Football is considered a language of the world for many people and with over three billion fans worldwide it’s no wonder. The Premier League is considered the greatest league for countless fans across the globe and West Ham’s London Stadium has become its latest addition.
The Olympic Park was one of the most iconic features of the London 2012 Olympics with the stadium being the centre of attention. Seating 55,000, it’s a far cry from West Ham’s former stadium in Upton Park. The greasy burger vans and over crowded pubs have been replaced by gourmet burgers and cafe football… It’s had mixed reviews in its early days but after attending two games in different competitions we must be honest the review is the same here… mixed!
The Premier League
The stadium is a wonderful venue and the views within are good although you are further from the pitch than you’d like to be. Being right on the doorstep of Stratford station means you are well connected no matter where you’re coming from and there is plenty to do in and around the area with Westfield Shopping Centre a stone’s throw away.
However, being so close to one of the UK’s largest and busiest shopping centres isn’t as idyllic as you might think. Getting to the stadium is easy enough but unless you are willing to leave the match 20 minutes early you will need to give yourself over an hour to get onto your platform, a walk that usually takes minutes.
That’s ok though because there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby to kill some time at while the 50,000+ fans disperse though right? No. All fans are directed on a never-ending walk around the shopping centre while being policed by officers on horses and riot gear while being refused entry into the shopping centre.
Enough about transport though and back to the football. After all said and done and the Premier League is the pinnacle competition in the world. Whether you’re a West Ham fan or not you can’t help but smile as you take in the view from your seat and listen to the crowd singing I’m forever blowing bubbles, the passion on the faces of all those decked out in claret and blue is there for all to see. If you can handle the everlasting queues after the game then it is well worth visiting the stadium for a match, especially if you’re treated to a Payet wonder goal.
Under the lights
A weekend game is a nice day out but a game under the lights is a different kettle of fish. K returned to the London Stadium to see West Ham vs Chelsea for a real London derby with both teams vying for a spot in the quarterfinals of the League Cup.
There’s something special about evening cup games that can never be replicated in a league match. The excitement between fans has been building all day and for derby games like this one it there’s an expectancy that something special is going to happen.
The game itself finished 2-1 to the Hammers and it was great to be involved in. The fans were singing in full voice throughout although there is still an air of hollowness to this stadium. It might be the circular shape or the distance to the pitch but it does miss that real ferocious atmosphere that some of England’s more traditional stadiums offer.
As we approached the last 10 minutes there seemed to be a swarming of yellow jackets in a pocket of fans in the stadium. Seats were seen flying as were drinks and you could see both sets of fans attempting to rile each other. Rivalries are what make football great and it would not be even half as entertaining without them but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed.
Football is one of the few things in the world that can bring thousands of people together from different backgrounds through a mutual love of the game. The London Stadium is a great venue but it’s still having its teething problems. It could become a great addition to English football but only time will tell.
You can visit the London stadium by buying tickets from the official West Ham website, prices will vary depending on the fixture.