Supersized London Stadium could be problematic


Supersized London Stadium might be bad news for Hammers fans

Plans to increase the London Stadium into the second-largest football ground in the country seem like an odd move at this time.

Whilst season ticket uptake appears reasonably high, the stadium is rarely, if ever, full. Perhaps on European nights in the knockout rounds and against big clubs, the stadium might be close to full. However, I can’t have been the only person to have received notice of ticket availability for today’s match against Crystal Palace.

Granted, the weather isn’t great today, and the match does feature two cautious managers and teams. But the situation is far from exclusive to today.

West Ham-London Stadium_stadium capacity could increase to 68,000

Supersized London Stadium could hold 68,000 fans

West Ham have done remarkably well to transition from 34,000 fans at Upton Park to a 60,000+ arena in Stratford. Despite what the official statistics suggest, there appears to be closer to 57,000 fans in regular attendance. That is still an incredibly impressive figure, but I can’t see the need to increase to 68,000.

Factor in that the football played under David Moyes is pragmatic at best and often overly defensive, and you have a product that is not conducive to encouraging more fans to attend.

London Stadium at bursting point

Lastly, there is the logistical issue of leaving the stadium. The stop-and-go process is a farce because Westfield is closed off. The army of hi-vis minions employed to direct the flow of fans to the station is useless and a hindrance rather than a help.

Having attended the Olympics when the Stadium was 90,000 capacity, I’ve never understood why West Ham struggle to deal with 30,000 less fans.

It can often take 50 minutes to travel from the stadium to the station platform due to the huge number of fans being bottlenecked. Stratford may have amazing transport links, but it’s of little use if you’re stopped from walking to the station. Adding another 5000 fans is only going to make the situation worse at a time when catching the last train home is already difficult.

As for the stadium needing tweaks to catering and toilet facilities . . . it probably does. However, the roof is also leaking, and the structure is rusting, with algae growing on it. This is unsurprising considering the upper metal structure was only designed as a temporary measure to be removed following the 2012 Olympics.

Whilst the headline of an increased capacity might sound exciting, the London Stadium and indeed West Ham have far more pressing issue.

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