The pre-match rendition of ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ and noise from the crowd could not lift the home side despite the fans continuing to sing their support throughout the match. The London Stadium has found its voice in this competition and it sends the hairs on the back of your neck tingling as the crowd stood throughout the match to cheer, chant and sing West Ham on, urging the team to find a goal.
The party atmosphere continued from Thursdays incredible away win at Lyon to secure a historic Europa League semi final with Frankfurt and with the summer sun beating down on the London Stadium fans were hoping for more of the same against managerless Burnley, who are struggling for Premier League survival.
Players and the club showed their support for their Ukrainian team mate Andriy Yarmolenko, whose family and community have been so deeply affected by the ongoing devastating military attacks and Russian invasion of their homeland. The team wore blue tops during the pre match warm up and club captain, Declan Rice, held up a West Ham shirt with Yarmolenko’s name and number on it as players lined up before the start of the match.
I have some of my recent photos of West Ham United home games at the London Stadium featured in November edition of Blowing Bubbles fanzine. If you would like a copy of the magazine go to: https://blowing-bubbles.co.uk/subscribe/
Do we need to get used to winning? For many years it seems we craved the idea of winning regularly and assumed we would, those bubbles flying so high only to fade and die on us time and again.
After last season this is our new normal – winning games we would have previously lost or struggled to hold on for a draw. The fight in the team is clear and stand out players for me were Johnson who is impressing in defence with pace and desire and confidence to go forward and Areola who I felt did an excellent job in goal and was quick off his line too.
It was an emotional return to the London Stadium as I have not seen my brother for quite some time and it was wonderful to see him. It was also great to see so many familiar faces – few faces I did not recognise from the final game before the lockdown last year. The hairs on the back of my neck raised as we heard the crowd singing and immersed ourselves in the bustle before the game. So glad to be back.
Rice’s display was once again a major plus, the 19-year-old showing composure in a defensive midfield role as he adds another string to his bow after showing his talent as a central defender.
Almost 2 years ago at the London Stadium the Hammers looked on course for a win after Lucas Perez, a 78th minute replacement for Arnautovic, had turned in a rebound after fellow substitute Pedro Obiang had hit the post in the 82nd minute.
What will surely stay in the memory is Declan’s performance just a couple of days before his 20th birthday that showed why he has a great future in front of him after scoring his first Premier League goal during a series of impressive performances.