Parkes catches Olympic Stadium buzz

West Ham United goalkeeping great Phil Parkes has caught the buzz surrounding the Hammers' proposed move to the Olympic Stadium.

Parkes spent 12 seasons with West Ham, lifting the FA Cup in 1980 and helping the club to reach their highest-ever league finish of third in 1986.

While the former stopper spent the entirety of his career in claret and blue at the Boleyn Ground, the 62-year-old believes moving to Stratford in 2016 could see further silverware make its way to east London.

At the same time, Parkes believes the 54,000-seater Olympic Stadium will provide a fitting home for the Club he called his own between 1979 and 1990, making 444 appearances and being voted Hammer of the Year in 1981.

"Having seen the plans, they look absolutely fabulous," said Parkes. "The roof has been extended and it does look amazing. It's a transparent roof, so it's going to let light in and keep the water out. It really does look like a top-class stadium.

"The fact is, with a roof over the top of it, it will bounce the sound back down to the players on the pitch, so it could even generate more noise. It could amplify the noise more, rather than disperse it.

"Looking at the plans, it's going to be a fabulous stadium and a UEFA Category Four stadium as well. There are not many of them around, so it's absolutely superb."

Like the supporters who have so many cherished memories of their time at the Boleyn Ground, Parkes was initially concerned that the club would lose something by moving the short distance to Stratford.

However, he is now right behind the plans and believes the fans should feel similarly positive about the bright future that awaits the Hammers at the Olympic Stadium.

"My heart says 'No', because all my memories and history are here at the Boleyn Ground and I'll be sad to leave, but my head says 'Yes'. We've got to do it because we want to become a bigger club and a sustainable club for the future for the fans. After all, they are the ones that come week in week out and they deserve the best that we can give them.

"You've got to take the history with you to the new stadium, you just can't forget it. That's all got to go as well, that's part of the club no matter where they play."

With a capacity far in excess of that which the Club currently enjoys at the Boleyn Ground, Parkes is excited about the prospect of West Ham attracting more world-class players to east London.

The Sedgley-born stopper also believes the move could create a cycle of success, on and off the pitch.

"It always comes down to the team. Whatever the team's doing at the time, they're the ones who are going to fill that stadium. And if we can get a side that plays their heart out for the badge, for West Ham and for the fans, then we'll fill that stadium and can move onto better things.

"It's going to be very special because everyone wants to play at the highest level and at the best stadia.

"There's going to me affordable seating, because there are going to be more seats. Bringing it into the reach of everyone's pocket can only be better. So we're going to have almost another 20,000 seats that we can fill, so it will get the normal working person to come along."