ad unit 4

The West Ham fan Conundrum

Identity theft is a Twentieth Century crime. The loss of their identity is something that currently West Ham fans are feeling keenly. I have been addicted to football since the mid seventies and although, by no means am I a West Ham supporter I was raised in Essex in a town that was a traditional West Ham stronghold. I have many friends who are lifelong supporters and season ticket holders and the general feeling is that they sold their soul to move to the Olympic stadium and haven't been given what was promised!
West Ham have always hovered between the top two divisions but they have I think always been well liked by opposition fans. They have always tried to play attacking, stylish football built on the principles championed by the so-called Ron Greenwood academy. They have had some great players in Bobby Moore, Trevor Brooking, Paolo DiCanio, and in the last twenty years their youth academy has been a conveyor belt of bright English talent Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe etc. The fans have joked half in jest that West Ham won the 66 World Cup. Their club song, "bubbles" sings of lofty ambitions and high flying dreams. West Ham though has always had the capacity to self-destruct. However through these decades of constant ups and down West Ham supporters have loved the club, stayed true to their roots and treated those two
imposters,"victory" and "defeat" with a warm mixture of bad language and humour. Now though they play at a ground with a frosty atmosphere, after a difficult journey to get there and no access to their old haunts, The Boleyn and the pubs on Green Street. Sure, there are other pubs but much of English football folklore is based on tradition. The supporters gave up their traditions for the promise of a bright new world, "a world class stadium with a world class team," that was the promise from Karen Brady in her video presentation,( t ) to the fans. Interestingly though on watching the video recently I notice she uses the word ,"can" instead of ,"will" when talking about the increased revenue income from the stadium being spent on the squad.
 The West Ham fans bought into this, Ok they were giving up a big part of their lives but finally they were going to watch a team capable of challenging for honours. This hasn't happened and not because of poor investment in players, or poor management or unlucky results, this hasn't happened because the money has'nt been spent. West Ham have spent the last five years in the Premier League plus they have had the introduction of the Olympic Stadium revenues but there has been no significant increase in spending West Ham are the same club they have always been but now they play at a stadium they don't like and their home destroyed.
 I am not condoning last Saturdays behaviour when fans ran on to the pitch accosted players, or gathered in an angry mob and threatened the Board, violence is never the answer. I have many friends who are conflicted by that behaviour, they feel it shames the club but they agree with the sentiments of the fans involved. How else are the fans to object to the boards decisions? No revolution in history ever started well. The team has not been strengthened, the appointment of David Moyes as manager looked a cheapskate option and completely at odds with the ethos of the club. The fans feel, and rightly so that they have been robbed of their history, their passion and their identity, no wonder they are up in arms.
Comedy legend and West Ham fan Peter Cook summed up being a West Ham fan when he said, " It's not the losses that kill you, it's the hope!" West Ham fans just wanted to believe in their brand new dawn!

No comments