After a successful 2015-2016 season, West Ham United are off to a terrible start. The team is having trouble scoring and finding life difficult at the London Stadium.
West Ham was one of the surprise teams of last season. The Hammers finished seventh with 62 points. It was the club’s highest ever point tally in the Premier League.
The season was also special as it was the last year that the team played at the Boleyn Ground. The stadium had been West Ham’s home for over 100 years (1904-2016).
The good feelings were meant to carry over as the Hammers began play this year at the London Stadium. The former 2012 Olympic Stadium grounds is now West Ham United’s new home.
Unfortunately this has not been the case. West Ham has just three wins and one draw from ten matches. The team is leaking goals and scoring has become a major concern. A startling fact is that West Ham strikers have yet to register a goal or an assist. Yes, you read that correctly.
New signing Andre Ayew was injured early in the season. The often sidelined Andy Carroll has unsurprisingly had fitness problems. Meanwhile on loan forwards Jonathan Calleri and Simon Zaza have not looked Premier League ready.
The London Stadium does not feel like home to West Ham supporters.
The other major problem West Ham is dealing with is the London Stadium. The Boleyn Ground was home for generations of West Ham supporters. Unfortunately, the move to the former Olympic grounds has not gone smoothly.
Many fans are resentful and find the new stadium devoid of atmosphere. Of course the London Stadium was not built specifically for football and it shows. While the running track is no longer visible, the distance from many of the seats to the pitch is far.
It’s obvious that the club’s move was dictated by money. West Ham’s owners see the London Stadium as a way to generate new revenue which can then be invested in players and improving the club.
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The fans’ anger has been evident in the stands. Recent episodes of fighting have made headlines and Bilic has accused hooligans of ruining the club’s reputation. Last week’s fisticuffs during West Ham’s EFL Cup win over Chelsea were particularly problematic. Supporters threw coins at each other and seven arrests were made. Additionally, over 200 fans are facing stadium bans for their behavior.
The combination of a club getting off to a losing start in a new stadium devoid of atmosphere has made for a bad situation. The negative vibes surrounding the team and within the stadium are not helping matters.
Hopefully West Ham management can find a way to work out the problems within the London Stadium. They need to establish a safe and comfortable match day experience for supporters, while creating a place that feels like home. Once that happens, fans can get back to paying attention to the action on the pitch.