By London correspondent Tony Hughes
David Gold is convinced West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium will not have a detrimental effect on the atmosphere generated by supporters.
The Hammers are set to leave the Boleyn Ground – which has been their home since 1904 – at the end of the current campaign and will play their home matches in Stratford from the start of next season.
The stadium’s capacity of 60,000 will be the second largest in the Premier League – behind only Manchester United – and West Ham’s presence will generate 1.5million visitors to the Olympic park each year.
However, while the club’s new home will allow them to compete with England’s elite in regards to revenue, concerns have been raised about a potential loss of atmosphere due to the distance between the crowd and the pitch at the Olympic Stadium.
But co-chairman Gold has dismissed such fears and believes the increase in capacity will ensure that West Ham’s fanbase can replicate the Boleyn Ground’s atmosphere in their new home.
“I’m not worried one bit,” Gold told BBC’s Match of the Day programme during West Ham’s FA Cup defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday night. “The atmosphere is created by fans and we’re going to have 50,000 fans there at matches like this and they will create the atmosphere. I have no doubt in my mind about that at all.”
West Ham lost 2-1 to United in a thunderous cup clash – the last ever at Upton Park – as the visitors qualified for the summer finals of the competition.
In other West Ham news, ex-Hammers defender Rio Ferdinand has given his verdict on Andy Carroll.