It has taken nearly two and a half years but the London Stadium is finally starting to feel like home for West Ham United.
The distance from the stands to the pitch is a major bone of contention for many fans with the bowl shape of the venue the biggest problem as the stadium was not built with football in mind.
Having signed a 99-year lease many supporters are disillusioned at the prospect of a long-term future there.
The club’s owners David Sullivan and David Gold also pledged that the move would enable West Ham to spend more on quality players in the transfer market in a bid to compete with the Premier League elite.
But despite record income that has not materialised and fans showed their frustrations when protests spilled onto the pitch during the infamous defeat to Burnley back in March.
Angry protests sparked change in attitude and ambition from owners
That prompted a shift in attitude from the owners who splashed the cash to bring in Manuel Pellegrini as the club’s new manager.
It was quite a statement from the Hammers owners. After all the Chilean is the only West Ham manager to have ever won the title.
Sullivan and Gold then sanctioned a £100 splurge on transfers.
Improved form from the team and the club’s attention to detail when it comes to supporters’ matchday experience has made the London Stadium feel a lot more ‘West Ham’ this season.
And there are three exciting developments on the horizon that will make London Stadium even more like home for West Ham.
Claret pitch surround
The claret pitch surround look better aesthetically.
But it will also be safer for players as it will be made from 4G material.
A claret pitch surround, like the blue at Leicester’s King Power, will make the stadium feel much more like West Ham’s home ground.
It will be ordered ‘imminently’ and installed in the new year according to Brady.
It comes after West Ham reached an agreement with the LLDC over the pitch surround in October. Brady says the surround will be mostly claret with ‘London Stadium dark blue’ incorporated alongside a West Ham badge.
Around the same time the claret surround is installed West Ham should get the go-ahead to raise the London Stadium capacity by 3,000 to 60,000.
That is the first stage of plans to eventually raise capacity to 66,000.
That will make the London Stadium the second biggest football ground in the UK behind only Manchester United.
More West Ham fans means more noise and the stadium feeling more like home.
Perhaps the addition fans will be most excited about is a new Fanzone at the London Stadium.
It is hoped a Fanzone will encourage more supporters to arrive earlier and ensure a better pre-match atmosphere.
The plans will be aired at the next meeting of the Supporter Board in February.
Fan zones were made popular in Europe following Germany’s excellent use of them at the 2006 World Cup.
Several clubs have them including Manchester City and Liverpool. City Square at the Etihad hosts live entertainment two and half hours before kick-off. It also boasts three big screens, a main stage, bars and a family-friendly cafe for fans.