West Ham striker Diafra Sakho has vowed to write his name in the Hammers’ history books by scoring the first goal in their new stadium in 2016.
At the end of next season the east London outfit will make the switch from the Boleyn Ground to the Olympic Stadium – the centrepiece of the London 2012 Olympics – and everyone involved with the club is brimming with excitement.
Sakho, speaking to the club’s official website, stated how he is eyeing the honour of being the first West Ham player to score a goal at the new ground and the last to score at Upton Park.
“I'm eager to play there and pleased with everything that I’ve seen. Everyone dreams of playing there. I would even like to score the first goal in the new Stadium. That would be amazing.
“I hope to score the last goal at Upton Park as well and then the first one here! You have to be ambitious. We play for West Ham, if we're not ambitious, we won't be playing at the new Stadium.”
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The Senegal international alluded to the ambition that the players are clearly being encouraged to display and, having scored 12 goals in 24 appearances since his summer switch to the club, he should be more than capable of achieving this feat.
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West Ham have made no secret of their desire to open the new stadium with European football and that may be the best way of ensuring they fill the extra 19,000 seats that the ground can hold.
Sakho is confident they will sell-out quickly, though, and is adamant the club will be hitting the continent in the not too distant future.
“To go from 35,000 to 54,000 is massive. I think Season Tickets are going to go very quickly this year, that’s for sure.
“It’s the club's objective at the moment to play European football at the new Stadium. We as players are here to make that happen. We'll give it our all in the next year to get there.”
Sam Allardyce’s outfit made significant strides in their bid for a top-six finish this term, however they have fell short in the second half of the campaign and find themselves in ninth place with eight games remaining - still on course to meet their preseason objective of a top-10 finish.
It’s important for the Irons to give Upton Park a good send off and, although it looks unlikely it will host European football in its final season, it could oversee the beginning of a new era for West Ham.
With Allardyce’s contract expiring and no deal imminent the club could have a new manager at the helm next season, as well as a few more new faces on the pitch as they try to right the wrongs of this year and breach that highly competitive top-six.
Whoever's in the dugout come August will have their work cut out and massive expectations on their shoulders to deliver a final flourish at the ground which Hammers fans hold so dearly, while at the same time preparing them for a new beginning in Stratford.
Do you think West Ham can qualify for Europe next season? Are they still in with a shout this year? Have your say in the comments section below!
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