Long-awaited claret pitch surround installed at London Stadium
West Ham have finally installed their long-awaited claret pitch surround at the London Stadium.
The Hammers lifted the curtain on their new carpet to Press Association Sport on Wednesday ahead of its official unveiling at this weekend’s match against Leicester.
👀 The claret carpet has finally arrived #WHUFC#COYIpic.twitter.com/VyCKAL8YMo— Andy Sims (@AndyCSims) April 17, 2019
The colour of the surround, which covers the athletics track, was at the centre of a lengthy dispute between the club and their landlords, the London Legacy Development Corporation.
LLDC maintained it should remain a neutral colour, green, but West Ham, who moved into the former Olympic Stadium in 2016, said that was at odds with their primary use of the ground and wanted a carpet in Hammers colours complete with club crest.
Former manager Slaven Bilic even felt the green was detrimental to their performances, claiming his players could not determine where the pitch ended and the carpet began.
There were also instances of players, notably Manchester United defender Phil Jones, tripping over the old surround.
First look at West Ham's new claret carpet surrounding the London Stadium pitch #WHUFC#COYI#WIPEYOURFEETpic.twitter.com/mg0bKj6m5m— Andy Sims (@AndyCSims) April 17, 2019
In November a costly court case between the two parties was avoided with an 11th-hour agreement and a pledge to install the club-branded claret carpet, at an estimated cost of around £250,000, was one part of the deal.
Current boss Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping for an instant impact against Leicester with his side having lost their last three matches.
Captain Mark Noble said: “London Stadium has certainly begun to feel more and more like home this season now that we are fully established.
“This will only enhance that feeling for both the players and our supporters, that this is the home of West Ham United.”
West Ham plan to turn the stadium into a sea of claret and blue on Saturday, with a crowd-surfing banner and pyro display greeting the players.
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