The Boxing Day debate: How do West Ham fans feel about sacrificing great tradition?

General view outside the stadium before the match

West Ham United fans have had to accept a number of concessions since leaving their beloved Boleyn Ground for the Olympic Stadium.

General view outside the stadium before the matchGeneral view outside the stadium before a match

The Hammers will have to play their first three games of next season away from their new home due to the World Athletic Championships taking place there, as confirmed by the release of the 2017/18 fixtures this week.

The IAAF competition, which runs between August 4th and 13th, means West Ham could not play at home on the opening day regardless and require special dispensation from the Premier League to be granted an away fixture.

But then the much-criticised retractable seating at the 66,000 seater ground - which will costs an eye-watering £8 million each time it is done - will have to be reconfigured again for football mode, a process which takes around 15 days.

While that could put the Hammers under pressure from the get go next season with a daunting trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United first up, it is perhaps not the biggest bug bear fans have about the fixture list.

That's because Wednesday's fixture announcement also seemed to confirm internet rumours which have abound since the East Londoners moved to the Stratford ground; that a secret deal has been struck with Westfield Shopping Centre to always play away from home on Boxing Day.

The agreement to avoid crowd chaos with 60,000 fans converging on an area awash with Boxing Day sale hunting shoppers was reported by well-placed Hammers fans site Claret & Hugh previously.

West Ham's Olympic Stadium v DomizaleWest Ham's Olympic Stadium, officially known as the London Stadium

In their debut season at the London Stadium West Ham travelled to Swansea City, producing one of their most clinical performances of the season as they won 4-1.

Next season the club will make the trip to Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

And if the agreement with Westfield - which has not been made public or confirmed by the club - is true then the Hammers have sacrificed one of the great traditions of English football.

The Boxing Day fixture is one of the first fans look to when the fixtures are released.

West Ham fansWest Ham fans

But for West Ham fans it looks like that will always be a trip away from home, meaning a lot more travelling and less West Ham fans being physically able to enjoy Boxing Day football.

Many fans may not care a jot. But it is a shame particularly for supporters with children as it is a real family occasion.

It also acts as a permanent reminder that West Ham are not in complete control when it comes to their new home with their authority over the stadium limited as anchor tenants rather than owners.

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