The photo above taken over the weekend during the athletics has re-ignited the debate about the gap between the front row of the East Stand and the pitch at the former Olympic Stadium. The 20,000 capacity East Stand pictured above is already in football mode although several corners will be added to each end this week to complete the curve which will slightly overhang the running track.
Some West Ham supporters seem to be under the impression that the seats would come right over the running track and that the club promised that in the past. This was never the case and all the plans have been in the public domain for many years now.
It is true, the camera never lies but the photo above exaggerates the gap beyond all proportion. The East Stand has already moved 15 metres forward but remains 20 metres from the pitch at the half way line and 12 metres around the corner flags. The new running track has nine lanes, each of which is 1.22m wide so around 11 metres in total. The East Stand will not move forward anymore.
The athletics track will be covered up soon in football mode by using green Astro turf to hide the track. The end result will look something like this photo below taken at the Rugby World Cup, where the stadium was in ‘sports pitch mode’ to give it the correct name.
In reality, the view from the East stand face on will be much better than shown in these pictures above. The green artificial turf will create an optical illusion of being much closer to the pitch and your eyes will adapt to the perspective. I have personally been to the stadium on a number of occasions to watch Athletics, Rugby and the Great Newham Run and can share with you that the sight lines and views have always been better than any photo or virtual reality image I have been shown. It’s an old cliche but you do really have to be there to appreciate it.
Below is an image from the West Stand lower tier row five taken during the Rugby World Cup showing a side on view of the pitch which better illustrates the views on offer.
About Sean Whetstone