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The Bubble Blower - Part 5

Many West Ham fans will see our failed Olympic Stadium bid as a disaster.

To some, having a stadium that has the grandeur to promote our club worldwide to potential investors is paramount in today’s game. It would show our ambition and our desire to be up there with the best. 

And that’s what every fan wants, isn’t it? We want a successful team to be proud of, even if it does mean major investment. If Manchester City and Chelsea can attract rich owners then what’s stopping West Ham?

Well, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is stopping us actually. Due to legal and financial complications, the DCMS confirmed today that the Hammers Olympic Stadium deal has collapsed.

There will be a court hearing on the 18th of this month, but, I ask, is staying at Upton Park a bad thing?

I say no

As an ex-season ticket holder who used to soak up the atmosphere in the chicken run, bearing down on the away fans and sharing the banter; I say no.

Yes the Boleyn Ground isn’t the best stadium in England, but it is one thing – home. I’ve been to many new stadiums which all look architecturally brilliant - Cardiff City’s ‘imaginative’ Cardiff City Stadium is just one example, another would be the Emirates.

But what they make up for in attractiveness they lack in passion. Give me a day out to Fratton Park or Carrow Road any day of the week. 

To me football is losing a sense of identity. That experience of history you get as a supporter traveling the country on away trips is slowly fading away.

The dream of success and power in football is blinding the old traditional values. In ten years I think most supporters will travel from ground to ground anticipating the attractiveness of the stadiums rather the atmosphere. 

Noise and passion

What impresses supporters is noise and passion, not soft seats and leg room. 

To me, that’s what football is all about. Of course I’d love to see West Ham lifting trophies and ruling the football world.

But would huge investment, a team of superstar foreigners, advertising slogans and billboards blocking our views and unreachable ticket prices really make a proper football fan happy? Unfortunately money is the sole provider in this footballing family and one the game can’t live without at the moment. 

I don’t want to lose my club through aiming to be like everybody else. West Ham has always been about the fans and local pride.

Therefore I hope we keep our roots, concentrate on our academy and footballing philosophy that we are barely holding onto at present and keep our home, because without it we are lost. 

By Leigham Stone

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