O'Brien: Stadium can attract the best
Published 29/03/2013 | 13:27
Joey O'Brien thinks Sam Allardyce will be able to attract some of the best players in the world to West Ham now that they have been handed the keys to the Olympic Stadium.
After years of legal wrangling, the London Legacy Development Corporation finally confirmed last Friday that it had chosen West Ham to become anchor tenants of the London 2012 stadium in Stratford.
The Hammers are expected to move in to the 60,000-seater venue at the start of the 2016-17 season, and the club are determined to use the fact that they are moving to one of the most iconic stadia in Great Britain as a key selling point for any transfer targets. O'Brien said: "I think it can only mean good things for the club when you move into a stadium like that."
Co-owner David Sullivan already appears to have upped the stakes in the market with his pursuit of Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony, while other targets for next season have also been identified.
Bolton were able to attract the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo to the Reebok Stadium after they moved there from Burnden Park and the former Trotters defender, now a regular starter with the Hammers, thinks a higher calibre of player will also be tempted to move to West Ham once they see how good their new home is.
O'Brien added: "You can attract players and supporters from all over the world to play and watch there. If the club want to push on and finish higher in the league, then we need a bigger stadium and to fill it to get the revenue into the football club. It's a great step forward.
"It will be unbelievable. Looking at the stadium when the Olympics were on and seeing what the club want to do with it by turning it into a football stadium, it looks unbelievable."
Bolton were favourites for the drop when Allardyce took them in to the Barclays Premier League in 2001, but they remained in the top-flight for 11 years before being relegated last summer. During that time Bolton made the League Cup final and qualified for the UEFA Cup - something which would have been possible without the move to their new stadium, O'Brien reckons.
"If they hadn't have moved to the Reebok then I don't think they'd have established themselves in the Premier League and definitely wouldn't have got into Europe," the 27-year-old added.
"Stadia help to attract players and get revenue into the club and, from that, if the team settles into the stadium then it will help them to beat teams and finish higher up the league, then you attract more players. It's a rolling thing. Up there at Bolton, they would probably have not achieved the same success without the new stadium."