The Olympic Stadium has reared its newsworthy head again in recent weeks, following the announcement that three people spied on West Ham and the club’s bid to become the tenants of the East London stadium famous for making the capital’s 2012 Olympics so successful. So it came quite timely that I took a trip over to Germany and sampled the atmosphere at the home of Hertha Berlin and the city’s Olympiastadion .
I am a massive fan on the Bundesliga, it is as good as the Premier League in my opinion, so the visit of Champions League side Schalke to newly promoted Hertha BSC was rather exciting, and even more so that I would share it with just under 70,000 fans. It was breathtaking, the moment we walked into the stands to see the pitch and the supporters was incredible and guess what, their stadium has a certain running track, a major sticking point for our fans about the move into the Olympic Stadium.
It took nothing away from the atmosphere, it didn’t hinder the views really – and we were up in the German heavens – and the game was massively enjoyable. So why are we opposed to the running track? English football feels it needs to be right at the feet of the players, bouncing on the touchline and historically this has been great and this piece is no attack on English fans, but in the German stadiums they have very steep stands, this is something that benefits as you still feel on top of the pitch even in row Z.
I am in favour of the move to the Olympic Stadium, even more so now I’ve been to a ground with a running track and experienced a great atmosphere, if our beloved West Ham are going to truly progress in the English top flight then the move is vital. In this money dominated industry that the game has now become, progression is important, you needn’t look far to the likes of Manchester City to see how a move to a bigger stadium can do wonders for fortunes on the pitch.
Moving will increase global attraction around the club, whether that comes from a Russian billionaire or just more shirt sales and recruiting some worldwide Hammers to following West Ham United Football Club over land and sea. There has been a lot of speculation around retractable seating at the stadium and it is well worth looking into as it would increase some viewing points and possibly make the transition from the Boleyn Ground to the OS and easier one, but it is not a deal breaker.
A running track is not the end of the world, it is down to us Hammers fans to make the atmosphere, if we sing our hearts out and show our colours then why can’t the Olympic Stadium become our new home and fortress, because we are West Ham Till We Die.