Sunday, January 8

The wrong size of pitch?

Are we playing on the wrong size of pitch? Pep Guardiola appeared to have a point when he said that the London Stadium give players the illusion of having more time, partly because the crowd are so far from the pitch. Though actually the pitch is not that big. Looking at the stats, at 115 yards by 74 yards (or 105 by 68 metres) it's the same size as Wembley (though one yard less in width), Old Trafford and the Emirates. It's only five metres longer and four metres wider than the Boleyn Ground. Or to quote the rather unfortunate boast on the club website, it should be, "made for the exciting, passing football Hammers fans want to see."

Man United and Arsenal don't appear to suffer from a large pitch and if anything there's a case for making West Ham's pitch a yard or two wider to bring the fans closer to the action. It should surely be possible to add a few rows of temporary seats to the sections around the half-way line that are a long way from the action, though digging the pitch down further doesn't appear to be an option at present because of the toxic waste in the soil beneath the stadium. Though who knows what might happen if an eventual new owner throws some money at the LLDC.

The big problem for West Ham at the moment is not the larger pitch but the fact they've never won a league game by more than one goal at the London Stadium and have now suffered a good few tonkings there. It's worrying that Bilic doesn't appear to be able to organise the defence. For all the faults of Big Sam, his teams rarely looked as disorganised at the back as we did on Friday night. How does a club get to this stage of the season without a recognised right-back? 

There's a lack of spirit and leaders too. You can't see anyone bar Reid trying to organise the team when things go against us. Mark Noble tries his best as captain, but you really think West Ham need to sign some more characters with a strong presence in the dressing room. If results don't improve against Palace and Middlesbrough then Bilic will start to look vulnerable again.


Andy Harding said...

it has been v obvious to me from the very first game that you need to know how to play on a wider longer pitch and have tactical advantage. i don't understand why Bilic can't see this and have a game plan for home advantage, as noted in this piece other clubs do it so why don't we. We need to get a grip with the stadium soon

Anonymous said...

There is no toxic waste beneath the stadium. The whole site was cleaned in preparation for the Olympics. The main issues with expanding the retractable seating is cost, of course, and disruption to the stadium event calendar.

Anonymous said...

I do wonder if moving advertising boards closer to the pitch would help unless there are regulations in place that keeps them closer to the seating areas

Pete May said...

You're right Andy about the team learning to play on a bigger pitch - the players don't seem to have adapted. As for toxic waste, there's a big pit of the stuff sealed in a concrete liner outside the stadium apparently, if theres no waste under the pitch then that makes lowering the pitch likelier though I also read there's a high water table. Moving the boards into a square shape around the pitch or just closer sounds a good idea and would make it seem more compact to the players.