By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

usain-bolt-visits-the-olympic-park-70030January 16 - Opposition to Tottenham Hotspur's controversial proposal to take over the Olympic Stadium after London 2012 continues to grow, with the world's fastest man Usain Bolt and Britain's former Sports Minister Richard Caborn both adding their voices to the growing anger at the plans of the Premier League club to demolish the arena and rebuild it without an athletics track.

Also, ahead of Tottenham's home match today against Manchester United, fans opposed to the club's bid to move to the Olympic Stadium staged a protest outside White Hart Lane.

Bolt, the triple Olympic and world champion, posted a message on his official Twitter feed to his 71,400 followers urging the track to be retained after the Games.

"London needs to keep the track in the olympic stadium after 2012. It would be good to run there after. Keep the track," he wrote.

Bolt later posted another message: "think about the young uk athlete that are coming up and need a pro track to train on".

Caborn, meanwhile, who was Britain's longest-ever serving Sports Minister having held the role between 2001 and 2007, including playing a key role in London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, has backed West Ham United's proposal to take over the Stadium.

He also revealed that he recommended to the London 2012 Olympic Board in 2006 that they should accept a proposal from West Ham to become the Stadium's tenants following the Games.

"If the Board had had a bit more foresight, this issue would have been settled then, at acceptable cost to the public purse," Caborn writes in an exclusive published today on insidethegames.

"Spurs were also at that time making inquiries.

"However, like today, they encountered opposition from their fans, along with concerns from the police about the need to transport North London-based Spurs supporters to every home match and the problems that could cause.

"Then as today, the key question that a Spurs ground development has to answer is, 'Why can't it be carried out in the area where the club has its roots and thus have maximum benefit for the fans and the community in which they and their families live?'"

Caborn claims that Britain should honour the bid pledges it made during its campaign in 2005.

"It would be wrong to wipe out half-a-billion pounds of public investment when it could be used to give the nation and Newham a true Olympic legacy," he writes.

Caborn is the latest key figure from London's bid to back West Ham's bid.

Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012, and Alan Pascoe, the vice-chairman during the bid, have already come out strongly in favour of West Ham.

Coe, Caborn and Pascoe are faced on the other side by Sir Keith Mills, the chief executive of London 2012 during the bid and now its vice-chairman, who sits on Tottenham's Board, and Mike Lee, the communications director when the capital was bidding but who is now working as a spin-doctor for Spurs.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) are due to make a decision later this month about who will take over the Stadium.

"Unfortunately, the Tottenham proposal is totally void of any Olympic legacy, adds no sporting value to the Olympic Park and is just about building a new Premier League football ground," writes Caborn.

"As my old dad  used to say 'some people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing'."


Tottenham fans protesting about the plans to leave White Hart Lane, their home ground since 1899, to relocate to the Olympic Stadium set-off flares and blocked Tottenham High Road before they played Manchester United.

The group known as "We are N17", who are supported by the MP for Tottenham David Lammy, have already met with the Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

"We're disappointed the lack of consultation," said Tim Framps, one of the organisers of the We are N17 campaign,.

"The fans should let their voices be known.

"The OPLC's decision depends on fans following the club.

"If there are 100,000 Spurs fans who want to go to Stratford, then fair enough.

"But I don't think there are and that's why they haven't asked us."

But there was some support for Tottenham's proposal from Barry Hearn, the chairman of League Two Leyton Orient.

"On balance, the Tottenham bid is far more acceptable to me than the West Ham bid," he told talkSPORT.

"I've got this thing about sustainable commercial ventures, let's be perfectly honest, West Ham were discounting cup tickets in their semi-final the other day for the Carling Cup and still only got 30,000 people.

"Unfortunately the [Olympic] Stadium is poorly designed, unfortunately the stadium is a waste of public money and it's things like that, that the Government and the people involved in the Olympics don't want to hear.

"We want to feel good about the Olympics and so we should.

"What they don't want to hear is that someone messed up, they've messed up big time with this Stadium.

"There's no room for an athletics track in this stadium, there is no demand for an athletics track with a 60,000 seater stadium, it's a total white elephant.

"We're all being sucked in as if we're criticising the Olympics, we're not, we love the Olympics but the only way forward for this stadium is to knock it down, take away the athletics track and build a proper stadium.

"As much as Leyton Orient are a small club I would never go [to a stadium] where my fans are 80-yards away from the grass action, it just destroys the atmosphere.

"You can't hide that, you can't put seats on the running track, it just doesn't work.

"I wouldn't ask my worst enemy to watch football with 80-yards of running track between them and the grass."

To read Richard Caborn's blog click here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
January 2011: Exclusive - Warner denies Tottenham claim that UKA "refusing to engage"
January 2011: Exclusive - Prime Minister should intervene in Olympic Stadium row to prevent Britain becoming "laughing stock" claims Pascoe
January 2011: Head of IOC Athletes' Commission joins call for Olympic Stadium to keep track after London 2012
January 2011: Exclusive - Idea of Olympic Stadium going to Tottenham is "ludicrous" says Lewis
January 2011: Tottenham plan to sign David Beckham is "cynical" ploy to get Olympic Stadium claims West Ham chair