We are West Ham UNITED!
Author: ExWHUEmployee. Published: 8 February 2018 at 9:43pm
Written by Richard Osis @richie_fingerss
I haven’t written an article or blog for a while now, to be honest I haven’t felt inspired enough to do so.
In fact I’ve actually found myself quite withdrawn from West Ham as a whole a lot of the time, mainly because of the fact I live in Wales and don’t have the money or time to travel to many games. I do still go a few times a year, mainly away games now.
I remember when I had a season ticket, I used to see the same faces all the time and I felt a lot more involved with things. Over the last few years, I would say there are only a handful of Hammers I consider good friends and they know who they are.
Recent events, mainly on social media have inspired me to write this particular blog. I feel like I need to get my opinion heard. There’s a lot more to say than even the extended character limit on twitter allows me to do.
The biggest subject of debate/angst/argument these days seems to be how unhappy people are with the board.
To be honest, I’ve found myself on the fence for quite a long time. On the one hand, I firmly believe that they got a lot of things right. They certainly steered the club away from the potential financial ruin that it was facing when the infamous Icelandic owners were in place.
But I also feel like they have gotten an awful lot wrong too. I don’t want to get into nit picking every single thing because I think it has been exhausted far too much already elsewhere.
Whilst I understand people’s frustration with the current state of affairs at our beloved club, I have to say I am deeply saddened to see so many people turning that frustration into misplaced anger and hatred both towards the board members themselves and fellow supporters!
In recent weeks it has become almost impossible to say anything that remotely even defends any of the board members without being verbally abused and even threatened or intimidated on social media. I for one am disgusted by what I have witnessed and I don’t care how old you are or how long you say you have supported West Ham, in my eyes you are no more than bullies and thugs. Whatever your feelings are, human beings deserve an opinion without feeling so threatened.
That said, I want to move on to actually provide what I feel is the root cause of our distress. It’s the stadium! No honestly I mean that and I will explain why.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel that if done right, the stadium move could have been and still might be the right move for this club. But let’s have a closer look at what West Ham itself represents.
West Ham is a working man’s club, a cockney, no frills club that historically doesn’t really tend to win much and that’s how we used to like it.
From time to time our academy players became amazing and that’s what excited us. I remember watching the likes of Rio, Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and many others emerge from the famous academy.
To go along with that we had the average players at small transfer fees that would at least fight for the team and play decent football and some of those even became cult hero’s because they played for our badge.
Traditional West Ham fans are about pie and mash, dirty carpets in pubs like the Boleyn that had character. The smell of stale beer and cigarette smoke to accompany the pre match banter.
In Stratford we have been forced to go to a sterile, clean, posh and modern world with bars instead of pubs and popcorn and pizza!
That’s not what West Ham’s about! And here in lies some of the root cause of the problem.
The board themselves made some promises to compromise us being ripped away from our spiritual home and said that they would spend big money and take us to the next level.
Let’s be honest, no one expected that to mean instant trophies or champions league football off the bat! But we were sold some dream about star players, and at the least trying to compete to qualify for Europe or to try and win some domestic cups!
Alas so far we do not see the club challenging for any trophies, and we are still fighting relegation every season!
If we wanted that we could have at least kept our own stadium? We knew the score at Upton Park was always going to be along those lines. And we didn’t care much because we enjoyed watching our average team be very average but every now and again offer up a giant killing or a decent cup run. It didn’t matter because we knew what we were and we accepted it.
The transfer policy has also been a sham since the move to our new stadium; the players we sign are either has beens with a last pay cheque or mercenaries who don’t care about the badge they are wearing and just want to pick up a nice pay cheque.
Then we look at the fact that despite all this the owners make things worse for themselves by undermining their managers when it comes to the transfer market, publicly insulting the likes of Snodgrass and Fonte who are both registered to the club as our players! And many more public mistakes that have left them with a serious amount of egg on their faces.
There has been a catalogue of silly mistakes they’ve made that have resulted in most of us feeling so disgruntled.
Put all this together with the teething troubles that the club had when first moving to the London Stadium which led to many fans believing that they had been deliberately misled, it is easy to understand why so many people believe that the board have lied and cheated everyone.
I don’t agree that they’ve done any of the above on purpose, even if a lot of people do. I think that they were perhaps naive and lacked proper clarity of the facts when it came to the stadium and a few other issues. For example I don’t think they were made aware of how bad the situation with retractable seating would be or how the views were a lot further away from the pitch than they anticipated.
When they passed on to us fans that we would have priority over athletics, I believe they understood it to be correct. I know a lot of you out there will disagree with me and say that they deliberately lied to us.
So where do we go from here? How do the board put things right? As things are with a lot of what I’m seeing on Twitter, I think the board could cure cancer and still be hated.
But they could go a long way towards putting things right this summer. In my opinion it will take for them to commit their finances towards a £100-150M transfer fund in August, and then follow it up by backing the manager (whoever that may be, hopefully Moyes) to make their own transfers without getting involved or interfering.
Then they need to put the wheels in motion to purchase the London stadium and go about properly converting it into a football venue, much like Manchester City did with their own stadium after inheriting it.
Then from that point on, they need to stay out of the newspapers and stop publicly making idiots of themselves by slagging off their own players or publicly praising rivals like Tottenham.
If they can at the very least do all of those things (which is very doubtful in my opinion) then they go some way towards perhaps winning some of the faithful over again. The alternative in my eyes would be to acknowledge that they cannot or will not put their hands in their pockets and sell up to allow someone that will come in and invest the money themselves. It is the only realistic way I can see this club moving into the next level as they called it.
I’m no business expert, I’m not clued up on football clubs and how to run them. But from where I’m standing, surely with the huge amounts of money in the game at the moment, having saved so much on the Stadium move, converting it properly and pumping some cash into the transfer kitty isn’t too hard to achieve? Either this lot need to do it or someone else needs to. But will they be prepared to sell up?
Hand on my heart, I get why so many are angry. I am too. But with more perspective than some of the twitter trolls it seems, because I honestly do not think West Ham are in that much of a mess as people make out. As I said, we have always been this way. I think it boils down to expecting more due to not being at our beloved Upton Park anymore. And I get it! I really do! I want to see us moving on to the next level, and had we stayed put, I wouldn’t care less if we carried on with the same old West Ham way of not winning that much.
But we are where we are so it’s time to put things right and actually help us move on financially. They’ve made mistakes, they can still put it right. But for now, my plea to those reading this, is please stop abusing each other on social media. And stop bullying and intimidating those who have a different opinion to yours. We are all humans who love West Ham.
It does not matter if someone supports the board and you don’t. Someone’s opinion will not affect your life directly so there’s really no need to turn into a troll over it.
Let’s hope for a brighter future. Come on you irons!!