West Ham fans are beginning to question why they ever left Upton Park.
The opportunity to move into a flashy modern stadium with a 60,000 capacity proved simply too appetising, yet it hasn’t been the dream move they envisaged.
Crowd trouble, break ins and violence have marred the Hammers’ start to life in their new ground and the issues show no sign of ceasing. In fact, some experts have even suggested the stadium is worthy of demolition for its faults.
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Many thought the only issues with the London Stadium would be the distance between pitch and players, if only that was the case.
Firstly, it has proven an unhappy transition on the pitch for Slaven Bilic’s men. Before a recent resurgence, the Irons found themselves lingering in the relegation zone and conceding goals at a chronic rate.
Their form in the new stadium in particular proved a problem. Defeats to rivals such as Southampton and Watford in front of their own fans proved shuddering blows. Furthermore, that isn’t mentioning the Europa League ignominy that came at the hands of Astra Giurgiu.
However, it has been issues off the pitch at the ground that made the majority of headlines.
In the home defeat to Watford, supposedly segregated fans were seen clashing and after the Middlesbrough game, respective fans engaged in fistfights and brandished knives outside.
Then, in mid-week against Chelsea, supporters were seen defying segregation and becoming involved in scuffles with stewards. In addition, there was evidence of vandalism with chairs being thrown at fans.
So, what is the reason for such prevalent crowd trouble?
Many experts are of the opinion that the culprit is the stadium itself. This has been an outlook complimented by police officers who have lamented the ground’s suitability for football or lack of it.
Former Burnley chief executive, Paul Fletcher, was heavily involved in the original planning for the stadium and has suggested it should be ‘demolished’ and rebuilt for football.
He went on to to tell the Daily Mail that: “The stadium is so poor in football terms, it breeds poor behaviour. The stadium is fundamentally problematic and like a battleground for fans both inside and outside.
“There are issues such as the distances many fans find themselves from the pitch. It was set up for athletics so has shallow sight-lines, meaning many fans simply don't have a good view.
“At the Chelsea match, large numbers of fans stood on the extended concourses as they have such a poor view from their seats. Even the route the fans had to take to get in and out of the stadium is a problem, as are segregation issues outside the ground due to wide open spaces.”
While clattering a wrecking ball into the Trevor Brooking Stand proves rather extreme, it’s clear there are numerous fundamental issues with the London Stadium.
How West Ham will attempt to amend the issues is unknown, but the problems they will face are certain. After all, the sheer frequency of crowd related incidents is both unacceptable and downright worrying.
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