London 2012; West Ham’s first season at the former Olympic Stadium concluded

London Stadium last January. © Martijn Giebels / Architecture of the Games

Jacob Steinberg from The Guardian wrote a few weeks ago this excellent blog about West Ham’s first season at the London Stadium.

That closeness, that claustrophobia, has been conspicuous by its absence this season. Because of the running track, the players struggle to feel the atmosphere and the distance from the pitch prevents the crowd from getting on top of visiting teams. The place simply feels too big for a team of West Ham’s stature and it was striking to hear Pep Guardiola make that point after City’s 5-0 win in the FA Cup in January. “Today we controlled a bit more, through the passes,” Guardiola said. “The pitch, the stadium, helped us in that sense. It looks like it’s bigger. It’s an impression.”

The pitch at Upton Park was 100.5m x 68m, while the London Stadium is five metres longer and the same width. However Guardiola’s comments echoed ones made by Sir Trevor Brooking, who warned that teams would raise their game at Stratford. The psychological impact of playing in a stadium regarded as a soft touch should not be underestimated. Without that home advantage, West Ham’s frailties become more exposed. Tottenham are likely to enjoy themselves on Friday evening.

 

West Ham’s first season at London Stadium: a ‘terrible’ experience or a step forward? The Guardian. Retrieved 19:21, May 30, 2017, from www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/may/04/west-ham-first-season-london-stadium-slaven-bilic

 

The average number of visitors at home games rose dramatically this year (+ 63%). Not entirely surprising since the London Stadium has a greater capacity than Upton Park.

Premier League Attendances 2016-2017 vs. 2015-2016

  2016 - 20172015 - 2016
PositionClubTotalAverageHighestTotalAverageHighest
1Manchester United1.430.50275.29075.3971.430.43075.28675.415
2Arsenal FC1.139.17759.95760.0551.138.93459.94460.084
3West Ham United1.082.46456.97256.996663.29134.91034.977
4Manchester City1.026.35854.01954.5121.026.77654.04154.693
5Liverpool FC1.007.31153.01653.292834.28543.91044.228

 

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Last January, I visited the London Stadium. You can find the photos of my visit on this page.

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