This Thursday marks the first ever game at the London Stadium as we welcome Slovenian side NK Domzale.
We are at home for the second tie, but is our new home the advantage? We come back from Slovenia with a 2-1 loss, grabbing a vital away goal. If this tie was at the Boleyn Ground, I would be fairly confident that we would win and progress into the play-off stage. However, we aren’t going to the Boleyn Ground, we’ll be going to our new home in Stratford.
The first game at the London Stadium could be trickier than we initially think, as the club enter a stadium which will have more allocated West Ham fans in one stadium than a FA Cup final at Wembley. The players are not playing in front of a 34k home crowd, it’ll be a 54k home crowd, the only time the players have played at larger stadiums is when they’ve been the away side.
Small teams like Domzale will want to cause an upset and we just can’t afford to lose our first game. If we lose it would affect our entire transfer activity if we can’t offer European football. We can offer money, but sometimes money just isn’t enough. Quality footballers want to play in big competitions and win big trophies.
If we are not in those competitions, we cannot offer that chance for those players. Which is why Thursday’s game is a must win and we need to get behind our team as we did in our last ever game at the Boleyn Ground against Manchester United.
The players can only play a game of football, but as fans we need to create the atmosphere. The stadium has been branded in West Ham colours, West Ham slogans are everywhere with large crossed hammers above the turnstiles and legends of the past and present displayed in large West Ham shirts.
The seats are now in football mode and those seats have been filled – all the hard work has been done, but when that whistle blows at 7.45pm on Thursday 4th August 2016… we need to be loud!
It’s a big bowl to fill and we need to make it full of West Ham vocal support to ensure that no team wants to play at the London Staduum because we make it hostile. It really is up to us on matchdays to make it special. Let’s get behind the owners, the players, the coaches, the boss and even the tea ladies in the food booths!
With an inaugural season comes pressure, and there’s nothing bigger than playing on the highest platform in one of the world’s most iconic cities and stadiums.
“History has prepared us for today” but we have to chance to write history by being as successful as we can, and by bringing pure claret and blue emotion.
Come on you Irons! Our time has come; our time is now.