MY father was working on the England v New Zealand RL Test Match at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park last weekend and was paying his first visit to Stratford. He says its now mirrors the new Wembley Stadium in many ways and especially across the road at the mammoth Westfield Shopping Centre.
While Wembley has its illuminated red ring that can be seen from miles around, the Olympic Park has a spiral viewing tower, again illuminated in red lights and you can see right across London and around from the top, some 100 feet in the air,
The New Zealand RL team were given what will be West Ham United’s home dressing room and it is already painted out in claret and blue.
The club has also taken a shop in the Westfield Shopping Mall to sell seating and other packages, and Gary Neville’s Cafe Football, like the one he has at Old Trafford, is having a second floor built on it in readiness for the visit of Premier League clubs. There are no shortage of pubs and cafes amidst all the big high street stores, but there looks a shortage of parking other than in the huge multi-multl storey Westfield Centre. However, I understand, there is no shortage of trains coming in to the station, if you don’t mind a good five minute walk up to the stadium.
My dad said he was shocked at how easy the access was off the bottom of the M11 via the A1(M) and A14 and a short run on the A12 (E) North Circular to the stadium. It took him four hours to do the 208-mile run from Brighouse.
He says, with all respects to Leyton Orient, it has made sense for West Ham to take the 50,000-seater stadium. Over 44,000 attended the RL Test and the RFL he hears are keen to have it as a venue for next season’s Four Nations event and we may see a double-header game there. In the meantime, its a sell-out at Wigan on Saturday for the deciding Test, again is on BBC1 at 12.30pm.