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  • Stephan Hoogerwaard

West Ham United – London Stadium



Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

London Stadium Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park London E20 2ST, UK

West Ham United website

London Stadium website


Year Opened: 2012

Capacity: 60,000

 

Up the Hammers!

London Stadium is the new home of Premier League club West Ham United. After 112 years the club moved away from their old ground Upton Park. The stadium is located in Stratford, a district of the London Borough of Newham in East London, England. The club has called its grounds home since 2016.

The construction of this ground officially began on May 22nd in 2008 as the stadium began construction for the 2012 Olympic Games. At the Games there were 80,000 seats available in the stadium, making it the third largest stadium in the United Kingdom. After the Games, the ground was known as the Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

It took the stadium a couple of years to find a new tenant, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient (all London based clubs) were possible candidates to move to the former Olympic Stadium. On March 22nd, 2013 it was announced that West Ham United would be the new tenant and would play their matches here from the start of the 2016-17 season. Over the last two years the stadium was rebuilt to make it look like a decent football stadium.

The running track was removed and the stands in the lower tier were brought closer to the pitch. Unfortunately the architects failed as the distance from the action is too far away. This summer the stadium was renamed once again to London Stadium. Nowadays the stadium has a capacity of 60,000 seats for West Ham matches.

The first match to be played by West Ham United in the new stadium was against NK Domzale (Europa League) on August 4th, 2016. The official opening of the London Stadium was on August 7th, 2016 when West Ham United played against Italian giants Juventus. Before kickoff there was a fitting opening ceremony of the London Stadium with a 30 minute show. The ceremony was highlighted by the opening of the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand and the Bobby Moore Stand (both important West Ham United players from the past).

Food & Beverage 4

There is quite a bit of variety of food options at London Stadium that breaks up the opinion about match day food. The variety is much more that pies and a pint of ale and include chicken dippers, street food, and sweet treats. The podium and inner podium level serve a selection of these items where fans can pick and choose from on matchday.

According to the Hammers website supporters can choose from a wide selection of food and beverages from hot food, such as pies and burgers, to sandwiches, wraps and salads. Hot drinks include, coffee, tea, Bovril and hot chocolate with a variety of cold soft drinks also available for purchase. The grounds also offers 20 bar kiosks, serving a range of alcoholic beverages including real ale, wines, cider and premium beer. Nine real ale bars around the concourse serve traditional ales sourced by our brewery, including Iron Ale and Boleyn Bitter.

There are also meal deals that include ‘a pie and a pint’ for £8.50 and ‘nachos and a soft drink’ for £7.30. The grill kiosks feature burgers, chicken wraps and award-winning Wicks Manor Sausages. The options continue with street food, including stir-fries, burritos and carved meat sandwiches. The hot dog kiosks serve smoked beechwood German imported hot dogs. All kiosks inside the stadium accept cash, debit/credit cards along with Apple pay.

Atmosphere 3

The London Stadium looks very impressive from the outside. When walking towards it, you see its greatness. The name West Ham United in large letters on the roof is clearly visible from far away. Whilst inside the ground, the London Stadium looks impressive as well. The stadium has a 90 percent white seating bowl, with the other 10 percent in claret and blue (the West Ham United club colours). When you take a closer look, you will see that the 1st tier consists of temporary stands only.

This tier is built on top of the former 1st tier of the Olympic Stadium. As the London Stadium will be used occasionally as an athletics stadium this situation remains permanently. By choosing this option fans are really too far away from the pitch. This is not what you expect when you visit an English football stadium. Due to the large roof, the acoustics inside the ground are very good.

Neighbourhood 2

The ground is located at the former Olympic Park. There is not much to do in the close neighbourhood of the London Stadium. There are a number of eating places and restaurants within the nearby Westfield Shopping Centre and some of the serve alcohol. Near Hackney Wick station are two bars (the Crate and the Howling Hops). In the centre of Stratford itself are a few pubs as well but these are located further away from the ground. This is something which definitely has to be developed at the former Olympic Park area in the near future.

Fans 5

Just like the club, the West Ham United fans are nicknamed Hammers. West Ham United has a large fan base which makes it a tradition football club. The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United. The Hammers refer to the history of the club and there are also a couple of irons/hammers visible in the crest of the club. Most of the fans when attending a match are dressed in a claret and blue home shirt. The most fanatic Hammers fans are located in the Bobby Moore Stand and are very vocal during the home matches.

Access 4

The London Stadium is designated as a ‘public transport destination,’ so it is better that you don’t go by car to the stadium. There are few parking spaces available at the ground, but they are all reserved. Most of the street parking in the area is for residents only.

In the nearby area of the London Stadium are three railway stations (Hackney Wick, Stratford and Stratford International) which are all around 10 to 15 minute walk from the ground. The Stratford Station is the main station in the area and has an underground connection both on the Jubilee and Central metro lines. This station is situated next to the huge Westfield Shopping Centre.

Return on Investment 4

The prices for food and drinks are above average, tickets for a Premier League home match are rather expensive and will be difficult to get. Category C tickets for adults are £25-£40, Categrory B pricing is £30-£60, and Category A is £50-£75. Depending on how much you want to pay the Hammers give you more than a fare option of ticket prices.

Extras 3

You can book a stadium tour and visit the Hammers’ iconic new home. You can take a look behind the scenes at the club’s new London Stadium. With a self-guided interactive tour guide to lead the way, you can see for yourself how the home of the London 2012 Olympic Games became the impressive new home of West Ham United. Tickets are with GBP 17 (when booked in advance) rather expensive, if you pay on the day a tour will cost GBP 19 per adult. West Ham United has a large club store on the perimeter of the ground where fans can purchase the widest range of Hammers-related clothing, merchandise and accessories.

Final Thoughts

When you visit the great city of London and have some spare time left, then it’s surely an option to visit an English football match. There are 13 clubs in the London area playing league football. To be honest I would choose another stadium to visit than the London Stadium. English stadiums should have stands which are steep and close to the pitch. Unfortunately the London Stadium has neither, but nevertheless the club and its fans are great.

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