West Ham have ‘benefited MASSIVELY’ from no fans in stadiums this season, talkSPORT told February 16, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer
The secret to West Ham’s success this season? The coronavirus ban on fans in stadiums, according to talkSPORT pundits and even some Hammers supporters.
There were some happy Hammers on Monday night after watching their side beat Sheffield United 3-0 to climb to fourth place in the Premier League.
Sure, Chelsea then knocked them down to fifth with a win over Newcastle, but only on goal difference. The London rivals are currently tied on 42 points, and sit just four points below second-place Manchester United.
David Moyes and even the club’s disliked board have earned praise for turning it around at the London Stadium, with the club now boasting more wins than defending champions Liverpool this season!
But it was pointed out that the Hammers have had one major advantage this term, and they’ve certainly made the most of it – playing behind closed doors.
West Ham’s home matches have often been marred by protests against David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady, as well as complaints over poor performances.
And, as Perry Groves said on The Sports Bar on Monday night, ‘no atmosphere is better than a toxic one’.
“We all agree, football is nowhere near the same without fans in the stadium,” said the former Arsenal man. “If one thing has been proven by all this, it’s that the game is all about the fans.
“I think Spurs have had a result with fans not being there, because that could have been very toxic between the fans, Jose Mourinho and the players with some of their home performance.
“With West Ham, I’ve been at the London Stadium where if you’ve had a bad half or a bad game and it can turn pretty easily.
“Sometimes no atmosphere is better than a toxic atmosphere.
“So I think David Moyes had been allowed to go about his business quite quietly, and West Ham have improved gradually.”
Even West Ham fan and talkSPORT reporter Ian ‘The Moose’ Abraham agrees.
Our resident Hammer knows more than most how toxic it can get in Stratford, and he admits Moyes’ side have been given a major boost without fans.
However, he believes they would actually BE a major boost to the team if they were allowed back into the London Stadium right now, as they would get behind the in-form side!
“If I’m being honest and without being horrible, I think one of the biggest factors in West Ham’s success this season has actually been the fact there’s been nobody there to watch them,” he said on the talkSPORT Breakfast.
“Because it means there’s been nobody there to moan about them!
“West Ham fans in the past have been perhaps amongst the fiercest critics when it comes to supporting a team, and I actually genuinely believe that West Ham have benefited this year from playing behind closed doors and not playing in a negative atmosphere.
“Yes, the fans could now be in a position to help the team and push them forward to perhaps get fourth or fifth, but I also think West Ham’s team have benefitted this season from the fact they haven’t had that real negatively against the board in the stadium.”
And Sam the Hammer said the same, telling the Sports Bar the team has been able to ‘push on’ without the pressure of 60,000 supporters on their backs.
“Early on in the season, especially after the Newcastle defeat [a 2-0 loss at home] if fans had been in the ground after that I could only see it going one way.
“Without fans I think they’ve got the pressure off them. When 60,000 fans are all on your back, it must have a factor on the players.
“I think without fans they’ve been able to push on.
“However, now if you had fans I think they’d be able to push on a little bit more and get top four, because we’re playing well!”