It’s a world class facility with a much higher capacity than the club’s old digs, but there are still some Hammers fans who yearn for the days of the Boleyn Ground.
Those supporters won’t have appreciated manager Manuel Pellegrini’s comments on the old place then.
“Maybe they all realise this team needs a big stadium,” he said, as per the Evening Standard.
“The old stadium I know was a beautiful stadium but it was too small for this team. Just 32,000 people is not enough for West Ham – now we have 60,000 people at every game we play.
“Maybe they understand, also they are creating the atmosphere we see in every game,” he finished.
That’s probably not how most West Ham fans see it. They were likely pretty happy with how things were at Upton Park, even if less of them could attend games than can now. However, the die hard supporters would probably have preferred that, seeing the London Stadium crowd as having been diluted by less dedicated fans.
Are West Ham such a big club that they need a 60,000-seater stadium? Maybe, maybe not. That’s a matter of personal opinion. They’re not a Liverpool or a Manchester United sized team though, that’s for sure.
However, they’re now in a ground that rivals the big boys in capacity, if not always in atmosphere. That’s no fault of the supporters, of course, it’s merely a result of the way the stadium was constructed.
Pellegrini’s unsentimental comments on the Boleyn Ground are risking the wrath of the West Ham fans. He put his foot in it a bit here, considering how beloved the old stadium still is. Maybe he should think twice before commenting on Upton Park next time.