In this week’s edition of our weekly Throwback segment, we speak to Jessica,16 and a new Hammers fan about her first experience of The London Stadium.

“Little did I know, that my first West Ham game would be the day after my birthday, when West Ham were at home to Accrington Stanley on September 21st, 2016.

All I had was my imagination, I had never experienced the thrills to be a part of a football crowd before and it had always been something that wanted to experience. It’s hard to imagine exactly what it will be like and how everything will look. I was ecstatic to find out on my birthday that I will be a part of the crowd the next day and could finally experience what was quite something special and certainly something that I will never forget.

Throughout the day, excitement and curiosity filled my body. I had my West Ham shirt on and my Claret & Blue scarf wrapped tightly around my neck ready for the evening under the lights. I didn’t know what to expect, but as we approached the Westfield Shopping Centre to the car park, the rumble of people started to infiltrate my Ear Drums and adrenaline filled my body.

As we got closer to the London stadium the number of people just increased massively. I wasn’t expecting to see so many people in one place, all as if we were a part of a family, all both excited and anxious for what will come of the game.

I remember as we eventually got around the corner on our way to the Ground, The London stadium was in sight. It was something quite spectacular, a brand- new arena standing out above all of it’s fans waiting to be filled up.
When we eventually got through the turnstiles and up the cage like stairs, the bright lights hit me, I was mesmerised and it was nothing like what I was expecting. The whole Stadium was packed with a sea of Claret and Blue and the players on the pitch looked tiny as they were warming up ready for the game, but we had the perfect view from our seats.

It was almost time for the match to start and the players started coming out, as the whole arena rose to their feet to sing ‘Bubbles’. To be a part of the atmosphere in real life is so much different to what you would expect. You can just hear the passion of each fan as they sing their hearts out. I was entranced in listening to the deafening noise to the point that I forgot to join in.

The match started and various chants from all corners of The London Stadium filled the air, as The Ground bubbled with excitement.

It was amazing to see the players in real life and to see what all the stars are doing on the pitch, because on TV they show each of The Hammers selectively.

Half time came along, still 0-0 but we had been the better side and deserved to be leading. The break meant that I could properly take in the atmosphere and feel exactly what it was like to experience being inside of a Football Ground.

Throughout the second-half we had shots on target which made the whole Stadium shudder with disappointment, as we still failed to take the lead. Time was ticking and players from both teams were becoming desperate. Seven-minutes were added on by referee Stephen Martin, which gave us time to save our blushes against the League Two outfit.

Extra time and penalties were looming under the lights as the game fizzled out and tired legs kicked in. However, there was hope for West Ham when in the 95th Dimitri Payet was fouled on the edge of the area. Most fans absolutely loved Payet and he had a reputation for his free kicks.

You could feel the hearts racing and feel how anxious every single person in that stadium was as the Frenchman stepped up.

It was the 96th minute and Payet was standing over the free-kick which had the potential to fire us to a late victory. Every single person silenced as he took his run up and he curled it in the top corner.

The whole Stadium erupted with shouts and screams of happiness and relief. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. The well-known “We’ve got Payet” song made its way around the whole of Stratford, everyone singing in sync. The whole of the Hammers faithful had the same ecstatic emotions at that moment, the feeling was immense and I was part of that for the first time.

As the final whistle blew, and West Ham had won. My first West Ham game, and certainly not the last had been a victory, and there nothing like the feeling of triumph. Not only did we win, but I was able to whiteness the winning Payet free kick which everyone was going raving about.

This was an experience that will live with me forever, being involved in something as spectacular as that”.