Etherington - It's time to embrace London Stadium



Matty Etherington says it is time for everyone connected with West Ham United to ‘get behind and embrace’ the Club’s move to London Stadium.

West Ham’s opening few weeks at their new home have not gone as smoothly as one would have hoped, both on and off the pitch, but the 2004 Hammer of the Year says this is no time for players, staff and supporters to look backwards and feel sorry for themselves.

Instead Etherington, who visited for the first time on Saturday in his role as a radio commentator, says everybody in Claret and Blue should relish the opportunities presented by their summer switch to Stratford.

“It looks outstanding,” he told West Ham TV. “I have been out pitchside and walked around the place and everything looks really impressive.

“I would have loved to have played in front of nearly 60,000 fans, like the lads are doing here at London Stadium. It was a wrench to leave Upton Park, of course, but it must be unbelievable to play on that pitch and I just wish I was ten years younger and was doing it myself!

“Now, all we need is some home wins. The team needs to give the crowd something to cheer about now by performing well and getting some results on the pitch. Hopefully those will come soon as this is our ground now and we need to start getting those results.”

Like many others in the game, the former left winger says the increased attendance and associated benefits of moving to a stadium with a potential capacity of 66,000 mean West Ham’s future should be bright on the pitch, in the stands and throughout the Club.

“Without a doubt, this move can help West Ham move to the next level in the long term. As I said, as much as it was a wrench to leave for the players and everyone connected with the Club to move away from the Boleyn, it’s time to get behind this stadium now and embrace it.

“It is a fantastic stadium and when it’s full and the team are playing well and winning, it will be rocking, I’m sure.

“Like I said, the players need to put in the performances for the fans to cheer about and, when they do that, it will be absolutely fine and onwards and upwards for the football club.”

“Nobes and Ginge have both said it is amazing and second-to-none, but both of them just want the results to pick up and I’m sure that will come.”

It is a fantastic stadium and when it’s full and the team are playing well and winning, it will be rocking, I’m sure
Matty Etherington

On the pitch, Etherington commentated on a 1-1 Premier League draw with Middlesbrough, a result that ended a run of four straight defeats.

While West Ham did not win, the impressive goal scored by Dimitri Payet and the potential returns of key players from injury after the international break are further reasons for optimism.

“It has surprised me that we haven’t started better, but it didn’t help that Dimitri Payet came back a bit late after the Euros, and the record signing Andre Ayew has had an injury as well, as have Lanzini, Cresswell and Carroll,” he observed.

“They’re key players for this side, so once they’re back and firing, I’m sure this Club will be absolutely fine because it’s a great Club with some fantastic players.

“One win and a good performance are key, as barring the first 40 minutes against Watford, I’m sure the lads would admit they haven’t performed to the best of their abilities. The next game is an opportunity to put things right, and I’m confident they will do that.”