Tuesday 14 Feb
Updated Tuesday 14 Feb 12:00
Opinion

We all follow the West Ham!

Zaman Siddiqui

 

Teenage blogger Zaman Siddiqui believes the long-term legacy of West Ham United's move will have wide benefits.

The 19-year-old student from North London began supporting the Hammers in 2010 and names the League Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United in November of that year as his favourite Claret and Blue moment.

A fan of FIFA, Football Manager and Adrian, Siddiqui has now penned his first blog for whufc.com...

 

Zaman SiddiquiUsain Bolt, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill, and Ellie Simmonds were just some of the stars of London 2012.

Some 32 world records were broken here during the Olympic Games alone, and West Ham United now have the chance to create more history at the same venue.

The transition from the Boleyn to the London Stadium initially proved testing.

I won't forget my last match at Upton Park, against Swansea City in May 2016. Iain Dale, the editor of the website for which I write, West Ham Till I Die, invited me over for a match. We may have lost 4-1, but I couldn't believe the fact that it was the last ever Saturday fixture at the ground. The fact that I had to write a match review on what I just saw wasn't particularly uplifting, either!

That said, the number of fans who turned up for the final time to the stadium was simply ridiculous. Many didn't even have a ticket – they just wanted to absorb the pre-match atmosphere one final time. It shows the dedication of the fans and how much the Boleyn meant and still means to them.

I have no doubt that the film 'Iron Men' will receive a positive reception. Someone on the West Ham Till I Die Facebook Group even said that the trailer brought tears to their eyes... and understandably so.

The move may have been just a stone's throw away, but that certainly doesn't make it any less significant: 112 years of football was played at the Boleyn Ground, creating a lot of old and cherished memories.

I started supporting the club back in 2010, which isn't that long, but the relocation still bore significance to me. The club has a rich history of FA Cup wins, as well as the 1966 World Cup consisting of a strong West Ham trio. It is easy to lose sight of it all. However, I feel that it shouldn't be the case. Many clubs have moved in spite of their previous successes, such as Arsenal, Manchester City and Southampton.

This has allowed them to create a new club vision, in addition to new memories. The sense of optimism that invariably arrives with these high-profile moves engages the fans with limitless prospects available for the club to implement... and it doesn't stop there.

Zaman SiddiquiFor instance, the plans for the surrounding Olympic Park area are like something in the distant future! The emphasis on sustainability is amazing to hear – the welfare of us football fans is what makes the sport, and West Ham United in particular, unique.

I live just a couple of miles away from the Emirates, yet chose to support West Ham. Around the time that I became actively engaged in football, Arsenal's former ground, Highbury, was converted into an apartment complex which exclusively houses private residences.

By contrast, the redevelopment of our previous ground will reportedly consist of a quarter of properties being classed under ‘affordable housing’ – that is something I take immense pride in as a Hammer. When my Economics teacher, an Arsenal fan who gave us a lesson on sustainable housing, made reference to Highbury, I swiftly mentioned Upton Park by way of a snappy retort!

When the residential complex is built it should also help local businesses. The Stratford area, which once struggled in this aspect, has seen a rapid surge in local growth.

This growth spread to the East London Tech City area, which is where I went to college. The area has often been compared to the Silicon Valley in the US. Many innovative tech giants such have visited my college.

The direct impact of the Stratford area development gave me more educational opportunities as a result.

The Olympic Park area was given the postcode E20, which had previously only appeared in EastEnders for the fictitious suburb of Walford. However, this move is anything but fictitious. It is a dream come true!

It must have brought a tear to the eye of Mick Carter (the EastEnders character played by West Ham fan Danny Dyer). Honestly, who would have thought that a new stadium in one of the fastest growing parts of the country would have the second-cheapest Season Ticket in the Premier League?

Affordability is rightly one of our club's top priorities, without it affecting our league status. The desire for entertaining, top-notch football is well and truly alive.

We have the third-largest capacity in the Premier League: this means that we are well-equipped to play against the top teams – and beat them.

Being a Hammer in certain areas isn't easy. There is a lot of hardship to endure, like when we were relegated back in 2011. But, at the end of the day, I made the right decision by choosing West Ham.

*You can follow Zaman Siddiqui on Twitter here.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not necessarily shared by West Ham United.