2:24pm Wednesday 30th May 2012
By Daniel Binns
LEYTON Orient is to approach West Ham about sharing the Olympic Stadium in Stratford after the Games, according to reports.
Several national newspapers claim that O's chairman Barry Hearn will hold talks with West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan about the idea.
The development comes following a study by West Ham which concluded retractable seating could be installed over the athletics track surrounding the stadium's pitch at a cost of £10 million.
Mr Hearn previously criticised plans to convert the arena for football, saying that the seating was too far away.
Concerns have been circulating for months that Leyton Orient will move out of Waltham Forest if another football club takes over the arena.
Leyton Orient's current ground in Brisbane Road is less than a mile away from the Olympic Park and bosses fear the team will lose fans if a high-profile rival moves in nearby.
West Ham is one of four groups currently bidding for the contract to run the stadium after the Games have finished.
Steve Jenkins, deputy chairman of the Leyton Orient Supporters Club, said fans were watching the stadium saga closely.
He said: "We just want what's best for the club - we don't want to see it to go under.
"It would be a real shame if they moved away from Waltham Forest but we're already struggling with attendances.
"Numerous surveys over the years have suggested most fans travel from outside the area, so perhaps the club will move out and become just 'Orient FC' and drop the Leyton bit."
He added: "It would be a bit strange sharing with West Ham, I think it would feel like they were a big brother looming over you.
"But it seems to be a trend that sports teams are increasingly sharing grounds, like they do in Italy."
In December it emerged that Mr Hearn had approached the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) over proposals to construct a new O's ground, hotel and casino at Eton Manor in Leyton.
He reportedly threatened to move the O's out of the borough if the proposal was rejected - which it was.
The LVRPA said the plans were incompatible with Olympic legacy plans and would result in the destruction of 200 acres of open parkland.
The club submitted a bid to take over the Olympic Stadium last year, but lost out to West Ham, whose own bid subsequently collapsed following complaints from Tottenham and Orient.
London Legacy Development Corporation chief Andrew Altman has said the venue should reopen in 2014.
A final decision on what will happen to the stadium post-Games is expected to be made in the autumn.
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