The Home of Thugs

Author: . Published: at 9:01am

London Stadium

Written by Katie S @flump9

I wrote an article back in May after the Manchester United game, regarding the media bandwagon that seems to take place surrounding issues with West Ham. Once again, I feel compelled to write another article, sadly discussing mainly the same issues.

From the moment I witnessed both sets of fans throwing items at each other, I knew what the headlines were going to be and I also knew that the majority of it would be aimed at us and not Chelsea fans. I have read some rather absurd headlines suggesting the London Stadium should be shut down and that we should play behind closed doors. However, the headline that really got to me was ‘The Home of Thugs’. How dare people suggest that all West Ham fans are thugs.

I have supported West Ham my whole life, I come from a family of lifelong West Ham fans, none of which have ever been involved in any hint of violence. I, like the majority of West Ham fans, go week in and week out to watch football. West Ham are my passion in life and to hear such negative comments, over and over again, is causing me real frustration. As sad as it may sound, it is like having to defend a family member, when someone has heard a rumour and then got the facts completely wrong.

Nobody with any sense or decency would condone any of the actions of the minority last night, but this is what we have got to remember, it was a tiny minority. There were nearly 46,000 fans inside the ground and apparently 200 fans were involved in any kind of fracas (even this number seems too high, from what I witnessed). This equates to less than half a percent of our fans. I think the media need to be looking at these facts before allowing such appalling headlines to be printed and condemning all West Ham fans.

As ExWHUemployee referred to in his article yesterday, the issues surround West Ham being awarded the stadium caused a huge backlash and it certainly feels as though the media are looking for a headline to rile the public further. Unfortunately, I cannot help but feel that there is a general feeling of wanting the stadium to fail, as they believe that we should not have been given a stadium that was paid for by the tax payer. I know this is a completely separate issue, but I really wish people would remember that it was either this or let it go to ruin!

For me there are many issues with the London Stadium, of course stewarding and policing are a major issue and no doubt changes need to be taking place. However, security in general really needs to be looked at. It concerns me greatly that fans were allowed to enter the ground last night without any security checks, especially when trouble was so highly anticipated. I can honestly say that I have not felt unsafe in the stadium at any point and I believe most fans feel the same.

Sadly, every football club will have a handful of pretend football fans, who have no interest in the football taking place on the pitch and instead want a night out where they cause trouble. These people (I cannot call them fans) are not welcome at West Ham United and hopefully they will no longer be allowed to enter.

Remember this – West Ham fans are not thugs, we are passionate fans who follow their club through thick and thin and this includes the barrage of abuse we are having to take at the moment.


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  • Jon crowe
    28th October 2016 at 11:53 am

    You are absolutely correct but sadly 45580 football fans behave themselves at a football match wouldn’t sell one newspaper!!!

  • Peter
    28th October 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Spot on mate. Interesting for me is that if you look at the photo at the top of your article which is the frontline of what happened in the media’s eyes, most are observing what’s going on, hardly a baying mob is it. Don’t get me wrong I am not condoning what went on but let’s keep it in perspective.
    Most of us had a great time on Wednesday and felt safe as houses. A few (200 really?) make a bit of a scene and the media go nuts. six of one and all that for me, better segregation in the concourses and improved stewarding / police presence in the ground and it will be fine.
    Imagine if that mug on the trampoline had tried it last year at the Boleyn. He wouldn’t have got anywhere near that far.

  • Stel Kyriacou
    28th October 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Excellent piece. It really does seem that we have become premiership punching bag at the moment. Every thug supporting another club is going to come to the stadium thinking, and anticipating, that they can cause headlines. The stadium owners and the West Ham board have a lot to answer for. The stadium for not really understanding what it takes to put on high profile football matches. The board for not really insisting that certain safety measures were in place before we took tenancy of the stadium. The board may argue that they said this and that before moving in. But, as a club they shouldn’t have moved us into this new ground until everything was properly in place. And, if that meant the two Davids having to dig deep into their own pockets, then so be it
    West Ham fans can’t win either way…. If any trouble starts, we are automatically to blame. We are threatened with lifetime bans for the most inocuous of things.
    A solution needs to be found quickly and the board need to really start backing their own supporters for once.
    I’m a season ticket holder and take my teenage daughter to every home game. I’m proud of being a West Ham fan and I’m proud that my daughter wants to follow this team. But, the press have to stop using us as a punching bag for all the new stadiums ailments

  • Ian
    28th October 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I have been a football fan for the last 50 odd years and this season I had the chance to buy my first season ticket. Admittedly I am not a Hammers fan but thought what a great oppotunity to watch the beautiful game in what is a wonderful stadium to watch football. Being brought up a stones throw from the London Stadium I felt like I was going back to my roots to watch a game I love.
    Sadly as we know the violence on Wednesday detracted from what I thought was West Ham’s best performance of the season.

