Like pupils heading to big school for the first time, the management and squad of West Ham tested out their grand new surroundings on Wednesday – but it didn’t feel quite like home.
They have just a day to become accustomed to the claret and blue palace before the return visit of NK Domzale who have the potential to rain on the celebrations by kicking the Irons out the Europa League.
This would be the home tie, after their visit to Slovenia where they lost 2-1, but it doesn’t feel like home, according to manager Slaven Bilic.
He said: “For me Upton Park was a brilliant stadium. It’s very hard to imagine a better home ground.
“I’m not talking about the boxes and all that, the sandwiches or champagne. If we are talking about home ground advantage Upton Park was brilliant.
“But I’m sure if we play good very soon this is going to become the home ground.”
While other teams – notably Southampton and Arsenal – have struggled to come to terms with the disjointed feel of “home” – Bilic has a quick fix solution.
“We have to adjust to the new stadium and there’s no better way to adjust than when you win a game.
“The wins reduce the time that is necessary to adjust and hopefully we’re going to start tomorrow but the players are looking forward.”
The routine will be the same – with dinner at a Canary Wharf hotel – but then the team coach will head to E20 and a new era will begin.
• So far, no broadcaster has said it will televise the game.