Joint-Chairman ‘spellbound’ by new Stadium

Joint-Chairman David Gold is no stranger to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, even if it is utterly unrecognisable from the place he knew so well as a young man.

Mr Gold was a regular visitor to Stratford in his formative years, whether for work or, to his mother’s dismay, for a summer swim in the waterways.

It is a markedly different affair these days, with the former Olympic Stadium taking centre stage in spectacular surrounds. Even so, for this Stepney-born Hammer there remains a poignant resonance with his east London beginnings.

“As a young boy I can remember going and swimming in the canals and I remember when my mother found out, thinking I'd catch some terrible disease because they were filthy, terrible places,” he recalled. “But to me, on a hot summer's day, to go and swim there was just fantastic.

“I remember as a young man, in my teens, working down Stratford Market. It's just amazing when I think of it. We considered it a quite terrible place and it certainly needed regeneration, though I probably didn't consider that as a young person.

“But the change is so dramatic, all because of the Olympic Park and the Olympic Stadium. The area is just amazing. Now when you go there you're impressed with the beauty of the place, even ignoring, for the moment, the actual Stadium itself.

“With the waterways and the gardens, it's just a stunning, stunning place to be. And of course to have the Olympic Stadium, West Ham's Stadium, is special for me, because of those memories.”

Mr Gold was back at the new Stadium this week to celebrate the Club’s latest partnership deal with Lycamobile and paid tribute to their continued backing at a pivotal juncture in Hammers history.

He explained: “They’ve been fantastic supporters of the Club, we’ve been very fortunate to have such a great partner, particularly at such an important time for the Club. Not only the last year at Upton Park coming up but also the opening of the new Stadium.

“Everywhere you turn, West ham values are clear in our partners. It’s very valuable and important that they feel the same things that we do. We’re very fortunate.”

As for the Stadium itself, the Joint-Chairman continues to be amazed by the progress and expects supporters to be absolutely bowled over when they set foot in their new Stadium for the very first time.

“The roof is coming along remarkably quickly, and I hope the fans get to see this because once they see it I’m sure they’ll love it.

“This is going to be the most iconic Stadium in the world, in my view. I am so proud to be part of it and I know that when the fans see it, they’ll be proud too. Every time I visit, I am overcome with excitement and pride at what we are achieving.

“I'm seeing a little bit here and a little bit there. For somebody that actually walks in there for the first time, they are going to be spellbound.

“2016 can’t come quickly enough. The players were saying they wanted to play here next week! Every time I come I am overwhelmed by the enormity and the grandeur of it, it’s absolutely fantastic.”