Sky very kindly decided to televise West Ham’s first Premier League game at their new home The London Stadium, moving it from the original Saturday to 4pm on the Sunday, that meant I could go! I was committed to T20 Blast Finals Day but free to watch football the next day.
I drove another weird and wonderful route from Birmingham and arrived in Stratford with a couple of hours to spare, meaning a visit to the West Ham shop and lunch in Westfield, all very civilised.
I climbed, and that is the operative word, to my season ticket seat, I was quietly pleased to see it wasn’t just me who was out of breath by the time I got there! My seat is higher than the one I sat in for the Juventus game but I was still happy with my view for the price of my season ticket. I met the people I’ll be sitting with for the next 2 seasons and was happy they were much like me, I was also pleased to see a couple of Dad and daughter duos, good to see the girls being taken to football as well as the boys.
The match was to be, shall I say, uninspiring, Bournemouth were the better team for large sections of the game and their travelling supporters made a great noise considering how few of them there were. With so many season tickets sold I imagine there’ll be no more than the required 3,000 away seats available.
I was disappointed to realise that some ‘fans’ a total minority were clearly only at the game to torment the visiting fans, but there was also some good banter exchanged. It;s going to be interesting to see what happens when an ‘old enemy’ visits.
West Ham are starting the season with several key players injured, Dimitri Payet and Andy Carroll to name two, their new signing Andre Ayew signed from Swansea for a club record of £20.49m is also on that injury list, he injured a thigh leaving him needing an operation he’s unlikely to appear until after Christmas. Those distasters seem to have left West Ham short of goal scoring possibilities, for large sections of the game I couldn’t see where a goal was going to come from.
However a red card for a second yellow for Bournemouth’s Harry Arter altered the balance of the game and not long after the home team got a valuable goal, a header from Michail Antonio in the 85th minute, that ensured a vital 3 points and a first home win.
It was a bit of a palaver to get back to my car, I may well take my crutch next time, what with all those stairs to climb followed by a long walk, I can see it’d be beneficial.