- England greats Michael Vaughan and Graeme Swann visited London Stadium on Saturday
- Pair were joined by fellow Ashes winner and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting
- Trio have been working with BT Sport on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
West Ham United have played host to three sporting greats at London Stadium.
Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, spinner Graeme Swann and Australia great Ricky Ponting were guests of the Hammers at the Premier League fixture with Stoke City.
The three Ashes winners made the short trip from BT Sport’s base at nearby Here East, where they had spent the previous night commentating on Australia’s Test match with South Africa.
For Sheffield Wednesday fan Vaughan, who captained his country to their unforgettable 2005 Ashes victory over Ponting’s Australia, the visit gave him the opportunity to see London Stadium in football mode for the first time.
Newcastle United supporter Swann, rated England’s best spin bowler of all-time, expressed a hope that the Magpies would be promoted and visit next season, while AFL fan Ponting was grateful for the opportunity to attend his first live Premier League match.
“As a Sheffield Wednesday fan, I like West Ham, for obvious reasons!” he smiled. “I’m actually on a scouting mission, because as long as you lot stay up, we’ll be coming here next year!
“I have to say, I was here for the Olympics [in 2012] and it’s an amazing venue. What they’ve done with Stratford and around this area of London is quite remarkable.
“I’m here to watch some good football and especially Dimitri Payet, who reminds me of a good Sheffield Wednesday man Chris Waddle, who lit up Hillsborough on many occasions. It looks like Payet does exactly the same here at West Ham.”
I have to say, I was here for the Olympics [in 2012] and it’s an amazing venue. What they’ve done with Stratford and around this area of London is quite remarkable
For a big football fan like Vaughan, the chance to see a Premier League match on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was one he could not pass up.
“We’re at BT – myself, Graeme, Ricky and the presenter Greg James, but he’s gone to bed – but Kevin Pietersen has got the good gig as he’s down in Australia in the 35-degree heat.
“To be honest, it’s great to be able to finish work and just nip over the road and watch a bit of football, it’s almost like the perfect dream.”
Vaughan joined Essex Cricket counterpart James Foster in backing calls for cricket to be played at West Ham’s new home during the summer months.
“If you want to broaden the horizon of support for cricket, there are so many pieces of technology now that mean you can drop pitches in,” he confirmed.
“I was in the US recently and we dropped pitches into baseball stadia in New York, Houston and Los Angeles and it worked, and I can certainly see it working at London Stadium. It would be a great venue for Twenty20 cricket.
“What cricket has got to do is rip up the textbook, because it doesn’t really matter where you play. If you promoted and marketed it properly that Essex or England were going to play T20 here, then you’d sell it out. It’s absolutely perfect for cricket.”