West Ham need time to adapt to London Stadium, says Alan Smith

Sky Sports
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Alan Smith believes it could take West Ham some time to adapt to their new surroundings at the London Stadium, following a “flat” Premier League bow against Bournemouth.

The Hammers opened the doors to their new 57,000-seater home on Super Sunday, as it hosted its first top-flight encounter following the club’s move from Upton Park.

Michail Antonio’s late header ensured the West Ham supporters went home with something to cheer about, sealing a 1-0 victory over the Cherries.

Until that point, though, there was little to get those attendance excited as a drab affair on the pitch replicated itself in the stands of the former Olympic Stadium

“At times it was flat,” Sky Sports co-commentator Smith said. “The fans didn’t have much to shout about for large parts of the match, did they?

“I think they wanted to get behind the team and, every now and then, the West Ham fans did burst into song.

“I suppose the fans will have to get used to the stadium, just like Arsenal fans at the Emirates.

“It’s a different sort of feeling at the London Stadium than it was at Upton Park.”

Of course, West Ham have already played at their new stadium ahead of making its Premier League debut.

Slovenian side NK Domzale had the honour of being the first visiting team to play at the Hammers’ Stratford-based ground, losing 3-0 in a Europa League qualifier.

The stadium was officially opened three days after that when Serie A champions Juventus travelled over for a pre-season friendly.

And, having spoken to people in attendance at those games, Smith is certain it will not be long before the spine-tingling atmosphere synonymous with the Boleyn Ground could be sampled at West Ham’s new home.

“Some people that were here for the Juventus game, when they played better, did say the noise was incredible,” he added.

“The stadium is designed to keep in the noise so when they get used to it, feel at home and get the 57,000 fans behind them, it will be a noisy place to come.”

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