Monday, January 9

Martin Samuel on the Boleyn as Bernabeu

Martin Samuel's Mail on Sunday piece, "Upton Park was never the Bernabeu - Now the London Stadium is being used as an excuse for West Ham's failure", has certainly provoked a lot of comments in West Ham sites. Upton Park was something of a fortress last season, mainly because of the high-octane emotion of it being the last season at the Boleyn. But historically, as Samuel points out, the likes of Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City used to regularly beat us at the Boleyn. 

Yes, he ignores the understandable anger of West Ham have fans who were lead to believe the retractable stands would be much more efficient and there would be far fewer transition problems, but Samuel also has a point that West Ham would have been accused of a lack of ambition if they hadn't tried to match the 60,000-seater stadiums of Arsenal and eventually Chelsea and Spurs. The stadium is imperfect and needs more redevelopment — it might take a decade or so to get it right —  but the biggest problem is surely bad results and poor signings; if we'd won 5-0 on Friday there would be a lot less talk about the faults of the stadium. We all miss Upton Park but it's the players who are losing matches. Click on the link to read Samuel's full article.


Shane Barber said...

Too right, Pete. A stadium never lost a game, teams do that. And if other teams can play well there, so can we.

This is just like the negativity that surrounded the Millennium Dome - journos who couldn't get in on New Year's Eve trashed it for a year until it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if you went while it was open it was OK; no theme park, but a decent day out. The same goes for the stadium - the press will whine on, but if Payet cracks on in from 30 yards no one's going to complain there was a gap between the stands or their sight line wasn't perfect. Only the players can win, but we can certainly help them.

I actually quite like the new place. It lacks memory and romance, but those will come in time. But if it lacks atmosphere, one goal can change all that. Chelsea in the League Cup, anyone?

supernumbersix said...

Same as that Shane.
Start winning consistently and give us something to shout about and all these 'stadium issues' will not feel so important.

Pete May said...

Yep, the endless trashing of the place by the media has had an effect and there's a ride of negativity which is worsened by the results. There are legitimate issues with the LS but if the team wins they'll be put in context. In the next few years it should be possible to sort out the stewarding, get better retractable stands, maybe bring the hoardings further forward and add a few rows to the front of the stands if the will is there. Football has been a business since the start of Premier League, it's not suddenly become corporate with the move. Crap signings and under-performing stars are nothing new to West Ham fans and that's the real problem.

mj said...

And play 2 up front. At least at home

matt said...

And yet, half a season in and new problems still arise. Before Man City I got caught in a massive crush outside entrance G that saw people in wheelchairs, pregnant women and small children trapped and frightened. That's never happened before, for games with equally large crowds. The stadium may be OK eventually, but I think it is fair to say that Lady Brady botched the move in badly, and still has considerable work to do.

Pete May said...

Yes, I was caught in a crush in G trying to get to H before Sunderland. Best tactic is to walk round by the swimming pool. But bizarre they keep closing bridges and haven't sorted it yet.