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How Have Football Clubs Fared Since Moving to their New Stadiums?

The question of moving into a new stadium is something that all football clubs' owners will ask themselves at one stage of their career. How well the news is received is always an important factor that must be considered, but ultimately owners get the big wages for making the most significant decisions. Clubs ultimately get to a stage where the possibility of a new stadium could entice new players to join and increase the quality of the team, whereas a bigger arena would undoubtedly bring in more fans. It's a simple method that has been followed throughout football, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee a bright future.

The recent arrival of Tottenham Hotspur in their new ground has raised the question whether instant success will come with their brand new, state-of-the-art ground, and the same issue will be asked by Inter and AC Milan fans once they have moved out from the San Siro. The history of the club remains but the loss of the stadium which fans have been able to call home means that the history becomes cloudier. But, if instant success comes, then that is the quickest way to get the doubters behind the move. These are just some of the clubs that have endured contrasting fortunes.

The Woes of West Ham United at the London Stadium

Upton Park was the famous home of West Ham United from 1904 to 2016, and the traditional old stadium became synonymous with the club due to its location in the heart of East London. There had been countless legends down the years that were able to call this stadium their home. Players such as Bobby Moore, Trevor Brooking and Paolo Di Canio were only some of the examples who loved playing at the ground. The entire history of the club surrounded this stadium and the atmosphere that was built up on memorable evenings at Upton Park was second to none in the country. All the emotions of fans were pouring out in their final evening at the ground, as there wasn't a dry eye in the house following their victory over Manchester United. West Ham are currently 5/6 with most bookmakers to finish in the top half of the table. Coupled with the fact most bookmakers are offering new customer bonus codes on various websites such as, it could be good a value bet.

From a board's perspective, the move for the club was a necessary one for them to achieve more things both on the pitch and off of it in terms of income. However, a club like West Ham who have passionate support were quick to show their disdain in the reasoning behind the move and the first year at the new stadium created a host of problems. The Hammers competed with Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient for the rights to call the Olympic Stadium home. Unlike City's Etihad; this tag of another sporting event overshadowing the football has never disappeared. Situated in the heart of a shopping centre also didn't please fans. Supporters have voiced concerns about everything since the move in 2016. They have expressed frustrations about being far away from the pitch due to the running track, as well as toilet and tea facilities. The situation reached boiling point in a 3-0 defeat against Burnley in 2018 when fans pitch invaded in protest. The not-fit-for-football sentiment was echoed by former boss Slaven Bilic who said: "It's a great stadium, but it will never have that football feeling."

There have been countless other protests since then in fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton, which just highlights that a brand-new stadium doesn't always guarantee a bright a future on the field.

Manchester City's Rise at the Etihad

While the Citizens are global powerhouses these days, there are still fans of the club that miss the good old days when Maine Road was their home. The stadium played host to City for 80 years between 1923 and 2003. The stadium saw City rise through the divisions and had an atmosphere for fans unlike any other. The last season at the stadium was the 2002-03 campaign when City finished ninth in the top flight, but most importantly removed their tag as a yo-yo club.

It was a mixture of fortune and good luck that the opportunity arose to move into the custom-built City of Manchester Stadium in 2003. The stadium was initially built for the Commonwealth Games, but unlike other sporting stadiums that have changed hands; this purely resonates for footballing reasons now. The move to the new stadium coupled with the financial takeover in 2008 has seen a change in fortunes, unlike anything else. No longer is the threat of relegation a concern. Instead, City are competing at the top end of the league and in the latter part of the competitions. It was rebranded as the Etihad in 2011 due to a sponsorship deal, and the stadium would have been a driving force behind Sheikh Mansour opting for City as opposed to clubs such as Leeds United and Newcastle United. The foundations that the stadium gave the club enabled them to invest in the squad that has gone onto claim four Premier League titles, as well as winning the club the first-ever domestic treble. Such is their dominance at the Etihad that City enter any game at home as the overwhelming favourites with bookmakers. Not surprisingly, Manchester City are favourites to win the Premier League in the 2019 / 2020 season for a third time in a row.

Arsenal Since Moving to the Emirates

Highbury has been the home to the Gunners between 1913 and 2006, but the decision to move out of the stadium was due to pressing concerns that the club had to roll with the times. Highbury oversaw the dominant era of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal during the nineties and early 2000s, but ironically construction began on the new stadium in the invincible 2003/04 season; which remains the last time that the club won the Premier League title. The move to the Emirates wasn't expected to affect the performance of the team, but the price of £390 million to build the stadium is something that fans' now blame on the diminishing chances that the Gunners have with bookmakers of winning the most significant honours.

The first game played at the Emirates came in 2006, and since then the Gunners have been unable to compete with the Premier League's best due to the financial constraints that the club have because of the construction for the new stadium. Although they were able to qualify for the Champions League consistently; before too long this wasn't enough to keep the fans off the managers back. The stadium has also been criticised for its lack of atmosphere, with only 6% of fans stating that they believed the atmosphere in regards to volume and support for the Gunners was 'good'. This is a contrast to the atmosphere at Highbury; with fans' often making it a hostile environment for teams to visit.

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