Many of West Ham United fans will be sad to leave the famous Boleyn Ground – a ground that has stood them in good stead for 1904. While casual fans refer to it as Upton Park, it’s actual title is the Boleyn Ground has been since its opening.
However, while the Boleyn has undoubted historical triggers that will always remain fond in the hearts of Iron fans, the prospect of moving to the Olympic Stadium was just too good to turn down.
When vice-chairman Karren Brady managed to broker the deal for West Ham to move to the Olympic Stadium ahead of rivals Tottenham Hotspur, it was a time for anyone connected with the club to rejoice. This deal would later earn Brady a CBE for her efforts in, what is mostly considered a male dominated sport.
Leaving behind the 35,000-seater Boleyn Ground was inevitable at some point. But not having to go through the rigours of building an entirely new stadium was an ingenious move on Brady’s behalf as well as the club’s. As Spurs bumble about trying to find ample grounds to build a new White Hart Lane, West Ham have a custom-built stadium awaiting their first game of the 17 season.
But what can the Olympic Stadium do for West Ham in the long-term?
Undoubtedly it will aid them in keeping their best players such as Dmitri Payet, Winston Reid, Mark Noble and Aaron Cresswell as well as their talented young manager Slaven Bilic, while also attracting higher profile players. Because, let’s be honest; who wouldn’t want to play at this magnificent 80,000-seater stadium?
West Ham is suddenly an altogether more appealing proposition with the Olympic Stadium at the forefront of all their efforts. Only Manchester United’s Old Trafford can boast a bigger capacity than the Olympic Stadium.
With the Boleyn Ground, West Ham were part of a handful of clubs with old, decrepit stadiums. They were in the same company as Norwich City, Bournemouth, Stoke City and Crystal Palace – lacking a state of the art new stadium to challenge for Premier League success and sustainability. However, with this now changing it gives the club a better chance at a sustained long-term assault on the Premier League.
While the Olympic Stadium gives West Ham better opportunities, there is also talk that owners David Sullivan and David Gold may now use this as a catalyst to either seek investment or sell the club. Leveraging the fact, West Ham has a bright future means Gold and Sullivan have never been in such a good position. Although, they have been steadfast to refute these claims, as they have pledged their long-term futures to the club.
Additionally, the team are profiting from the guidance of the talented Bilic. He has been a revelation since he took over from Sam Allardyce at the start of this campaign and the hopes are he will be able to secure a European place this term. But while he is ambitious, he’s also very realistic. He knows his and his team’s limitations, and that’s been his key to success thus far in London.
It’s an exciting time to be a West Ham fan. The Olympic Stadium is a marvellous creation which will hopefully aid the Irons enter a new chapter in the club’s history.