Written by Kevin Slade @kevinsladeSDCC
As if the world of West Ham United wasn’t exhausting enough, I’m writing this article in the desperate hope of trying to find something positive to publish. The uncomfortable truth is there isn’t anything positive about our football club at the moment; it’s toxic from top to bottom, inside and out. If someone had told me two years ago that we’d be in this position (on the pitch and off), in twenty four months time, I would have eaten my Sex, Drugs, & Carlton Cole hat. On the pitch, we’ve been in this situation many many times before. In the 26 years I’ve held my season ticket I’ve seen two relegations, god knows how many relegation fights, seen our best players flogged for next to nothing, and watched us lose many, many games. But what kept the football club alive was our fan base. The best fan base in the world. A fan base that no matter where you were, who you were with, you all felt like you were still a part of something extremely special. So special that you can’t even put it into words, and you’d only understand if you were one of us. I remember going to the Boleyn Ground and seeing the same faces week in, week out. I’d never said a single word to the majority of those faces the entire time I attended the old girl, but we would always acknowledge eachother with a ‘nod’ – Home and away. Bill Gardener is another face who I’d see every week without fail, and again we’d aknowledge each other with a ‘nod’. Supporters like bill have been going a lot longer than me, but we’ve suffered the same emotions – mostly down, but we’ve suffered the same pain and minor glory. I’d never said a word to Bill in my life, but It’s just what we done at West Ham. We were all a part of something great. No matter how big or small your name was, terrace legend or not, we were all West Ham & we were all equal to each other. I mean let’s have it right, apart from the odd season of over achieving once a decade we’ve always been shit on the pitch. But off the pitch we’ve always been the best group of supporters out there. We carry ourselves with class and dignity, we know how to take the piss out of ourselves, and most of all, we will travel to the other side of the planet in numbers to support our boys – even without a ticket. But what saddens me is my worst nightmare is starting to become reality and I can see all of this slowly losing its grip…
After the defeat to Swansea, our fan base went into meltdown, and rightly so. Social media has become the forefront to vent frustration and anger, purely because it’s so easy to just pick up your phone and let rip. It was a disgrace of a performance, and I personally point the finger at the manager and players. However, I will talk about my opinion on the match itself on Wednesday’s radio show.
Yesterday I had a quick surf through twitter after the game & I’ve never seen so much of a divide in our fan base. West Ham supporters have always had different opinions and you’d be a fool to think otherwise. But we’ve never ever spoken to each other like dirt, we’ve never offered each other out, and worst of all, we’ve never threatened each other. When we moved to the Olympic Stadium I had the attitude of “you can move our home and change our badge, but you can never destroy a fan base”… sadly, it looks as though it’s happening… And the most frustrating thing for me is I can’t put my finger on why this is happening? Is it the board? Is it the players? Is it the management? Whatever the issue is, we NEED to stick together. Because without each other, what have we got? Fuck all. We need to be the West Ham that everyone knows and loves. We’ve all heard the stories from our fathers and grandfathers about why this football club is so special to us, and we cannot let that die. We are responsible for protecting this football club – not David Sullivan, not David gold, not Brady, not the players, not the stadium. They might not be going anywhere for a few years, but they won’t last forever. We are at the helm of this club – when we’re dead & gone, our children will still be going. When they’re dead & gone, their children will still be going & so on.
When I talk about West Ham to my daughter, rarely do I ever tell her that she needs to support West Ham because we’re ‘the best’. I tell her that being a part of West Ham United is more than just supporting a football club; it’s a lifestyle. My grandparents were born into it. My dad was. I was. Now my daughter has been born into it. Born into something so special that you can’t imagine your life without it. The bloodline of my family are/were all working class characters from the east end who looked out for one another, and that integrated into West Ham. We don’t support West Ham by choice, it’s in our blood. So please, if you’re reading this think about what’s being destroyed. Board in or out, respect each other’s opinions because the bottom line is we’d all die for this club and We’re all in the same boat. It’s only us that can protect our reputation. It’s only us that can keep our legacy of why we’re the best supporters out there. We’ve never had much glory, and we’ve suffered so much pain. But we’ve always always had each other. And that’s what has kept this football club alive, because without us, there would be nothing! Granted the team is diabolical at the moment, but we really need to get behind them to survive what has been a torrid season. I for one am sick of it, but what makes us different to the likes of spurs, arsenal, chelsea etc, is when the chips are down we’re fucking there for our club. Rain, sleet, or snow. We’re there!