In this week’s edition of our weekly Throwback segment, we hear from Paul, 35 and a lifelong Hammers fan and Season Ticket holder about the first of many magical nights under the lights at the London Stadium, a European adventure.
“After watching West Ham play at Upton Park for so many years, I had fallen in love with the place, so the London Stadium was going to have to be very good to compete with my beloved Boleyn.
I arrived at Westfield, the nearest Shopping Centre to the London Stadium, about an hour before kick-off, I simply just parked up in their underground car park and walked to the Stadium after having some grub.
This was very handy and easy for me as it was less hassle than parking in Green Street at Upton Park. However, I wasn’t too keen on the idea because this isn’t traditional for me and it didn’t really feel like I was going to watch West Ham, felt more like I was going shopping with the missus.
But, anyway, kick-off was approaching and I was very eager to see our new home. I remember walking through the turnstiles about 15 minutes before kick-off and with a child-like buzz of anticipation, it felt like I was walking into Wembley or the Nou Camp.
As I entered the giant venue, I was blown away by what I saw, a fantastic venue which I was sure could easily be filled by West Ham fans.
I walked up to my Season Ticket seats for the first time and I was elated to be greeted with a Sea of Claret & Blue, the former Olympic stadium was beginning to feel like home already.
The game kicked off and the atmosphere was bubbly however a little flat but that was expected as it was an early round of the Europa League with NK Domzale of Slovenia the visitors.
Cheikhou Kouyate opened the scoring and the cheer was very impressive as it echoed around the stadium this pleases me greatly as I started to think about great moments that could be had at this Ground.
Then, Kouyate got another and an equally good cheer rang around the stadium and I started to feel at home.
The second-half brought with it a third goal from Sofiane Feghouli it was a very well taken goal, a half-volley after a ball over the top from Mark Noble.
The job was done and expectedly the atmosphere was electric, a superb opening advert for the Stadium as a Football venue.
Walking back to my car was an eventful journey very different from what I was used to, over 50,000 West Ham fans all walking the same way produced a human traffic jam.
I got to my car and had a cheerful journey home because I was happy with the evening’s game of football and overall happy with our new fortress”.