Back in 2016 Rio Ferdinand made a prediction about West Ham United which may have been difficult for some to hear.
West Ham’s move to the London Stadium has been a rocky road.
A large section of Hammers fans struggled to adapt to the move from their beloved Upton Park.
The former Olympic Stadium was dubbed everything from soulless to not-fit-for-purpose.
There was a wave of negativity towards the stadium from West Ham fans, visiting supporters, pundits and journalists.
The festering resentment over the move eventually spilled onto the pitch.
And those angry scenes in the home defeat to Burnley in March last year proved to be a watershed moment.
Whisper it quietly, London Stadium feeling like home
But whisper it quietly, the London Stadium has started to feel more like West Ham’s home since the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini last year.
The Hammers have the best home record outside the top six since the Chilean’s arrival.
And a host of enhancements in and around the London Stadium have gone down well with fans.
As has West Ham’s vastly improved transfer business and recruitment.
While most were busy criticising the club and new stadium back in 2016 – and beyond – former West Ham star Rio Ferdinand made a bold prediction in The Evening Standard.
Rio’s bold 2016 prediction coming true
And the Hammers Academy graduate is being proved right three years on.
“I’m so happy for the fans right now; with the Olympic Stadium around the corner they’re getting just what they deserve,” Ferdinand told The Evening Standard.
“In the transfer market players will look at West Ham so differently now. They’re a big club now, with the Olympic Stadium, being in London. They’ll be able to attract more quality players.
“We all still believe in the heritage of the club but they’re moving forward in a great way. Of course the ideal scenario would have been for them to stay at Upton Park and expand the ground but that wasn’t really an option so they’ve definitely made the best of where they are.”
And how true that has been.
The London Stadium effect
Of course West Ham were able to attract top class players when they were still at Upton Park.
Dimitri Payet, Carlos Tevez, Paolo Di Canio in recent years are testament to that.
But the likes of Issa Diop, Felipe Anderson, Sebastien Haller, Andriy Yarmolenko, Pablo Fornals, Lukasz Fabianski and co are a sure sign the club is starting to make good on Ferdinand’s prediction.
Indeed having Pellegrini too is proof of West Ham’s new-found allure. After all he is the first manager West Ham have ever had with an English top flight title on his CV.
The Hammers have started the season impressively. Sat seventh in the fledgling table many fans and pundits are predicting big things from West Ham.
Of course some supporters will never be happy at the London Stadium.
But having the second highest number of season ticket holders in the Premier League and playing in front of sell-out 60,000 crowds every other week suggests they are now in the minority.