Lucy Parker calls out West Ham over lack of London Stadium games
West Ham defender Lucy Parker has publicly criticised the club over the lack of opportunity for the women’s team to play at the London Stadium this season.
The Hammers usually play home games at the Chigwell Construction Stadium, shared with the men’s Under-23 team and also National League club Dagenham & Redbridge.
But it has become increasingly common for WSL teams to occasionally play games at their club’s main stadium. That was seen over Women’s Football Weekend when Parker was part of the West Ham side hosted at Old Trafford by Manchester United, while the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool 24 hours earlier was played at Goodison Park.
Arsenal have held multiple games at the Emirates Stadium this season, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Brighton all moving at least one game each. Leicester and Reading, meanwhile, are permanently based at the King Power and Madejski stadiums respectively.
In contrast, West Ham haven’t been afforded the opportunity to play at the London Stadium since September 2019 - three and a half years ago - when nearly 25,000 fans watched a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham. As things stand, there is no scheduled return this season and the Hammers could end up being the only WSL side not to host a ‘big stadium’ game at all before the campaign finishes in May.
What particularly sparked Parker’s disappointment was an announcement from the club that the Under-18 boys will play next week’s FA Youth Cup semi-final at the London Stadium.
“Taking nothing away from the lads because they more than deserve it after their year but when will we get a game at the stadium?” the 24-year-old, who was called up by England this week, tweeted.
“Only WSL side not to have a game at the men’s stadium and haven’t played there since 2019. Made an FA Cup Semi Final last year too so can’t be that,” she added.
Teammate Kate Longhurst, who is a lifelong West Ham fan also tweeted with a seemingly sarcastic undertone: "Let’s go boys! It’s nice for them to get to play at the stadium."
Earlier this season, West Ham celebrated the appointments of Karren Brady, Tara Warren and Nicola Keye as new directors of the women’s team. All three were existing member of the club’s board, with Baroness Brady serving as vice-chairman since 2010, and have a combined 60 years’ worth of experience working in professional football.
At the time, the club it was intended to ‘lead a new senior level of focus and support across all areas of the women’s football and commercial operation, from the first team through to the academy.’