TEMPERATURES reached fever pitch at Premier League West Ham today as the Board of Directors launched a noisy protest against club supporters, who they claim have let the club down.
The demo resulted in unpleasant scenes as Associates stormed well-know fan pubs before congregating outside the Olympic Stadium in expectation of ambushing punters before the next home game, against Arsenal on Monday week.
A Board spokesman, who wished to be referred to only as “John” was in combative mood as he explained: “We work hard all week and want to see our club play attractive football, and hopefully win games”.
The 70-year-old Cardiff-born, 5ft 2ins tall, ex-pornographer continued: “Things have really come to a head, the fans promised us ‘next level’ football but all we see week in, week out is the same old rubbish.
“We want to talk to them – but they flat out refuse.
He added: “Fans out!” and waved a banner that read ‘Sold a dream, living a nightmare’.
We later caught up with Hammers supporter Clive Daley, 44, of Chafford Hundred in Essex who was in a contrite mood as he admitted things hadn’t gone entirely to plan.
He said: “Yes, some of it is fair criticism, us fans probably shouldn’t have insisted on a move to the grim, soul-sapping, characterless concrete bowl that we call the London Stadium.
“And when it comes to the keeper situation, it wasn’t the best idea to raffle off the spot in order to fund one week of Jack Wilshere’s wages.
He added: “But we’re doing our best under difficult circumstances – the Board don’t understand how difficult all the day-to-day business of running a football club can be.
“After all, it’s our money we invested.”
When questioned on the appointment of Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini the plastering contractor refused any further comment and walked away murmuring: “Ungrateful bastards … filthy ungrateful bastards…”
We contacted the club press office but they refused to give a statement although we later received a WhatsApp message from the same number that read: “We no wear you slags live – you wouldn’t want nuffin to happen to little Whiskers now, wood ya?”
“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning”
AMID all the places in the contemporary West Ham cybersphere for polls, forums and opportunities to “have your say” there is a dearth of space for an encompassing vision of what fans really want our football club to look like. As good as polls are at determining on a day to day basis whether this or that player is a favourite, the answers are only ever going to be granular.
This, then, is a vision of the club we aspire to under the
unlikely conceit Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos feels making all that money while also pissing
off Donald Trump has left a hole in his life that can only be filled by
ploughing millions into an underperforming Premier League football club.
As well as establishing a basis for argument over what a
football club should be and do the hope is such an examination can build a
better framework within which to answer, “Who would you like to sign for us, x
or y player?”
THE current arena isn’t fit for purpose. It was not designed as a football ground and it shows. Seats are too far from the pitch. The shallow rake of the stands means there is little atmosphere, the gap between stands worsens the problem and the scaffolding is an embarrassment. Worse, the migration from Upton Park was handled with all the dexterity and wit of a Duke being interviewed by Emily Maitlis.
Realistically the choice is between rebuild, replace or
build a new stadium. A rebuild seems unfeasible as there is so little of the
ground worth its name as a football stadium. There is no opportunity to dig
down – and going upwards would only exacerbate current problems. Replacement on
the same site would be expensive, messy, and would possibly, as with Spurs,
involve a period at another ground.
With all respect to those that would quite legitimately cry “Not again” the best choice would be to start afresh with the Amazon Stadium sited elsewhere on the Queen Elizabeth Park. The current owners would be more than happy to get out of the current lease which is costing them around £10million a year. A decent deal could also be made buying some adjacent land as without a football club in situ the park would atrophy.
Seating priority would not be given, as with the recent migration to those having the most money or a mate who wants a ticket but to length of service as a season ticket holder. Obvious to everybody you might think, except for Karren Brady, who if she performed as badly as a contestant on The Apprentice as she does in real life would be booted off on the second week.
The prime concern for the stadium alongside givens such as
sightlines, comfort and safety would be atmosphere. To that end the arena would
have a steep rake all around and upper tiers that sit above rather than behind
the space below giving a theatre feel. Individuals would feel more as though
they are part of the action rather than spectators.
Behind one goal would be a single stand “Kop” designated a singing section that would be the cheapest area of the ground. The aim would be something akin to “die Gelbe Wand” (the Yellow Wall) of Borussia Dortmund. (Compare with the current ludicrous idea that the Billy Bonds Stand – with some of the most expensive seats in the ground – would possess the atmosphere).
Controversially perhaps, the ground would have a capacity of just 45-50 thousand. The estimates are we currently attract around 42 thousand – the increased capacity has a lot more to do with David Sullivan’s ego than any practical concern. Much above 50 thousand attendees and atmosphere dissipates, a full ground is always livelier than a sparse stadium whatever the size.
All lower tier seats would be convertible to safe standing
and there would be a designated Family Enclosure as well as disabled seating, a
sensory room and so on. Corporate areas would consist of lounges with access to
seats outside. No boxes. Food available within would be of pub standard rather
having pretensions to haute cuisine in order to prevent inflated charges. Food
and drink would be available behind the stands as is usual and be comparable in
cost to pub prices. Fixed seats and tables would be available. Hopefully, fans
would be drawn in earlier, preventing last minute waits to be searched, and
profits would raise given fewer supporters would be drinking away from the
INDEPENDENT supporter groups would be encouraged and have regular dialogue with the Supporter Liaison Officer. Meetings with Board members would be regular, as would input into policing and stewarding committees. The hated OSB would be immediately disbanded. As appealing as it sounds a supporter on the Board would be unnecessary so long as the former protocol was adhered to. The Davids, Gold and Sullivan, profess to be fans and both are useless. The concern would be a Board place up for grabs would lead to infighting and invite those more concerned with thoughts of grandeur than representing the club’s support.
PLAYING and training wear would be designed by top brands, realistically that means Nike or adidas. Home kit would consist of claret shirts with sky sleeves, white socks and shorts. Away strips would rotate on a tri-yearly basis between sky, navy and white. There is a place for gold within these kits – but teal, ecru, violet and so forth have no place in a West Ham strip and are an abomination.