    The problem is not football itself. The problems started before this game with the standing issue. With the sale of nearly double the season tickets what we have is the older generation of fans having been used to stand up at Upton Park are know sharing seating areas with new fans who like to sit down. This has caused flash points with fans. The stewards request people sit down but they are met with a torrent of abuse.
    Premiership rules say all fans must be seated. It is also in the contract that West Ham have with the Stadium owners.
    The Violence is not about football, it is a small minority who just come for a fight.
    When my dad first took me to a first division football match all fans mingled together. Both sides sang songs about each other and had friendly banter between.
    What I witness now at the games in the nasty crude and vile language directed at other.
    14,000 child season tickets have been sold tho season more than any other team in the country I believe. I am horrified that these youngsters here this. I hear many a parent using this language in front of their children which I find obscene. It is no wonder this carries on through the generations which is a sad indictment on society.

    Yes West Ham need to find a solution
    Bars were open in the stadium all the time and any fan could walk around any where in the stadium before the match started.

    If I was of an age to have younger children I would not be encouraging them to go.

    People are saying it is not a football stadium.
    The London Stadium and West Ham United are not the problem
    You don’t know what you have got until its gone

  • Kaz
    28th October 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Well said I too am a lifelong hammer and being called ” thugs” by the media constantly getting their facts wrong is so frustrating!!! Two sets of fans involved n yet only hearing about us #fuming

  • Peter Hall
    28th October 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I would love to know how many of the “200” were “plus 2” season ticket holders i.e. friends of Boleyn season ticket holders who had never been to a West Ham game before, or possibly have no interest in West Ham and bought ST’s just so they could have a row !

  • John
    28th October 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Great honest write up, shame the media & BBC don’t report how bad rival fans have been and no mention of City fans smashing up Utds toilets or the 6 or 7 arrests made up there the same night!!

  • 28th October 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Thank you for all your comments regarding my article. I think we are all incredibly frustrated by the media feeling the need to print such diabolical headlines, but as Jon Crowe said, the truth sadly doesn’t sell papers.

  • DJ78
    29th October 2016 at 12:28 am

    Great piece and it’s embarrassing that so few are managing to do so much damage. What’s worse is the clear agenda conveyed by the media. Who seem to be fueling the trouble with inflammatory headlines. The events were horrific but only when compared to the West Ham norm. They were not comparable to the 1970’s/80’s
    It’s amazing that in the same evening there was trouble at old Trafford facilities were destroyed and minimum amount of coverage.
    March last year Watford and Arsenal fans fighting outside the stadium (metro) Crystal Palace and Boro fans brawl following match in September (Gazette) Swansea City and Cardiff fighting every week just look online.
    Let’s please take a breath kick out the morons at all clubs and enjoy our football.

  • 29th October 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I too have taken the opportunity to get a season ticket this year after many years of supporting from afar. At every game I have been to (only missed Southampton) I have found have not felt any tension. Away fans coming from Stratford tube have been sharing in a bit of banter – all of it friendly.

    But it is absolutely right that the papers are there to sell so will make the most of any opportunity that happens to create a story that fits their preconceptions and/or motives

    Therefore I think it is responsibility of the vast majority of fans to remain well behaved, and it is the responsibility of the authorities whether the stadium operators or the club to remove the trouble makers and to remove temptations to behave badly.

    At Kick off on Wednesday in addition to the normal claret ‘shroud’ covering a section of seats to keep the fans apart there were about a dozen sets also unsold. Clearly some one had thought this through. However immediately after half time these seats were full. Had they been left to let the trouble makers get closer? The stewards need to be given the authority and the training to manage the crowds so that these seats were kept clear. Should fans be able to wander freely around the stadium between KO and full time?

    The club need to keep trouble away from the ground. The “200” need to be identified and action taken before they return to the ground. One good think to come of Wednesday is the knowledge that the CCTV quality is so high that identifying individuals is straight forward.

    Similarly on the standing issue. I have no problem if there are whole sections that want to stand. However to stand in front of people who are sitting some of who may be young, old, or unable to stand for 90 mins is unsocial. It must be easy to identify the season ticket holders of those seats and take the issue up with them away from the ground where passions can and do run high.

    My appeal is for all to take some responsibility – fans to behave well (99.5% do as already pointed out), the stadium operators to organise, train and equip the stewards better, the club to address the problem issues away from the stadium and match days and to act ruthlessly to remove the trouble makers identified.