There are a lot of comparisons between West Ham’s stadium move in August this year to Man City’s move back in 2003 – two big cities in the country, both occupying an athletics stadium that had to be converted for football use.
Man City had a permanent conversion whereas West Ham have an adaptable solution. In the space of 13 years since moving from Maine Road, Manchester City have won the Premier League twice, League Cup twice and FA Cup once, and recently reached the Champions League semi-final for the first time in their history, but they had a seven year wait to get their first piece of silverware by beating stoke in the FA Cup final.
The title challenging Man City we see today did come at a price and they have had to be patient for it. They made some outlandish transfers in their build-up, such as Elano, Robinho and Shaun Wright-Phillips which led to signing the majority of the Premier League’s rival talents such as Adam Johnson, Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell and all of them failing miserably.
They have raided Arsenal every season by acquiring Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Nasri, Clichy and Sagna, as well as the top leagues across Europe in order to get Yaya Toure, Kolorov, Zabaleta, Kompany, De Jong, Dzeko, Silva and Navas to build a squad capable of succeeding.
Now they are going through another transition by replacing those players who they invested heavily in to only gain five trophies from a possible three domestically each season.
The main question is, can West Ham learn from Man City’s experience and achieve success quicker than they did during their transition?
Last ever game at old stadium…
Man City – 11 May 2003 – Lost 1-0 v Southampton
West Ham – 10 May 2016 – Win 3-2 v Manchester United
Team and manager in last home game…
Man City – KEEGAN: Schmeichel, Dunne (Horlock), Sommeil, Distin, Jensen, Wright-Phillips, Barton (Belmadi), Foe, Benarbia, Goater (Folwer) & Anelka
West Ham – BILIC: Randolph, Cresswell, Reid, Ogbonna, Antonio, Kouyate, Noble, Payet (Tomkins), Lanzini (Obiang), Sakho (Valencia) & Carroll
League position finish at old stadium..
Man City – 9th
West Ham – Between 5th and 8th
Capacity of new stadium for first league game…
Man City – 48,000
West Ham – 60,000
Highest Transfer fee paid in new stadium…
Man City – £2.5m Reyna & £2.5m Sinclair
West Ham – Rumoured to be around £25m
Number of players sold/released for start of new season in stadium…
Man City – 24
West Ham – 4
Investment and ownership for last and first seasons in retrospective stadiums…
Man City – Lee, Bernstein and Wardle (1994–2007), Thaksin Shinawatra (2007), Sheikh Mansour (since 2008)
West Ham – Gold, Sullivan & CB Holdings (since 2010)
I believe West Ham can win silverware within the next few seasons, quicker than the six seasons Man City waited.
We are a capital city club on the verge of getting into a reformatted Europa League group stages, we have a fantastic squad to build off of by adding a £25-30m marque signing in the summer (no major squad overhaul to upset the balance in the team) with movement to upgrade the players if necessary, and we have a cup winning development squad full of the hottest prospects that could break into the first team.
With Slaven Bilic as manager we have an ex-player with old fashioned attitudes and contemporary philosophies who will grow with the club. Bilic shares a passion with the owners and has respect from his staff members and the players who play for him – he alone can draw in players from across the globe because he now has recognition and is now classed as a top manager in Europe… again something Manchester City had to wait until 2009 to achieve.
Man City’s success has been built on the back of heavy financial investment from a billionaire owner who has no connection with the club. West Ham are owned by West Ham fans who work day and night to get the best out of the club.
Six years ago we were on the verge of not existing, we couldn’t grow as a club and struggled to attract quality players. Since they took over in 2010, they have achieved so much and put the club on a world platform.
The comparisons between West Ham and Man City are clear, but the boys in claret and blue will be more successful when they begin a new era in a world class stadium.
Man City had to build their squad when they moved in – West Ham have already built their castles high, now it’s about how wide we can stretch.
In May 2016 we shed tears, in August 2016 we start to laugh.
I have never been prouder to be a Hammer and success is not as far away as you think.