Sunday, 14 September 2008



London is one of the world's principal cities, with a metropolitan population of 13 million. London hosts five Premier League football clubs: two in west London (Chelsea and Fulham), two in north London (Arsenal and Spurs), and just one, West Ham, in east London.

By comparison, Manchester has a metropolitan population of 4 million. Manchester hosts 4 Premier League football clubs: Manchester United, Manchester City, Wigan and Bolton. Liverpool has a metropolitan population of just 1 million. Liverpool hosts two Premier League football clubs: Liverpool and Everton. Newcastle has a metropolitan population of less than 1 million. Newcastle has one Premier League football club: Newcastle United.

The real secret of London over the last and future decades is this: the trend towards east London: Canary Wharf becoming the Manhattan of Europe, the Thames Estuary Airport replacing Heathrow, the 2012 Olympics coming to Stratford, the high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and and the development of the Thames Gateway region to accommodate UK population expansion.


Due to the bombing of the east end of London during World War II, east London has a significant diaspora population. The English counties of Essex and Kent (combined population: 3.3 million) comprise large "Eastender" populations. Due to the strong communal identity of east Londoners and their descendents, West Ham is strongly supported throughout the country, wherever the descendents of east Londoners settled.

Accordingly, West Ham draws active core support not only from the millions who live in east London but also from several millions of cockney descendents in the surrounding counties and beyond.

The reputed largest ever attendance in global football history was for the first FA Cup Final at Wembley in 1923, when more than 250,000 people, mostly eastenders, watched West Ham play Bolton.


Population growth in the UK has prompted planning for major new town development. The overwhelming majority of this growth will take place in the south-east, and more particularly in the Thames Gateway region, stretching from East London out through Essex. This is West Ham's natural catchment. Several hundred thousand new homes are planned.

The population and business development of the Thames Gateway region will be compounded if, as now seems possible, London's new flagship airport is commissioned for the Thames estuary region east of London. This £50 billion proposal is intended to replace west London's Heathrow airport and is likely to catalyse enormous new investment into east London and the south Essex/ north Kent area; as a part of the general trend of population and capital flow eastwards across London.


Average employment and salaries are far higher in London than in northern cities such as Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool. Ticket prices are higher in London and fans have more disposable income for sundries.


If West Ham moves into the 2012 Olympic Stadium, it will open up the possibility of tapping into significant new support. Transport links at Stratford will offer easy access from the Arsenal and Spurs catchment areas (the latter of which would face significant regulatory and political resistance to any proposed move into West Ham's traditional catchment) and along the Channel Tunnel Rail Link through the new towns of Kent, into continental Europe. The journey time to the stadium from Paris would be less than two hours.


The current population profile of London is 40% immigrant. It is fertile ground for an upwardly mobile club to attract and consolidate market share.


Commercial and hospitality income opportunities in other cities are miniscule compared with the commercial and hospitality opportunities offered by London. West Ham is located closer than any other London club to the two major business and financial districts: Canary Wharf and the Square Mile.


Google AdWords reports that the average monthly keyword search volume for London is 83 million. This compares with 11 million for Manchester, 7 million for Liverpool and 4 million for Newcastle.

Tourism interest in London is similarly several multiples higher than for other English cities.