Ray Houghton believes West Ham United’s will always be hindered as long as they play their home games at the London Stadium.
Defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday means the Hammers have made their worst start to a Premier League season since 2010 – the year they went down with 20 points under Avram Grant.
With four games played, 10 goals conceded and zero points on the board, the heat is on new boss Manuel Pellegrini already.
During their final season at Upton Park, the West Ham faithful were treated to free-flowing football, a good FA Cup run and a total of 83 goals.
John Motson claimed the club has ‘a cloud hanging over it’ – something former Liverpool star Hougton begrudgingly concurred.
“I’m not blaming the stadium for the defeat, but it doesn’t enhance the day,” he told Adrian Durham whilst covering Cardiff City v Arsenal.
“I mean the atmosphere isn’t like what the atmosphere is here (Cardiff) today. It’s absolutely brilliant – why? Because the fans are right on top of the pitch.
“The players can hear them; you can physically touch them. Whereas at West Ham, I’ve done a couple of games and you are up in the Gods!
“You’re so far away from the pitch, you’re so far removed you don’t feel like you’re at a football game. I feel like I’m at an athletics meeting seriously, that’s how I see it.
“I played at the old Upton Park by the Chicken Run and I used to the West Ham players would come out and terrify the opposition.
“There’s no fear factor about playing at the London Stadium – it’s not a football stadium at all.”
For Pellegrini, spending over £100million in the summer transfer window has merited little reward thus far, with the new singings failing to gel.
And with tough league fixtures against Everton, Manchester United and Chelsea to come next, there is a distinct possibility the club will be without a point from their opening seven games.
Upton Park was destroyed during filming for the new Pierce Brosnan movie, and Houghton predicts there could be more damage in the future for the east Londoners.
He added: “They was always brought up in close proximity to the pitch with the fans right on top of you, spurring you on and you had that feeling they were part of you.
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“They don’t get that now.
“I’ve got West Ham mates and one of them was round my house yesterday and said there was 57,000 there, but you wouldn’t think that.
“They’re not near enough to influence the players or get onto them or back them or whatever to get that sound across to them.”