Away Days with HTSA
West Ham United - Monday, 11th September 2017
Stadium: London Stadium (66,000), Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, E20 2ST
Nearest station: Stratford/Stratford International/Hackney Wick
Nearest tube station: Stratford (Jubilee and Central lines)
Ticket office: 0333 030 1966
SLO: Jake Heath (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DLO: Julie Pidgeon (email@example.com)
Interview with David Blackmore, Blowing Bubbles Editor
1. What are your thoughts about last season?
I think May summed up our season. The high of beating Spurs followed by the embarrassing low of being hammered by Liverpool and then, with a squad decimated with injuries, secured a gutsy away win against Burnley on the final day of the season at Turf Moor, a place not many teams left with all three points last season. It was a massive rollercoaster ride. I'd even go as far as to suggest 11th place really flattered us last season. Yes, we topped the table of losing points from winning positions (22) and had we converted just half of these points, we would have been pushing for Europe again, but there were plenty of really poor performances last season that didn't deserve a mid-table finish. The move to the new stadium didn't help—neither did the troubles off the pitch or injuries. The injuries in particular were a huge worry. It's not the first season our squad has been hugely impacted by injuries. Do we train too hard? Not hard enough?
2. And your expectations for this season?
Assuming we don't have the same number of injuries as last season, I hope we can start to find a bit more consistency. We've got a pretty tough run-in but January and February look like the two months where we could go on a good run and accumulate a fair few points and hopefully see us comfortably in the top half of the table. Anywhere from 10th upwards is a step in the right direction—and a good cup run would go down nicely too.
3. Who’s your key player?
Manuel Lanzini. He really was our standout performer last season and filled the void left by Dimitri Payet. He has such great feet and vision - the only trouble sometimes is that he sees things that our players don't! Michail Antonio is another great player. Quick, awkward to mark and tackle, and just has this ability to force his way past defenders.
4. What do you think about Huddersfield Town?
From what I saw last season, I was impressed. It looks like you've got a good core of players who like to express themselves in the right way. It'll be interesting to see how many players you sign. Will you go for depth or quality? Will the core of the team that got you promoted by torn apart or will it be complimented with Premier League quality players? I'm looking forward to visiting your ground this season. I've never been.
5. The Boleyn Ground or the London Stadium?
The Boleyn Ground is irreplaceable but the London Stadium offers so much hope. From a football ground perspective, the Boleyn was the clear winner as it was tight and you felt on top of the action but the transport to the ground was terrible and the facilities inside weren't great. The London Stadium offers a fantastic footballing experience from travel through to pint before the game - the only trouble is the running track around the pitch! Will it ever be changed? Not in my lifetime. Still the sound of 50,000+ West Ham fans singing bubbles gave me goosebumps all season. When the players were playing well, the atmosphere was electric at our new home - long may that continue.