It’s fair to say it’s been a shaky start to life at the Olympic Stadium. With stewards and fans arguing over the standing issue in the stands and the likes of Noble and Kouyate looking lost on the pitch, the enthusiasm and goodwill towards a new adventure is quickly dissipating. So, what do we need to stop it?
A resolution to the issues in the stands for a start, and the fans have a part to play here as much as the club. I’ve seen some sickening scenes of late with Hammers turning on each other and being nasty to stewards who have been asked to do a job. Focussing on the team rather than the view would certainly be an excellent start.
Results could also go some way to making us smile again. Losing to Southampton and drawing to Middlesbrough are not the things that memorable seasons are made of and we could really do with getting some wins under our belt. That goes along with performances, particularly when it comes to the new signings who look lost but again, fans have been very quick to judge and booing Tore after 5 appearances is not really on.
But, what we need most of all, is a special night. Nothing will replace the magical last night at the Boleyn, but we’ve had lots of special nights there. From Ray Stewart keeping the championship dream alive to Jonny Spector ripping Man United apart on a snowy November evening, there have been some stunning nights at the old girl and the chance to replicate that feeling starts with Chelsea at home in the cup.
Chelsea will represent the first real rivalry match we’ve had at the London Stadium and it’s a chance for all fans to pull together. The stadium definitely does make an impressive wall of noise when we are all in full voice and maintaining that intimidation of our rivals whilst lifting our players could lead to a memorable night. Imagine the scene….Costa putting Chelsea ahead with a jammy, foul-ridden goal…….the game soon changes with a fierce but fair Noble tackle in midfield. The ball goes in and Zaza breaks his duck. But he doesn’t celebrate, he grabs the ball, back on the centre circle. We win it back and with our next attack, Dimi dinks it to Antonio for yet another header. The next 30 minutes are like the Alamo as Chelsea bombard us, but heroic saves and defending keep us in it, until the ref blows the whistle and the stadium explodes in joy and relief.
Okay, it’s all a bit Roy of the Rovers, but what a difference this could make to our season, to our attitude towards the team, the management, the owners and the stadium. We need, at least, to ensure we do our part and Bilic if he is doing his job right, will ensure the team does theirs. Sunderland at home may be a bit of a rehearsal, but it’s against Chelsea that our season could really start.