And his reasoning is so very cogent and compelling that today's post is very nearly a guest blog by him.
Yes, Matt accepts fully my point (and the common consensus) that Barcelona set the benchmark for the regeneration of future Olympic cities. But he also points out that the other key driver for the Barcelona Olympics was to promote the city as a tourist destination and demonstrate to the world that it was open for business. He goes on to say, "Unlike Barcelona, London is already an established world city and this is a significant advantage that should allow it to create a lasting legacy beyond the 2012 Olympic Games."
"It is important to consider London's progress when looking at Barcelona on the eve of its 20th anniversary of hosting the Olympic Games. The memories of these Games have been kept alive over this period through the transfer of knowledge to other host cities, and the ongoing cultural events that are hosted in and around its Olympic Park on a regular basis. The key objectives behind Barcelona's desire to host the Games were two-fold: firstly it was an opportunity to "finish the city" through the completion of vital infrastructure projects and secondly, to launch the city as a tourist destination. But what about the Olympic Park in 2011? On a... visit to Barcelona in June, I counted 90 people on a Sunday morning in the grounds of the Olympic Stadium. It is questionable as to whether this represents a success."
"So did Barcelona achieve its objectives? Yes, the Olympics have helped to revitalise the Barcelona economy and have been hailed as a success economically. But did it achieve a successful regeneration of the Olympic Park area? The answer to this is unfortunately no because Barcelona did not have a clear legacy plan for that part of the city."
But does this mean that the London legacy will fare any better? It is heartening to learn that Matt thinks it is a definite yes here: "London has managed to successfully construct the Olympic Park and plan its legacy in parallel, revitalising an important part of an established 'world' city with adaptable buildings and a clear vision for future generations of East Londoners. However, the real question is whether London will be a success twenty years from now... . the Olympic Games will be delivered on time and to budget. This combined with the opening of Westfield Stratford, which will eventually lead to the creation of 18,000 jobs, and the legacy planning firmly underway for the creation of a new residential area that will be inhabited by a population of 20,000 people will create a new London destination."
So Matt "Mr Grumpy" Black is confident that the legacy will be a resounding success. And he will be in that market - in it, around it, all over it - making it happen. We should all take huge comfort from that (even cynical old lags like me and Ms Kendall; we're the real Grumpies of the piece).