West Ham United

Sir Geoff comments on West Ham's proposed move to Olympic Stadium

Even now, 55 years after I first pulled on the claret and blue shirt, I remain a committed supporter of West Ham United, the club that has played a significant role in my career and my life. My affection for Upton Park stretches back to those early years when, as a groundstaff boy, I helped paint the stadium, roll the pitch and polish the boots of the senior players.

Like most other West Ham fans I have a special attachment to the old stadium with all its memories of great times playing alongside legendary figures like Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, Johnny Byrne, Billy Bonds and Trevor Brooking. But I accept that in the modern game the club has to evolve and move with the times if it is to remain competitive at the highest level.

Careful consideration has gone into the proposed move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford and I feel strongly that the club should, given the opportunity, move into this state-of-the-art facility.

There are so many advantages involved in moving to the Olympic Stadium - better facilities, easy access, etc - and, of course, we would remain in our 'manor' preserving the unique East End identity of the club.

I made 500 appearances for West Ham and would have loved the opportunity of playing regularly on such a magnificent stage. Instead, the current team, newly-promoted to the Premiership, and all those players who follow in the years ahead may now have that chance. The challenge will be for them to fill the stadium with 60,000 cheering West Ham fans. It is an exciting prospect.

Sir Geoff Hurst MBE secured a unique place in the history of football when he became the first and, over 45 years later, still the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final.

Knighted in 1998 and inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004, Sir Geoff holds a special place in the hearts of football fans and has become an iconic sporting figure across the world.