West Ham United vs. Swansea City
It was beautiful spring afternoon in London Stadium for my first Premier League game. I’ve been to many soccer games from the MLS’s Sounders and Real Salt Lake to college and high school games, but this was a bucket list item. Though the two teams weren’t close to being at the top of the table, the points they earned during the match would be valuable to avoid relegation. Though, still not my favorite sport to watch, I can appreciate the great game, especially the history. West Ham just moved into London Stadium this year from their long term home of Boleyn Ground. Fortunately, the team brought most of their traditions to their new home though the supports say the atmosphere at the 60,000+ person stadium, host of the 2012 Olympics, isn’t quite the same. Originally est. in 1895 as the Thames Iron Workers, the club affectionately goes by the nicknames the Irons or Hammers. The popular hashtag for the team’s social media posts is #COYI, which means, “Come On You Irons.” The shouts of the saying can be heard often during the game. It must be said that the game was one the most vulgar experiences that I’ve been to and I wouldn’t recommend for those with sensitive ears. The crowds for the matches can be so raucous that it is standard for the Premier League to not allow alcohol in the seats, though you can have a pint or two in the concourse before the match, and the visiting fans face a separate entrance. There were some pretty awesome moments including a goal in the 44’ minute that ignited the crowd in the team song “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” which has a long history dating back to late 1920’s. Watch this video below to get the full-effect and see the teams old stadium. The score remained 1-0 for the remainder of the game and all the Hammers went home content for the day.