In this week’s edition of our weekly throwback segment, we hear from Jessica, 20, and a relatively new member of the Claret & Blue Army, about one of her first experiences at the London Stadium, a London derby to remember in autumn 2016.
“My second West Ham game that I was lucky enough to attend was against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.
It was half term and just a normal day as far as I was aware of, I knew we were playing in the evening but unfortunately it wasn’t on TV, so I couldn’t even look forward to watching it.
I had my day planned out, a Canterbury shopping spree was in store for me and my mum, until my boyfriend showed up with four tickets, one with my name on it; I was going to West Ham again!
Excitement filled my body as it was set to be my first London derby, I couldn’t wait to feel that feeling again of being a part of that amazing crowd.
I was curious to see the differences of what playing Chelsea would be like as appose to playing Accrington Stanley which was my very first West Ham game.
We were all wrapped up with our West Ham scarves on waiting for our train to Stratford. It was set to be a cold one, but all the adrenaline and excitement filled my body with warmth, so I wasn’t cold at all.
The train journey felt as though it was taking a lifetime, thousands of thoughts were running through my brain as I was wondering about how the atmosphere would be and what the outcome of the game would be.
We finally arrived in Stratford and had the tantalising walk through my favourite shopping centre.
The closer we got to the London Stadium the more people there were, there were lots of stewards telling everyone which way to go and some of the fans weren’t too happy about it and you could feel the atmosphere evolving.
The shouts of “Irons” echoing around the Olympic Park were getting louder and you could feel the atmosphere was going to be special.
The Olympic Aquatic Centre was glowing and I was struck by the design of it and the wavy roof that it had, I had never noticed it before.
The singing was getting louder as we got to the bridge as there were river barges on the river Lee where there were drunken fans having pre-match celebrations.
Just over the bridge, I saw a charity worker collecting money for Cancer Research, he had a dog with him wearing a West Ham shirt with the name Bubbles on the back.
We went over to give a donation and I started the pet Bubbles, his owner asked me to hold his lead and look after him while he quickly went and spoke to a friend and suddenly I was in charge of a French Bulldog.
I didn’t know what to do as he kept wanting to walk to his owner and people were coming over and stroking him and they must have thought that he was my dog. With every donation, the owner gives a picture of Bubbles wearing his West Ham shirt and I still have it today.
Kick-off was fast approaching and it was time to go through the turnstile and up to our seats where I had already sat once before.
I was still mesmerised by the glowing pitch and this time there were lots more fans there than my first game.
It’s amazing to see so many people in one place all feeling the same emotions of excitement and anticipation and I was lucky enough to be a part of it.
The teams walk out and the London Stadium is on its feet to the sound of everyone singing ‘Bubbles’.
It was an exciting first-half and Cheikhou Kouyate put us in front with a fantastic header from a Mark Noble cross and all of our fans erupted and the sound was quite something, so many people cheering and chanting and then the anticipation kicked in. It was a nail-biting half, but it finished 1-0.
Soon after the second-half commences, Edimilson Fernandes makes it 2-0 with a low drive from outside the box and again the crowd was ecstatic!
It was thrilling to be a part of this crowd and the feeling I got was something that I will never forget.
The game ends 2-1 with Gary Cahill scoring in injury-time and West Ham make it to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup and up next to play is Manchester United. It was an amazing experience and a feeling that I will always remember!”