A Rough Guide To West Ham United
Tuesday, 27th Mar 2018 12:56
It seems ages since we made our first visit to the London Stadium and there seems to be as much crowd unrest there as our first trip in September 2016.
The London Stadium as the former Olympic Stadium is now called has had its fair share of teething problems since West Ham United moved in as tenants, most of these have been caused by the fact that it was not built as a football stadium and therefore is not geared up towards segregating rival fans both in and outside the ground and secondly because security has been the responsibility of the owners of the stadium and not the club itself, so again their experience is of Athletics meetings not football matches.
I wrote this 18 months ago, yet it seems nothing has changed much and indeed has got worse as the fans start to show their discontent not only with their team on the pitch, but off it as well including an almost universal dislike amongst the Unhappy Hammers of watching football in this stadium.
It is a quality stadium, however it was built for athletics so therefore it has an bowl design and is able to convert back to being used for athletics events, this means that supporters are some way from the pitch and the view is far from brilliant in this respect, so perhaps taking a pair of binoculars is needed.
If you want to drive he easiest way, is to take the M25 round to junction 25 and head towards London on the A10, I would suggest perhaps looking to park around Hackney Wick and walk to the ground, although I do not know what parking is available in this area.
Several options from Waterloo, perhaps the most direct is the Jubilee line east to Stratford, this is the designated rail hub for the stadium, it is likely to be very busy and is around 1 mile to the stadium itself, so leave yourself plenty of time.
After the match all fans that are wanting to go to Stratford Station, are sent on a long set route (this avoiding going into the shopping centre) and it is stop/started in places to regulate the flow of fans, before being finally met with huge queues for the trains themsleves.
Another option would be to take the Northern Line to Camden, there are plenty of pubs there and you can then make the short walk to Camden Road station and take the London Overground to Hackney Wick,trains are every 10 minutes and take 15 minutes, again it is about a mile walk but should be less congested.
Coming back this route may be a little more difficult as although the station may be less congested, the previous stop is Stratford and the trains could be packed, however most West Ham fans will be going East rather than West, so it might be Ok.
The Away Section
Visiting supporters are housed in the lower and upper sections of the South West part of the stadium, the facilities are excellent with the toilets even being likened to those in a hotel as well as plenty of food and drink outlets, but we are talking Wembley prices here with a pie costing £4.20 and I suspect a beer nudging the £5 mark.
The main footballing issues have been segregation with only a waist high barrier seperating home and away fans, a combination of readily available and cheap tickets has meant that a lot of old school West Ham fans have returned to the fold so to speak and the first games in the Stadium have saw some unsavoury incidents both in and out of the ground Recently this behaviour has returned but the agression is more towards their own club than away fans..
Segregation was hard to enforce by a security firm unused to football matches and Police have to be called into the ground to deal with incidents, however these have been well publicised and it is believed that more stringent methods will be in place for our visit and going forward.
Reports from the fans of clubs who have visited in the past 18 months suggest that the atmosphere both in and around the stadium is unpleasant and that of frustration from the home fans, of course some of this is because of the Hammers issues, but it is not just that and the West Ham fans are narked at their new home when compared to Upton Park and this has not helped matters, that being the case the wearing of club colours might not be as safe as at most grounds these days.
Drinking Eating Etc
All reviews so far suggest you are far better eating and drinking away from the stadium, most of the nearby pubs etc are by Stratford Station, however they are mainly home fans only and you could find it hard to get into any of them.
My suggestion would be to go to Camden and have a few drinks there, if you take the overground to Hackney Wick allow a good 40 minutes to get to the stadium with the train taking 15 minutes followed by a 15 minute walk to the ground. Not ideal but there is little near the ground for away fans.
The Westfield shopping centre does of course have plenty of eating and drinking outlets, however it is unclear whether there are any restrictions on football fans.
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