Yesterday was not just the official opening of the new Stadium but also DergHammer Supporters Club first experience of the ground and its environs. For sure, it's sad to leave Upton Park but for accessibility and overall experience, the new ground has a lot to offer the international fan. Check out our day:
5.15AM: Up and a quick shower then into the car bound for Shannon airport.
6.25AM: Arrive at Shannon for the 7:05 red eye to Stansted.
8.15AM: Touch down in Stansted. We catch a coffee and jump on one of the many buses heading on a 40 minute journey to Stratford.
9.30AM: Arrive in Stratford. Breakfast and then we head for a look at the stadium. It's been nicely Hammerified with gigantic pics of our heroes and there are loads of good photo opportunities.
10.30AM: We head to the Olympic Aquatic Centre for a nice morning swim to clear the cobwebs and relieve any pre-match tension.
11.30AM: Meet with friends and then do a Jamie (Oliver). Decent nosh and reasonable price too. It's pretty clear that Stratford has embraced the reality that West Ham are here to stay and it seems that fans are welcome everywhere. One suspects that the pubs will become more Hammers-friendly pretty quickly.
12.15PM: We head for the stadium. Great atmosphere and endless positivity. In we go...
12.30PM: Nice opening ceremony with tributes to Bobby and Uncle Trev. Lots of fireworks.
1.00PM: We're off. The view is decent. The atmosphere is good but not quite Boleynesque. Maybe that needs time. We go two down but then Andy C pops up with two great headers and it's even steven.
2.43PM: Payet enters the fray.......YESSSSSSSS! We concede a late goal to an excellent Simone Zaza strike. Poor Reece Oxford had a learning moment!
3.00PM: It's time to leave. The club shop is jammers so we head for Pigbelly's coffee house. There's a chick playing Radiohead songs on an acoustic guitar.
4.15PM: Back to the shop which is very manageable now. Jerseys etc and we are ready to depart.
5.15PM: Bus back to Stansted for the 19:50 flight.....loadsa time to grab some grub in the surprisingly excellent Leons.
10.05PM: Home!....and a celebratory beer.
There can be no doubting that the Olympic Stadium opens up matchday adventures for a much greater circle of fans - including anybody living near an airport that has connections with Stansted.
We had a marvellous day that was made possible by the convenience and accessibility of the new stadium....Thankyou Mr Gold and Mr Sullivan.....but still and all, there's a part of us that misses UP.