Buoyant Hammers fans continue the feelgood factor

Posted by Peter Thorne

Olympic Stadium could mark the start of a new era for West HamGettyImagesWest Ham's Olympic Stadium: Build it and they will come

Amidst the inevitable clamour over the capture of £16 million Andy Carroll, it's not surprising that a significant statistic from last season has quietly passed by all but the most regular Hammers supporter.

For the 2012/13 season brought West Ham the highest average home league attendance in the club's 118-year history. This for a ground capacity of a little over 35,000, where 17 consecutive games were sold out, is little short of remarkable bearing in mind some of the faithful weren't always convinced by the quality of football being played.

This statistic reveals what many have always suspected though; West Ham have a solid core of support who will follow the claret and blue regardless - during several stints in the Championship, West Ham have always lead the way in attendances - and a growing sub-strata of fans who ask only a small level of success to convince them to spend their time at the Boleyn a few times every month. There are many more waiting for the option to be able to buy tickets on a match-day basis.

As my old Granddad used to proudly proclaim: "I've followed that club through thin and thin." It seems that following generations are happy to do likewise. With season tickets doing a brisk trade and the club claiming to have over 1 million names on their database, it puts into perspective the joint-chairmen's vision for the Olympic Park venue. Make no mistake, the signing of Carroll is a significant marker towards moving into Stratford for David's Gold and Sullivan, who are acutely aware that a significant capture is likely to make other possible targets look more favourably at making the east end their new home.

With Karren Brady adopting the Kevin Costner 'Field of Dreams' role in proclaiming 'Build it and they will come' there is now a substantial effort in trying to capture the mood, enthusiasm and general goodwill that the club seem to have garnered over the past year or so. In fact, in a post-London2012 way envisaged hopefully by Sebastian Coe prior to the Olympics, there still seems to be a buoyancy and lingering elation from last year's stunning success story in the area past the Bow Flyover and the owner's can surely barely believe the crest of the wave they appear to be riding currently.

Considering West Ham's recent history isn't littered with success stories and the club have found an unerring way of shooting itself in the foot over the years, this is a golden - and all too rare - opportunity for the triumvirate, who seem to have earned a begrudging respect from even the most wary of supporters, and we can only hope it isn't yet another false dawn.

For West Ham United is not a club founded on league success or European adventures, it’s a club where the fanaticism and passion of the fans is paramount and the expectation of at least a modicum of good football is taken as a given.

We trust that whatever has been added to the water in the east end continues to flow for a few more years yet.

To keep up to date with the progress at the new stadium, see here at: http://www.olympicstadium.whufc.com/

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