As I am sure most of you know last week we were confirmed as the anchor tenants for the revamped 54,000-seater venue in Stratford under a 99-year lease from 2016.
Over the last couple of days, weeks and months I have frequently debated, with colleagues and friends alike, the pro’s and con’s of West Ham’s proposal to make the Olympic Stadium our new home ground and like everyone who supports West Ham I have mixed feelings.
For me Upton Park was the venue for my first ever live football game and ever since I stood in the chicken run with my dad as a 6 year old and listened to the chorus of Bubbles ringing out around the ground, I fell in love with West Ham. Upton Park is a ground with atmosphere, not something which can be said for all grounds in the premier league and I have some very happy memories of the place.
BUT football is evolving and as club we need to move with the times if we want to continue to compete in the top tier of English football. This move will without doubt increase revenues and with more money coming in to the club we will have the opportunity to sign better players and play better football. As for atmosphere, that is created by the fans and we have some of the best support in the country, there is absolutely no reason why we can’t re-create that at the Olympic Stadium.
I also hope that in the short term this positive news will impact on our results for the remainder of this season. This should be the motivation the current crop of players need to kick on and secure Premier League survival. We need at least two wins from our remaining nine games to guarantee safety and it is my hope that the feel good factor currently surrounding the club will translate on to the pitch. For a footballer it would be a dream to play at the new stadium and this is an opportunity for the players in our current squad to stand up, be counted and make sure they are still at the club, to make sure those dreams become a reality.