West Ham have received an increased allocation for their Europa Conference League final, but it’s still not good enough.
Hammers fans soon get to experience something they never would have dreamed of, a major European final. It’s a massive achievement for the club and that just makes it all the more disappointing that the majority of loyal fans won’t get to go to the game.
Originally, both sides were allocated just 4,890 seats in Prague but this has recently been increased by UEFA to 5,780. However, this is still a ridiculously small amount considering the size of both West Ham and Fiorentina. The fact that a European final is being hosted in a 20,000 seater stadium (that’s almost half the size of Upton Park) is nothing short of scandalous.
What makes it even worse is that nearly half the seats are not going directly to fans of either side. When you look at the size of some of the clubs that went into the competition over the past two seasons, it’s just an absolutely baffling decision to have it hosted in such a small stadium and it has left many fans distraught that they will have to miss the historic match.
Now, obviously there is always the option of buying a ticket from a reseller. The normal tickets are between £25 and £125 so how much would it cost you to buy one from a third party? Nine thousand pounds. The cost of seeing our beloved West Ham, if you don’t have the top amount of points or an insane amount of luck, is up to £9000.
Now while it’s upsetting to many that they won’t be able to see their team in the final, and with it looking likely the club won’t shell out the money for a fan zone at the London Stadium, it’s important to look at the situation from another angle. Fiorentina are a side that have a lot more experience in Europe than us whereas for the majority of our players, it’s their first time playing in a European final. A smaller ground could work in our favour by taking away a bit of that intimidation factor.
On top of being potentially less hostile, we’ve got two ex Slavia Prague players in Coufal and Soucek so, in a roundabout way, that could give us some form of home advantage as it’s a stadium they’re going to be comfortable playing in. It may sound like a stretch but, when it comes to finals, any of these little things can give that mental edge.
Wherever you’re supporting from, whether you’re lucky enough to get a ticket or if you’re going to be watching from home, your presence will be felt. It’s the biggest game in most of our lives, we will all be right behind the boys and I’m sure they’re just as ready as we are. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity as a West Ham fan, savour it and enjoy it.
By Charlie Bass