West Ham kicks off: how the Olympic Stadium became the political football of London's 2012 legacy

West Ham is about to play its first game of the season in its new home ground of the Olympic Stadium. This is a victory for the East End of London, because there has been such a strong determination to deliver a local legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games, but the success story conceals a political saga worthy of the worst television soap operas. The saga speaks of Tessa Jowell and Sebastian Coe's determination to rescue their reputations from the clutches of disgrace by ensuring that an athletics stadium has been retained at the heart of the Olympic Stadium; it speaks of the devastating cost to the tax payer of the no-holes-barred battle between West Ham, Spurs and Leyton Orient for the legacy use of the stadium and how this battle cost those at the top of the legacy planning operation their careers. It may well be that this saga is not over yet, not just because the stadium, despite a £300 million pound price tag for the transformation of the venue for Premier League footballing use, might not be ready in time for the first game of the new season, but also because the better West Ham do, the more likely it is that accusations will arise, especially from European clubs, that West Ham are the beneficiaries of state aid, and that the playing field between club sides is not, therefore, level. As a final twist, it may well be that Brexit will save West Ham and Newham Council from the European Courts.