English Premier League football club West Ham United has revealed that work to redevelop the Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking Stands at London Stadium should be completed in time for the 2020-21 season.
West Ham has provided the first real update on the project since it was first revealed in February. At that time, the club said it would explore the possibility of moving the lower tiers of the Sir Trevor Brooking and Bobby Moore Stands closer to the pitch in an effort to improve the atmosphere at London Stadium.
The stadium was built for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and its subsequent conversion into a venue primarily for football and athletics has led to criticism concerning the match-day experience. West Ham said the stands would be squared off in line with a “more traditional football stadium configuration” behind the goals.
The West Ham United Official Supporters’ Board (OSB) held its first meeting of the 2019-20 season at London Stadium earlier this month, details of which were revealed yesterday (Tuesday). The meeting allowed the 17 supporter representatives to discuss key points with senior figures at the club, including vice-chairman Karren Brady, along with representatives from London Stadium, Delaware North Catering and the Metropolitan Police.
With regards the plans for the Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking Stands, Brady said “good progress” has been made in partnership with stadium owner E20, a wholly-owned subsidiary of London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC). Brady explained that the work is currently out to tender and is on track to be installed over the summer of 2020. Following the work, the new distances between the stands and the pitch are expected to be very similar to the area behind the goals at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and much closer than at Wembley Stadium.
Brady explained that there will be around 300 of the 3,600 seats in each stand that would not be covered by the stadium’s roof once the work is completed. She added that the club has spoken to companies who have submitted tenders and the new stands should “feel more permanent and an enhancement of what is there now”.
As well as moving thousands of fans closer to the action, the project is designed to allow for a quicker and more straightforward seat installation and removal process. This would in turn increase the availability of the stadium for events throughout the summer and reduce the annual costs of operating the stadium.
It was revealed in August that E20 is losing £20m (€21.8m/$24.4m) a year on the venue. E20’s latest accounts detailed that the cost of moving the stadium’s seats during the football off-season this year cost E20 £6m, rising from the previous £4m due to the start of the venue’s two-year deal to host Major League Baseball (MLB) games.
Speaking at the OSB meeting, Brady said the government needs to look at the cost of transforming the stadium from football to athletics, especially when it is extremely expensive and generates such low income for the stadium.
In other talking points from the meeting, Brady said she has been told by E20 that the infrastructure for stadium Wi-Fi is being installed currently and should be ready in January. West Ham is making a “significant contribution” towards the cost.
Following a trial held at the last four matches of the season to assess the impact of using reusable cups, West Ham said it is currently working with stadium partners to deliver this all year round.
Image: West Ham United