Will the changes to the stadium make it a bit more fan friendly?

The reconfiguration will make some fans closer to the pitch - when we return!

There are not many positive things to write about West Ham right now but the stadium reconfiguration may just be one of them.

Of course the ‘improvements’ pale into insignificance when compared to the travesty that is the club’s approach to the transfer market and the new season.

But nonetheless, credit where it is due, when you isolate this act I think it just about constitutes listening to the fans.

In short, the Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking stands’ lower tiers have been squared off so the rows run parallel with the goal line like a normal football stadium.

What a novel idea.

The works cost around £5million – or ¼ of a Grady Diangana – but they will pay for themselves within five years thanks to savings on previous relocation costs that will no longer be required as a result of the new layout.

Having claimed the club “worked with fans” ahead of the project, Karren Brady labelled it: ‘Another great step toward improving the supporter experience at the London Stadium.’

Whether or not any actual supporters will agree with that statement when they take their new seats remains to be seen.

Questions have been asked about the increase in the already vast gap between the upper and lower tiers and what impact that will have on the atmosphere.

But it’s a case of the club being damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

You can’t move the seats closer to the pitch without extending the tier gap and what would fans rather be closer to? The pitch or the stand behind them?

Although they will also be further from the bars in the concourse so maybe they should revert back after all.

The new setup will see fans in the middle of the stands move around four metres closer to the pitch.

But some supporters are already angry as their new seats will leave them further away from the action with many also reporting being split up from their friends and family who they previously sat with.

Brady reckons: ‘The vast majority of fans in these stands will move closer to the pitch. And every effort has gone into keeping groups together.’

But she conceded: ‘Not every seating position will remain entirely like-for-like.’

With my season ticket in the Billy Bonds upper, I am not affected by the new layout at all.

In fact, I couldn’t really care less and would much rather focus on the fact we are seemingly and willingly hurtling headlong into another relegation campaign.

But my friend and We Are West Ham podcast co-host Tom Edwards sits in the Trevor Brooking lower and has some much stronger views on the subject.

Tom told me: ‘It all happened without our consent. It seemed like a mercenary process considering the club just did it without giving us any options. We have been moved around 30 seats away from our mates who we go with to every game which is a pain.

‘As a result, we have had to pay for our season tickets in full as it is the only way we are able to relocate our seats in the hope of sitting together again. It feels like we are loaning the club money because we are having to indefinitely pay full price for our tickets even though we may never be able to get to a game.

“Squaring off of the seats was definitely needed but it should have been done before we moved to London Stadium and by consulting the fans who are going to be affected.’

Ultimately, many supporters have moaned for ages about the state of the stadium and implored the club to improve it where possible.

Many will still argue bringing the seats closer to the pitch in a stadium built for athletics is like polishing a turd.

And it does feel odd that despite being the ones who did the poo in the first place, the club is still looking for credit for pulling out the Mr Muscle.

Ultimately I’m sure this will be added to West Ham’s list of “things Sky or any other news outlet will have to remind people of next time they have the audacity to criticise the club and we threaten to sue them”.

And given everything else going on at the Hammers right now, to coin a Jurgen Klopp phrase, this feels like the most important of the least important things.

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