The Barry Hearn Interview Part 2

One of the many quotes that Barry Hearn has rattled out to the press as a head line and a sound bite is the distance of Leyton Orient stadium from the Olympic Stadium

Quotes from Barry on the BBC such as "We are 750 yards away trying to compete with Premiership football” have been frequent in the press.

I asked Barry Hearn Why do you continuously state inaccuracies about how far your stadium is to the Olympic Stadium? As the crow flies it is 1.5miles, not 750 yards!

BH “I am spinning the press what do you want me to do?”

You said that in your House of Lords evidence too

BH “I said 750 yards to entrance to the Olympic Park”

No the Official House of Lords transcript says you said “My front door is 750 yards from the Olympic Stadium”

BH “If I said that, it’s wrong I put my hands up, Generally speaking I am truthful though”

It really riles West Ham fans up when no-one corrects you and the press just print these inaccuracies.

BH “It would rile West Ham fans up, It don’t matter it riles them up because we are playing a game here, this is like a game of football and we are well into extra time and the referee is looking at this watch, but you have to understand it’s a game, this is not personal”

BH “I know it grates West Ham fans, I know and I don’t care, I’am glad it grates them because I am saying F****g listen to me”

The House of Lords Transcript can be found HERE His quote is on page 17

Talking Point

How Much Is Modibo Maiga On?

Well, I’ll tell you. I’m reliably informed it’s an eye watering £38,000 a week.

Love to know who agreed to that. Madness. Pure madness. No wonder we can’t get rid of him. Which club would be foolish enough to match that? You’d have though we would have learned our lesson after paying Freddie Picquionne £40k a week, wouldn’t you?


The Barry Hearn Interview Part 1

On Monday I received an Email from Barry Hearn saying “I read your last piece on Leyton Orient which frankly I found a bit inaccurate. I think it would be fun for you and I to get together for a question and answer piece, so at least the West Ham fans can have the truth from our side.”

The article he was referring to was ‘the Double Standards of Barry Hearn’ article which can be found HERE

I took Barry up on his offer and on Tuesday afternoon I interviewed him for 75 minutes in his Match Room Sports offices in Brentwood, Essex. There is too much material for one post so I will cover the interview in a number of articles covering his Olympic Stadium challenge, the absurd ‘750 yards from Leyton Orient’ claim and whether he loves Spurs. In this article I will cover what Barry has to say about his deal to buy Brisbane Road, the money he made from selling the four corners, the ownership of the stadium and whether he believes Leyton Orient received state aid.

I started with the simple question “Are you going to European Union to complain about State aid for West Ham?”

Barry answered “No! I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to do it, the only way I would do it is if I got into a vindictive mode and I’d lost anything and I had nothing to lose”

I probed further asking “What conditions would you go to the European Union to complain about state aid?”

“That’s a really tough question to answer because I am not sure I can gain anything, it is tough because I am trying to be truthful. I am using the threat of Europe as a tactical manoeuvre at the moment but I want to be taken seriously”

Barry said he talked to European lawyers last week and their advice is he has a good chance of winning in Brussels.

He also had a meeting with Margaret Hodge Chairman of the powerful House of Commons Public Accounts Committee last Thursday. He claims Margaret said to him “We don’t want this to go to Europe do we Barry?” This is a new twist as he appears to be lobbying the House of Commons select committee which overseas value for money for tax payers to look into our deal.

It is obvious Barry considers the threat of a European investigation as his ultimate weapon of mass destruction, but like all nuclear weapons it might be a case mutually assured destruction for many in football.

Providing me more details of how he acquired Brisbane Road stadium which I still claim could equally to open of claims of state aid he proudly explained he got ‘the deal of the century’ when Waltham Forest Council sold him Brisbane Road Stadium for £350,000 after he threatened to leave the area because Leyton Orient were losing so much money. Barry added “I couldn’t believe they sold it so cheaply, unbelievable price. I gave them a cheque the same day.”

He confirmed he does pay £1 a year for ground rent but says that is immaterial as he has a 999 year lease so it is just a pepper corn rent and claims he effectively owns the freehold of the land. I challenged him on this to say if he effectively owned the freehold why did he have to go back to Waltham Forest council to seek a variation in his lease and why did he give the council a million pounds when he sold the four corners to property developers in a deal worth £7.5M?

In a classic Barry Hearn answer said “I gave them a million pounds because I felt guilty, I didn’t have to give them anything” but he admitted the council saw things differently.

