LONDON 2012: Public opinion provides Hammer blow in Olympic Stadium race
SO West Ham, the team that like to boast they won the World Cup in 1966, have claimed the first gold medal of the London 2012 Olympic Games as well.
HAMMER BLOW: West Ham are set to be unveiled as the long-term tenants of the Olympic Stadium after London 2012 on Friday
The Olympic Park Legacy Company's decision to award their showpiece stadium to the Hammers proves that heart can still rule head and romance in sport is not yet dead.
A few months ago Tottenham Hotspur's interest in the stadium wasn't even on the radar. A few weeks ago they moved into a position where many, myself included, were starting to consider them frontrunners.
Their plans - which involved rebuilding the stadium and replacing it with a purpose-built football ground, with an athletics legacy across the capital at Crystal Palace - still appear to be the better financial option.
Everything was privately financed - West Ham's successful bid requires £40 million of public money - and the club's solid Premier League status and Champions League ambition gives greater security.
And with 34,000 on the season ticket waiting list, there were no fears about empty seats - or as one wag dubbed it 'the best ground in the Championship'.
They were also working with AEG, considered the world's leading entertainment venue operator, an organisation which took over the Millennium Dome and morphed it from mocked white elephant into a big cash hungry beast.
So...the shining edifice of the soon to be Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park passes to Gold and Sullivan. Two local lads done good, who made their millions from pornography, the adult sex industry and knicker shops.
Sportsbeat's James Toney
They hired spin doctor Mike Lee, who helped transform London and Rio into Olympic cities, against the odds, and was one of the masterminds of Qatar's 2022 World Cup.
But even his Midas touch wasn't enough.
In the end it was West Ham's decision to maintain the athletics track, delivering on the bid team's promise to leave a lasting legacy for that sport post-2012 that was decisive over all other factors.
For many members of the OPLC board, who meet to finalise their decision tomorrow, the thought of reneging on the pledge to track and field and the prospect of seeing bulldozers move onto the site just a few days after the Games was just unpalatable.
Seb Coe didn't have a vote but his decision to publicly back the option is seen as crucial.
And, as an intriguing sub-plot, it keeps alive his hopes of succeeding Lamine Diack as the president of the IAAF, athletics' world governing body, a role that also carries membership of the International Olympic Committee.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and West Ham's trio of talking heads - David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady - have punched and counter-punched relentlessly in recent weeks.
They spun and they've briefed. They've sounded off to the nearest available microphone and penned columns laced with threats.
And even as the Hammers crack open the bubbly, the battle isn't over. Levy is considering legal action and the decision still must be signed off by two government departments and the Mayor of London.
However, those rubber stamps are considered a formality. In recent days it has become clear that Spurs' plans - while probably in the better interest of the taxpayer who has funded the £500m project - just weren't viable in the court of public opinion.
And so the stewardship of the centrepiece of London's Olympics, the shining edifice of the soon to be Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park passes to Gold and Sullivan.
Two local lads done good, who made their millions from pornography, the adult sex industry and knicker shops.
It's probably the right decision but something about it still doesn't quite seem right.
MORE COLUMNS BY SPORTSBEAT'S JAMES TONEY