Former West Ham manager voices concern about Olympic Stadium move

Alan Pardew says the club will have to manage the relocation carefully to ensure they retain the Upton Park atmosphere.

Former West Ham United manager Alan Pardew has admitted to BT Sport that he is concerned that the club will lose their matchday atmosphere when they move to the Olympic Stadium, but hailed owners David Gold and David Sullivan for bringing success this season.

The Hammers will leave Upton Park after 112 years in the traditional old ground to move into the new 60,000-seater stadium from the start of next season.

The club beat out competition from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur to secure the relocation in another sign of their increasing ambition in recent times.

The appointment of Slaven Bilic and big and astute spending in the summer transfer market has seen the Irons enjoy their most successful season in recent memory, and they currently sit just a point off a place in the top four.

That has raised the very serious possibility of the club hosting Champions League football in their first season at the Olympic Stadium.

Although Pardew, who managed West Ham from 2003 to 2006, is impressed with what has been achieved, he has warned that there is a real possibility of losing the renowned Upton Park atmosphere.

The 54-year-old, who takes his Crystal Palace side to his former club's current home on Saturday, told BT Sport: "I think that's something when you move to new stadiums that you're always slightly wary of. Moving to a new ground brings its own pressure. It's going to be a much bigger arena. The sound, will it travel? 

"It will be interesting, but it's a great opportunity to take the club forward. You have to take your hat off to the owners. They've handled it so well and strengthened very wisely to cope with that.

"Now they've gained momentum and find themselves in a position where they could get Champions League football at their new stadium. Wow! That would be some achievement."

It has certainly been some improvement from West Ham this season for a club which has only finished in the top half of the Premier League table three times in the last 13 years.

As Pardew suggests, a first-ever qualification for the Champions League would be a tremendous coup for the club in its inaugural season in the Olympic Stadium.

The Hammers are just a point behind Manchester City as domestic action returns this weekend, and can move into the top four if they beat Palace at home and other results go their way.

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