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Slaven Bilic criticises West Ham’s decision to leave Upton Park ahead of FA Cup clash

(Photo by Jacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

West Ham United

Slaven Bilic criticises West Ham’s decision to leave Upton Park ahead of FA Cup clash

The former Hammers boss is preparing to face his old club as West Brom manager.

Former West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was in charge of the club when they left Upton Park and moved to the London Stadium.

And as he prepares to return to his old club in the FA Cup with West Brom, he has told the Daily Telegraph that it was a mistake.

He said: “It’s not an excuse but if you ask me what was it better to play at Upton Park or not then there’s no discussion. It was more home, it was more hostile. Not one opposition player enjoyed it when they had to go to Upton Park. That’s a fact. The Olympic Stadium is very different for an away team. You enjoy it more.

 

“Wenger said: ‘We left our soul [at Highbury].’ And it’s true. Atletico Madrid – their new stadium is too nice. Upton Park made you [roll up your sleeves]. Highbury made you, the old Atletico stadium made you. Everything is on top of you; everything is close. You have those memories. This is what we did there and there. It’s different.”

(Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

TBR’s View – Bilic as qualified as anyone to talk about the new stadium struggles

West Ham fans preferred Upton Park to the London Stadium and that move has seen the club fail to go to the next level, instead finding themselves mired in another relegation battle.

Bilic is uniquely qualified to talk about the difference between the two; having overseen an impressive final season at Upton Park before struggling to deal with the move to the new stadium.

He will be looking to upset his old club at the weekend, in a game that might perhaps see both sides make changes; with survival and Premier League promotion their respective priorities.

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