Home away from home: What impact will new stadium moves have on West Ham and Spurs?
Robbie Purves | September 21, 2016
What impact will new stadium moves have on West Ham and Spurs?
Impressive new stadiums are often seen as a precursor to success, a symbol that can drive a club on and propel them into a new level of football.
But are they really a totally positive thing for teams aspiring the crawl up the league standings?
Here, we look at West Ham United and Tottenham, the former of which have already moved into a fresh ground, and what impact new stadium moves have on them…
Hammers failing to settle in new home
After 112 years at Upton Park, West Ham finally said goodbye to the historic ground and moved to a state-of-the-art new home in the form of the Olympic Stadium, at a cut price fee.
However, it hasn’t been all rosy since their arrival. Fights between Hammers supporters have broken out at several fixtures and stewards are failing to keep control of the restless east Londoners.
This could be down to a few things. Their capacity went from 35k to 55k in the space of a few months and many fans resent the arrival of new supporters that some perceive as “plastic” or “fair-weather” that weren’t on the terraces of the Boleyn Ground.
The relocation from the heart of the east end to an athletics campus built not for football fans, but for London 2012, was also a reason for upset supporters and feeds into the perceived gentrification of east London.
A huge factor for match goers, however, is the lack of atmosphere and proximity to the pitch, with Hammers legend Billy Bonds saying the stadium “isn’t a football ground”.
West Ham finished an impressive seventh last term, but with the side now struggling are 25/1 to be in the top six this term with Coral.
Spurs stadium solution
Unlike the Hammers, Tottenham are staying onsite at White Hart Lane, eliminating the problem many West Ham fans had with travelling to a totally different area.
Supporters will be able to take the same tube, bus or walk they have done for decades and retain some of the matchday atmosphere and sense of a footballing pilgrimage.
Lilywhites fans should also avoid the decrease in atmosphere, as Daniel Levy and the board have made it clear fans will be as close to the action as possible while increasing capacity from 36k to a whopping 61k – just larger than rivals Arsenal’s Emirates stadium.
The huge development will include a hotel, sports and health centre, apartments, a museum and club superstore. Spurs will now play their Champions League fixtures at Wembley and set an attendance record of 85k against Monaco in their group opener.
Tottenham recorded their highest ever Premier League finish last season in third, and are 6/5 to again finish in the top four this term.
Numbers prove dent in dominant home displays
Recent studies would suggest a move to pastures new have a destabilising effect on home performance. An American study found that home teams in various sports lost on average 24 per cent of their home advantage after moving into their new home.
To put this in perspective, this could be the difference a couple of points and therefore several places in the table. As for West Ham, we’ve already the effects, losing twice at home already this term, one of which was an embarrassing Europa League exit at the hands of Romanian minnows Astra Giurgiu, who sit third bottom of the Romanian top-flight.
However, the effects of a move are only temporary as players get used to a new surface, pitch size and location of the ground. But in terms of fan unrest that switching stadiums causes, that may linger for some time.
A new stadium, however, serves as a symbol to potential players and global fans that this is a club going places. Manchester City moving into the Etihad was vital in the Sky Blues attracting such a wealthy backer and has seen them transform into a football power. West Ham and Spurs will hope for the same.
What impact will new stadium moves have on West Ham and Spurs? Tell us what you think in the comments below.