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West Ham checks are done and we’re ready to roll after 105 days without football… and that includes Hawk-Eye

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IT has been 105 days since West Ham last played a football match.

In those missing 151,200 minutes, a staggering amount of changes have taken place — both on and off the football pitch.

West Ham are gearing up for football to return to the London Stadium

All our lives have been altered one way or another and, in football, there have also been plenty of changes.

From the practical changes that have happened at training grounds to make them safe, to physically travelling to home and away games.

Usual routines have gone out of the window and in their place extra coaches, planes and travel prec­autions have been introduced.

Forget remembering your lucky underpants, you now can’t forget your face masks, hand sanitiser and gloves!

We will also have nine players on the bench, five subs allowed on for the rest of the season, social distancing and no spitting.

But the biggest change by far is the missing supporters. It is, after all, all their hopes and dreams that we live for.

Watching the games on TV on Wednesday night, it is clear we need them back — and quickly.

I for one am lobbying hard for that.

Socially distanced, in face masks and with health passports if necessary.

But whatever happens, they have to be there.

Reuters

West Ham exec Karren Brady is keen for fans to return to football as soon as possible[/caption]

They are what football is all about, they provide our purpose because as they say, life is not just about staying alive, but finding something to live for.

And they are the motivation, the support mechanism and the respect everyone wants. And without them we are nothing.

I went to the stadium this week to check everything was ready and to speak to my ops team.

Other than the odd walk in the park or cycle ride, it was the first time I have literally had to go anywhere.

I asked if Hawk-Eye had been tested and was working after the debacle on Wednesday night when Sheffield United scored a clear-cut goal.

Not only did Hawk-Eye technology miss it, but so did the referee, the linesman and VAR. And to think they say points are always earned and never given . . .

Anyway, I’m pleased to report that it does work.

In fact, everything works, everything is ready, everything is prepared.

It will be a surreal experience today being one of just 300 people at the game when we play Wolves.

I am told by a Premier League colleague it is a far better experience watching games on TV, with the crowd noise switched on, than sitting in an empty, echoey stadium.

I will let you know next week!

Today I will drive to the game, complete a short health screening questionnaire — questions such as ‘do you have a continuous cough?’ — and also have my temperature taken.

As the directors’ lounge is in the Amber zone, we will need to wear a face mask. I don’t care about any of this. I care only about the result.

I have complete faith in my players, I really do believe in them. And while I know we have some tough fixtures ahead, I am confident we can get the results we need.

Other than a string of games when we lost our first-team keeper, which cost us dearly, we have a winning side with a winning mentality.

And I have learnt more about my players’ strength of character, compassion, professionalism and determination in these strangest of times than in any other in my 28-year career.


But, the most important thing I have learned is that coming together with a common aim is the start.

Staying together and supporting one another is vital and working together is the absolute key to being successful.

That is why we are a team. And that is what the West Ham way is all about.

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