He also confirmed his company Match Room Sports purchased the Brisbane Road stadium for £6m in 2009 and now offers a 20 lease year back to Leyton Orient with rent reviews every 5 years. He says the whole Brisbane Road area is zoned for residential planning which could fetch significant value if redeveloped but claimed he is only interested in getting his £6m back and any excess profit would be ploughed back into Leyton Orient if he became a tenant of the Olympic Stadium.

I am grateful to Barry for clearing things up but we disagree on the difference of how his deal with Waltham Forest, West Ham’s deal with the LLDC or Spurs £41m deal with Haringey which the Guardian covered HERE last month is any different!

If one is classed as state aid they all should in my opinion and Manchester City’s use of the Ethiad stadium now I come to think about it.

Further from the Barry Hearn interview soon.

Talking Point

Does Joe Cole Really Want to Leave?


On Saturday Joe Cole was subbed after 27 minutes and was so angry about it he went straight down the tunnel. The Sun reports that this has provoked him into deciding that his future is away from Upton Park and that he has had it with Sam Allardyce. They quote a ‘Sun Source’ as saying…

Joey has had it with Sam. He felt publicly humiliated at being hooked so early in the game against his old club and he wants out. Hopefully there will be a few takers in January. He was looking forward to a great season with West Ham but now it’s all turned sour."

That sounds like the words of an agent trying to engineer another move which the agent will make money from. But if this really is Joe Cole’s attitude it stinks. Perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s a made up quote, but let’s be honest and admit that he has hardly ripped up any trees this season. He’s been injured yet again but I can’t remember any game which he has actually played brilliantly in. If he did want to move, can anyone really imagine a queue of clubs eager to sign him? I’m not sure I can.

What Joe Cole needs to do now is to settle down, take responsibility for his own form and fight his way into the starting lineup. He still has the ability to change games. It’s up to him to prove it.


Remembering Trevor Brooking

The lad was born in Barking in October 1948 and was to go on to achieve 11 “O” levels and 2 “A” Levels, followed by two FA Cup final wins, five Hammer of the Year awards, 47 England caps, an MBE, elevated to a CBE, followed by a knighthood and a stand at the Boleyn named after him. Sir Trevor Brooking. Without doubt the best midfield player ever to play for the Hammers. Sir Trev played 647 games for West Ham over 17 seasons – 1967 to 1984 and scored 102 goals. Before signing for West Ham he was courted by many other clubs but the Hammers were the only ones that would allow him to continue his studies whilst doing his football apprenticeship. Despite better offers, in particular from Tommy Docherty at Chelsea, Trevor signed for West Ham on the 24th July 1965.

He made his debut nearly two years later against Burnley at Turf Moor. Whilst I am happy to say I saw Trevor’s only ever hat trick against Newcastle in 1968, I must also confess that whilst I have never booed my team or any West Ham player, I was amongst many who used to groan when Trevor’s name was called out just before the teams came out to play at Upton Park. In his early years Trevor was playing inside forward. He was weak and slow. Why was he being picked each week? Groan!

But in the early seventies a set of circumstances, Martin Peters sold to Spurs and Tommy Taylor reverting to a defensive position, allowed Trevor to move to a midfield position. And how he blossomed. The slow and weak inside forward became a midfield player of guile and grace – a truly World class player. The transformation was like an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan. What we were seeing at Upton Park each week was mind boggling and it seemed like an age for the England hierarchy to finally catch on and pick him for the National team. Trevor eventually played 47 times for England and during that time he enjoyed a similar telepathic relationship with Kevin Keegan as he had developed at West Ham with Alan Devonshire. On the home front or the International stage, Trevor followed in Bobby Moore’s footsteps. He was a true gentleman of the game.

Sir Trevor Brooking was one of the last of a dying breed. The one club footballer. Despite being one of the best footballers in the World, when West Ham were relegated in 1978 he insisted on staying. Two years later he would head home the only goal of the FA Cup final against Arsenal and bring the cup back to the East End. It was the last time that a team outside the top flight were to win the trophy. To stand testimony to his love of the club he still attends many matches to this day – and this after two care taker manager spells where his presence in the dressing room alone saw the teams that played under him in difficult circumstances win 9, draw 4 and lose just once in 14 games. Trevor Brooking only ever lowered his head twice – to head home that famous winner in the 1980 Cup final and for the Queen to make him SIR TREV.

Copyright © 2017 Iain Dale Limited. Terms and conditions. Cookies.
Website by Russell Brown.