Cast your minds back some six years now. Yep, you’re now in 2012 and London is hosting the games of the XXX Olympiad. Those delicious sunny London days and England’s gold rush seem a life time away now don’t they? Great Britain finished third on the medal tally with 29 gold. That’s about how many goals West Ham has scored at the London Stadium since moving there in August 2016. Ask vice-chair, Karen Brady about the move and she will point you towards the clubs rise to 18th in the Deloitte money league table after turning over 144 million quid in 2016. Money first, football second.
I tried to get into the stadium back in May 2017 to watch Liverpool’s final away match for the season but tickets were impossible to get hold of and I was left outside the ground with people trying to palm off tickets in the away end for nothing short of 150 quid. Some people try and put this down to touts but on this day, there were plenty of regular away match goers who I have seen around the traps for years palming off their tickets. A sad trend of modern football that continues to grow. Money first, football second.
Moving forward to October 2017 and I’ve finally managed to get tickets organised to watch West Ham V Brighton on a balmy Friday night. Well, balmy for London in October anyway. Vitaliy and Baz joined me for the match and we got ourselves inside the ground with minimal fuss despite the over the top bag searches. You see, everyone is paranoid in London these days so rigorous bag searches are par for the course. The only other absurdity of the night when, inside the ground, I found the price of a warm cup of beer came to a fiver. What the actual? Money first, football second.
Things didn’t get much better for the home side as they were battered 3-0 by Brighton Hove & Albion. Actually, they weren’t just battered, West Ham were humiliated by a newly promoted football side who hadn’t seen top flight action since the 1980’s. From my view point, around 10 rows from the front in the home end still left me a considerable distance from the pitch due to the running track which makes it all too vast and spacious for football. Thankfully, I had been to Upton Park back in September 2009 to watch Liverpool win a thriller 3-2 and the atmosphere that day was nothing short of spectacular. In the London Stadium, the atmosphere is non-existent. Once more, vice-chair, Karen Brady will point to the profits made from moving away from Upton Park. Money first, football second.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am sure watching athletics in the London Stadium would be a fantastic opportunity. As for watching the round ball game? Well, I wouldn’t want to be heading back there any time soon for a match. You see, this is modern football at its finest. The supporters are last on the list of priorities as greedy executives and place profit at the top of their priorities, leaving the regular match going supporters out in the dark. The only redeeming feature of the London Stadium when it comes to football is having a chuckle at the giant penis shaped sculpture outside as you wait to go into the ground. Money first, football second.