Guest Post from Stan
I wanted to share my experiences so far at the new stadium. I’ve always been in favour of the move as its allowed me to be able to buy season tickets for my eight year old son Frankie and myself and although not perfect, no one can deny its an impressive stadium. However the reason I’m writing this is not about the merits of otherwise of the move but about serious issues regarding safety.
It didn’t start well at the Bournemouth game when Frankie and I were forced to walk through the away end to get to our seats! Now I know the club have now put in measures to stop this occurring again but it should never have been necessary to begin with. The small walkway which acts as segregation between the seats will NOT be enough to stop rival fans reaching each other and mark my words there will be violence inside the ground in future matches unless the measures to segregate fans are made more robust. This is a worry as Frankie and I are in the block of seats next to the away fans.
After the game both sets of fans were let out at the same time and inevitably there was violence. Thankfully it was not large scale but any violence is unacceptable and very worrying when you have your child with you. If this is not addressed it will be very bad when we play certain teams. There was zero Police presence and an officer had told a fellow fan the Police cannot come onto the raised platform around the stadium!!!
The stewards admitted they had never ‘worked’ a football crowd and this was very evident. I hoped this was just one of the ‘teething’ problems that David Gold alluded to on Talksport but the game against Astra was even worse. Having taken up our seats 45 mins before the game a large number of Romanian fans (20 to 25) started sitting around us and even though the row of seats behind us were covered in claret tarpaulin they ripped this off as the seats they had been sold were the ones covered! I may have been a bit naive but as there was no hostility from the Romanian fans or the West Hams I hoped everything would be OK.
Sadly I was wrong. When Astra scored some of the Astra fans jumped up and cheered. This led to violent confrontations all around us as many of our fans were understandably unhappy about this. Frankie and I were right in the middle of this and I’m extremely unhappy my son was put in this situation. I was lucky enough to move us quickly away from the area and found some empty seats elsewhere in the ground. However, the damage was done and we left well before the end of the game as I just wanted to get my son home.
I know have serious concerns about people’s safety at future games and I hope I’m wrong but I can see serious violence inside and outside the ground this season. Although I’ve tweeted David Gold, Karren Brady and the London Stadium a number of times and emailed the club twice I’ve not received a reply. I was hoping that by bringing this to people’s attention via ‘West Ham till I die’ that the club will take notice and address these issues before someone gets seriously hurt.
I will have to seriously consider whether to take Frankie to certain games if these problems are not addressed which is a shame as for an 8yr old Hammers fan football and West Ham are all he thinks about and enjoys so much.