English Premier League club West Ham United has revealed further plans behind its vision to make London Stadium more football-focused, with safe standing part of the efforts.
In February, Arena Events Group was appointed to develop a new seating system at London Stadium as the club looks to bring fans closer to the pitch. West Ham announced in February 2019 that it would explore the possibility of moving the lower tiers of the Sir Trevor Brooking and Bobby Moore Stands, the south and north stands respectively, closer to the pitch in a bid to improve the atmosphere.
Some fans have complained that the layout of the stadium, which was originally built for the London 2012 Olympics, has an adverse effect on the match-day experience given the distance between the fans and the pitch.
West Ham has now said it will deliver two new lower tier stands behind the goals. The stands will be squared-off in line with a more traditional football stadium configuration, with the aim of moving the two stands closer to the pitch – with seats going forward by as much as four metres – and installing these this summer.
The club has worked with fans, stadium management and Arena Events Group and KSS Design Group on the designs. In order to reconfigure the stadium in line with supporters’ desire for a more traditional layout, the proposals will change the shape of the stand, so not every seating position will remain entirely like-for-like, although most will move closer to the action.
The design proposals take into account possible future developments and as a result, the stands are designed to be compatible for rail seating. In April, Manchester United confirmed it had received approval for a barrier seating trial to take place at Old Trafford, adding it was hoping to have the work completed in time for when fans return to the stadium. Wolverhampton Wanderers this season became the first Premier League club to install seats incorporating barriers in an existing stadium.
West Ham said a number of creative options to further enhance the look and feel of the stadium have been incorporated, including the use of claret and blue club colours, with the designs also improving access to amenities on the concourse.
The club and London Stadium intends to install the new configuration as soon as the extended Premier League season ends this summer. It is continuing to work with stadium landlord, E20, with the intention of the enhanced stadium reconfiguration being in place before the start of next season.
Karren Brady, vice-chairman of West Ham United, said: “This is another great step in improving the supporter experience at London Stadium, having named the Billy Bonds Stand and introducing more claret and blue inside the Stadium last season. Reconfiguring London Stadium to bring the stands closer to the action was always something we have wanted to do, and we understand how important this is for our fans.
“We’re pleased that our plans have now progressed to the point where we are able to share our proposed changes for each individual season ticket holder and we are delighted that the vast majority of fans in these stands will move nearer to the pitch.”
Images: West Ham United