereeing decisions recently they could be a lot closer too.

Should Bilic spend wisely this summer, who's to say that West Ham couldn't replicate Leicester's outstanding campaign and really upset the hierarchy next term?

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Topics:
West Ham United
Football
Premier League
Mark Noble
Aaron Cresswell
Andrew Carroll

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