Uways Nisar looks at the potential for the Irons, and gets the view of LBC presenter and ardent fan, Iain Dale.
In August 2016, West Ham United will move just under six miles across East London to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium to start what will be a new legacy and chapter in the clubs history.
The move is seen as a step up by many West Ham fans as they look to break into and compete with the so called ‘big clubs’.
The club are currently enjoying their last and arguably their most successful ever season at the Boleyn. The club sit fifth in the Premier League, just two points off the Champions League places and are looking to reach the FA cup semi-finals after a quarter final draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United yesterday.
Big Name Signings?
The Irons move to the Olympic stadium is sure to attract the interest of the best of players around and given the club are looking to get in to the Champions League places for the first time in their illustrious history, they could even go the extra mile and acquire the ‘world class’ players needed to compete with the very best in Europe.
The new stadium could see the club play in front of a crowd of 54,000 plus, in the top rank for biggest stadiums in England. This is sure to attract players to the club who thrive on support of the fans.
The Olympic Stadium holds one of the best legacies in the modern Olympic era, and new signings will surely want to be a part of the history, placing themselves in the heart of one of London’s most recent historic venues.
Rising East spoke to the author of website West Ham till I Die, Iain Dale, better known as a political broadcaster and writer. Dale claimed even though the club may struggle in the first season, the stadium could see the club attract the players required to the take club to the next step.
He said: “Clubs who move stadiums usually have a difficult first season while they get used to their new surroundings.
“In the long term I expect the move to mean that West Ham are a far more attractive club for the best players to consider moving to. There’s no doubt this was part of the reason Dimitri Payet signed for us.”
The move to the new stadium is no doubt going to go down as one of the most historic moments in the club’s history. Transitioning from a stadium of 35,000 to almost 60,000 could see the club bring in more finances that could be see the club reach heights that didn’t even seem possible when the club got relegated in 2011.
Mixed together with the new Premier League TV deal, the two factors could see the club reach heights of the European ‘Super Powers. Although this may seem ambitious now when the club are only looking to play in the Champions League for the first time, consistency over the next five seasons could see the club reach that level.
Dale said he believed such a move for the club could be way off, however he believed they already have a team better than Manchester United, and with the new TV deal and the move, this can only enhance the club’s reputation when compared to the other big clubs of the Premier League.
He said: “That’s a difficult one to predict. It certainly isn’t going to happen overnight. I think retaining Slaven Bilic is a key to this.”
“I certainly believe that we should be a regular top six side by 2020, but in terms of rivalling Barcelona, that will take longer. I think player for player we already have a better team than Manchester United!”
Given the season the East Londoners are having this year, the next is sure to continue the fairy tale story.
A new stadium, enhanced finances and adding to the current squad with more quality is sure to create a cocktail of euphoria and hope for any West Ham fan going in to next season.
Dale said the current crop are good, however injuries mean that Slaven Bilic could be forced to dip into the transfer market and buy a few extra players, especially if the club do get a Champions League spot.
Dale said: “We already have strength in depth, but a squad can always be improved. We still get too many injuries. I believe we have an excellent midfield, which doesn’t need changing, but we do need a more prolific goalscorer, and possibly another central defender.”