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West Ham’s Tony Cottee: Our new stadium has the wow factor

PUBLISHED: 13:31 10 August 2016

West Ham legend Tony Cottee

West Ham legend Tony Cottee

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Our West Ham correspondent Tony Cottee looks forward to the new Premier League season

West Ham fans descend on the Olympic Stadium in Stratford for their first home gameWest Ham fans descend on the Olympic Stadium in Stratford for their first home game

I am already a veteran of the new London Stadium – I have made the trip four times now including the two games last week and I have to say it has the wow factor!

For me it is a fantastic stadium and when you go inside it is like going out for a cup final at Wembley or the Millennium Stadium.

Of course there are going to be teething problems and everyone must work out the best way to get there and to get out again, but I think we must be patient.

We have to accept that we are not going to be three yards from the pitch, but I think the atmosphere reverberated around the ground superbly when the crowd were singing and I don’t think it will be long before we call it home.

West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate celebrates scoring his side's second goal against NK Domzale (pic: John Walton/PA)West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate celebrates scoring his side's second goal against NK Domzale (pic: John Walton/PA)

And so to the new season. Injuries to Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini are a big blow, but some of the new signings that have come in are decent ones.

Sofiane Feghouli looks to be the stand-out one for me so far, though I think Andre Ayew is a good player and will also add something to the team.

We are still in Europe and, though others may say different, I think this is a good and important thing.

I don’t understand teams who don’t take it seriously, having worked so hard to get there and I think the more experience we can get in the Europa League, the better it will be if we achieve our ambition of reaching the Champions League.

Signage welcoming fans to their new home during the Betway Cup match at London Stadium.Signage welcoming fans to their new home during the Betway Cup match at London Stadium.

As to the league, I always say you look to improve on last year and if we can make it into the top six that would be a magnificent finish.

It will not easy. Away teams are going to come to our new stadium and maybe raise their game, while I expect better things from the likes of Chelsea and Everton this season.

Playing Chelsea on Monday night will be a tough game. They have a new manager and have spent a lot of cash on players like N’Golo Kante which will improve them.

But remember what happened at the start of last season. Nobody gave us a chance at Arsenal, but we played them off the park.

I am really excited about the new season. I think it is as wide open as it has ever been.

I tipped Chelsea to win it last season which shows how much I know, but this time I think Jose Mourinho’s 
experience will shade it for Manchester United over City.

But after last season, everyone should be dreaming they can do what Leicester City did. Who knows?

COYI!

Don’t forget to check out our interactive West Ham timeline, telling the story from the Boleyn to the Olympic Stadium.

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