Claret & Hugh: ‘West Ham fans have lots of soul whatever ‘bowl’ the club play in’

So this was the year I made my own London Stadium debut and finally a chance to find out what all the fuss had been about.

So this was the year I made my own London Stadium debut and finally a chance to find out what all the fuss had been about. It had been my first opportunity after spending several years caring for my late wife and, despite all those moans and groans, I’d been hearing, it was my coming home! I loved it.

Apart from my season ticket having not been activated and finally having to be let through a side door next to the turnstiles my problems were non existent. I found the stadium absolutely fine from my seat in the Bobby Moore – good view and comfortable.

I’d heard much about this “soulless bowl” but Hammers fans are Hammers fans and bring plenty of personality and colour to wherever the team is playing, and the description ‘soulless’ proved to be entirely the wrong word as we were beaten by Bournemouth. However, it wasn’t all good news because as I approached the place there was little to suggest this was Saturday afternoon just ahead of a Premier League game.

No beefburgers, no dogs, no programmes that I could find in an area which truly does leave one hell of a lot to be desired. I didn’t have time to look around but apart from Westfield, there didn’t seem much to hold any interest for longer than a second.

It all seemed sanitized and unlike a typical afternoon at football. E20’s management has much to do with that as they are responsible for everything that happens inside and outside their gaff. It really is time, for their own and everybody’s else’s good, that some sort of truce is developed between themselves and WHUFC. Currently they have got it wrong in a big way and if they have any pride at all in their project they need to start making the changes required and sooner rather than later. Let’s see a few vendors.

These things are not hard to organise, and given West Ham are their only regular source of revenue they need to start maximising – anything else is rank bad business practise. As for the sound and fury over the pitch surround, it’s not until you get there that you realise how insignificant the matter is in real terms.

Yes, it would be better if it was claret but not to the point where the club should be held to ransom.

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