West Ham moved out of their home of 112 years in May, with what was described as the deal of the century. But fans might be feeling far from home at the London Stadium after the problems they’ve been having.
On Saturday the Hammers were beaten 4-2 by Watford, and that was the least concern for some supporters. Fans described the new stadium as a horrible place to be on Saturday with fighting breaking out in the stands, arguments between fans and stewards about not being allowed to stand up, and complaints that seats are too far away from the pitch or don’t have a good view of the action.
Many fans took to social media about their frustrations and some complained that there was no atmosphere. Upton Park was never an easy ground to play out for any Chelsea player. Even when I wasn’t at Chelsea, I still would live the game like a derby because the fans would always make me feel like it was one with the chanting and abuse. They would never forget that I was a blue. A part of me loves the abuse because it makes you want to win even more as a player.
The pitch at the London Stadium also seems to be much bigger than Upton Park’s, and West Ham might have to adjust their game a little to compensate. But West Ham have got time to sort out all their problems, and history shows that new stadiums can be a complete success.
Stoke City moved into the Britannia in the late 90’s, and it became one of the loudest and most intimidating grounds in the country, while on the field Stoke became a Premier League regular. Leicester City also moved into their new stadium a few years later, and had lows of relegation to league one, followed by the highs of lifting the Premier League last season.
Hull City have also risen from league 2 to the Premier League in their new KC stadium, while Man City have had their most successful period in the club’s history since moving to the Etihad. It’s hard to imagine City would have attracted their current owners if they had stayed at Maine Road.
It’s been a turbulent move so far for West Ham, but fans should be optimistic about the future of their new home and the atmosphere will only improve as fans settle in. And the bubble machines are still doing their job!