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Mark Noble sends message to West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold in candid assessment of London Stadium
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Mark Noble sends message to West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold in candid assessment of London Stadium

West Ham United return to the London Stadium for the game against Huddersfield this weekend and whisper it quietly, it is starting to feel like home.

Nothing will ever replace Upton Park.

For Hammers fans that was the bitter bill they had to swallow on making the move to Stratford.

Slowly but surely, though, results and the general matchday experience is improving.

So much so that West Ham now have the best home record outside the top six.

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Project Pellegrini has plenty of plus points

The vastly improved home form, an infinitely better style of football and giving the Hammers an identity again have been Manuel Pellegrini’s biggest wins in his debut season.

It has been far from perfect. Injuries and a questionable attitude against so-called lesser teams has seen to that.

But the club has come a long way since the protests which made headlines almost a year ago to the day.

None of it would have been possible without a change of approach from co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold and the backing of the club’s loyal fans.

That’s according to Hammers captain Mark Noble.

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Noble delivers candid assessment

Speaking in his latest Evening Standard column the skipper spoke candidly about the difficulties everyone has had adjusting to the London Stadium.

And Noble says the board buying better players and the Hammers faithful have been key.

“What a welcome transformation (it has been since the protests) and much credit has to go to the board, the staff, the players and the supporters for all helping to get this great club back on track,” Noble said in The Evening Standard.

“The situation has improved massively since that dark day — March 10, 2018. First and foremost, fans now seem much happier about where they are sitting in the stadium.

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‘We were to attached to Upton Park… it was difficult’

“People, me included, were so attached to Upton Park that it was difficult to get their heads around watching their team at a different place and from a different position. The players we signed at the beginning of the season have also played their part and believe me, there is nothing better than winning in front of your home fans.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 12 months. We’ve made the London Stadium a good and exciting place to play and watch football — and long may it continue.”

There is no getting away from the fact the stadium is far removed from what fans were promised by the club when leaving the Boleyn Ground.

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Further enhancements on in the pipeline

But there is no turning back now. Further enhancements are in the pipeline. A claret pitch surround, raised capacity and squaring off of the stands behind both goals will all help it feel more like a football stadium.

Fan zones will be introduced next season too in a bid to improve the matchday experience.

Beat Huddersfield and the Hammers will be knocking on the door of seventh place and a potential Europa League spot.

Achieve that and Pellegrini will have worked wonders.