West Ham: Evening Standard

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whu
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West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby whu » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:23 pm

https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/footba ... 87041.html

More for Evening Standard David Sullivan must take a step back – West Ham need a chief executive to direct the club KEN DYER What occurred at the London Stadium on Saturday was unpleasant, unacceptable and for some - such as club legend Sir Trevor Brooking, captain Mark Noble, and members of the club’s triumphant FA Cup-winning side of 1964 who were there as special guests - just plain sad. Centre of the storm | Irate West Ham fans turn their anger on club co-owner David Sullivan in the directors’ box at the London Stadium on Saturday Photo: Christopher Lee/West Ham United via Getty Images As Sir Trevor will be only too aware though, it is not the first time that a section of West Ham fans have shown their displeasure in a similar way. In the 1991-92 season when the club, on the back of promotion, decided in their wisdom to introduce a bond scheme, there were various pitch invasions including one where a fan took it upon himself to sit down in protest on the centre spot at the Boleyn Ground. West Ham were relegated that year. In 1996-97, when they were again struggling to stay in the top division and the then chairman Terry Brown refused to sell to Michael Tabor, there was a ‘red card’ protest and another pitch invasion. The club stayed up, largely because they responded by investing significantly in two strikers, John Hartson and Paul Kitson. So the question today has to be: what are David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady intending to do to placate those supporters - and there are many of them - who are unhappy with the way the club are being run? Not the few who ran on the pitch on Saturday during the 3-0 defeat to Burnley, the fan who brandished a corner flag, not even the couple of hundred who took advantage of the inept stewarding to vent their fury at the hierarchy - but the mostly silent majority who feel the club they loyally support are at best shambolic and at worst entirely dysfunctional. The first and most pressing answer to what now seems an almost insoluble problem is that there is no repeat when West Ham next play at home in three weeks’ time of the weekend’s ugly scenes which are now the subject of a Football Association and club enquiry. That, you would imagine, could be solved by sensible stewarding but not at the London Stadium, where such matters are overseen by the stadium operators, LS185. Is it too much to ask, when there are supposed to be a thousand stewards at West Ham’s home matches, for one or two to actually go onto the pitch and give club captain Noble a hand in apprehending one or two of the offenders? The reasons why those few infiltrated the playing area, why hundreds roared their abusive discontent - and thousands more are unhappy and disillusioned - are more complex and, as a result, more problematical. Noble summed it up on Saturday when he said that the ill-feeling had been bubbling away for two seasons - in fact ever since the club moved from their old home, with all its East End history and atmosphere, to the more sterile environs of Stratford. There were those, as with every club that moves home, who just do not want to go; there are some who are apprehensive but prepared to give it a try - and those who cannot wait to sample a new, bigger stadium with infinitely better transport links, loads more toilets and - in West Ham’s case - sensibly-priced seats. It is even okay, as West Ham’s owners did, to promise their supporters that this was the moment - not merely a commercial opportunity - to take the club to a different level and even European qualification. That ambition was something to which fans could cling when the seating was not retractable as was promised and some seats were so far away from the action that opticians in East London and Essex suddenly struck boom time. If you promise success, you have to deliver it and a £29 million net investment in the West Ham playing squad since they moved has proved totally inadequate. When you add in a selection of the intemperate public utterances by the people who are supposed to run the club, the £43m profit they made in the 2016-17 season - and failed to re-invest in the squad - and it is unsurprising that West Ham’s fan base has quite simply had enough. Even the cancellation of the mass protest march last Saturday backfired because many who felt thwarted by that decision vented their spleen in the stadium immediately Burnley scored the first of their three goals. So how can this perilous situation be improved? Most importantly, Sullivan must stop doing player deals and talking to agents but follow the example of practically every other professional club and appoint someone with experience and knowledge, whether a chief executive, managing director or whatever, to act as a conduit between owners and management. As for West Ham’s supporters, they need to temporarily put aside their grievances and back their team if they want to be watching Premier League football next season. One thing is for sure, things need to change at West Ham DisUnited - and quickly.



West Ham pitch invasion led to unjust aggression, but the corner flag stood for something greater at the London Stadium
Premier League LIVE: West Ham hold emergency meeting over London Stadium security

Amid the mayhem at West Ham, the wider world missed the meaning of the raised and brandished corner flag.

Understandably so. Only Hammers fans of a certain vintage will know that it was a symbol - a throwback to another time of mass protest in the stands when the club's supporters successfully torpedoed the hated Bond Scheme in 1992.

At a home game against Everton in February that year, a fan very deliberately climbed out of the old South Bank end at Upton Park, grabbed a corner flag and marched slowly and methodically to the centre circle.

He then planted it in the centre spot before sitting down, daring anybody to move him.

westhamevertonflag1992.jpg
Photo: Steve Bacon

A memorable picture of the time showed Julian Dicks pleading with him to leave the pitch. Instead, hundreds more poured on to spark what became springtime of fury at the board's plans to make people pay for the right to buy their season ticket by purchasing a Bond first.

A few bought them and they still have privileges to this day at the team's new home, the London Stadium. But the scheme was largely and quietly shelved and the directors had to find another way to finance the re-building of the ground.

The man who carried the corner flag on to the pitch during the pitch invasions and fighting which disrupted Saturday's 3-0 defeat by Burnley looked to be of the right vintage to have understood the history behind his actions.

Even if he didn't, plenty of older supporters will have noted it.


Incident | West Ham vs Burnley turns nasty after fans run on pitch
The point about this is that it underlines both the fact that the trouble on Saturday was not a repeat of old-style, pointless hooliganism of yesteryear. Although it was very wrong and many people, including children, were frightened – such scenes also capture how profoundly the whole rotten, toxic mess at West Ham is rooted in the bewilderment of the fans over their lost heritage and the empty soullessness of what has replaced it.

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'We have to protect ourselves'- Noble speaks out on pitch invaders
That heritage and history is no more special than at any other club, although it is true that that the Hammers have the strongest regional identity of London's major outfits and that the supporters have proudly nurtured that as a perfectly acceptable placebo for success.

But no major club has undergone such a traumatic change of home. Arsenal moved into their own purpose built new stadium. Tottenham will next season. Chelsea in some years’ time, too. None of them was or will be set adrift from their followers even if they have gone global and corporate - and couldn't compete for trophies, otherwise.

The nature of West Ham, by contrast, has been utterly changed by the move to the Olympic Park. That is why there are so many messages on Twitter declaring West Ham RIP - because so many people believe that the old club has gone and can't be replaced.

Most fans were prepared to understand the need for the move because they understood it was a way forward. Most don't condone Saturday's troubles.

But the ground isn't as promised. It really isn't.

In Pictures | West Ham vs Burnley | 10/03/2018

Neither has been the advancement of the team which was supposed to accompany the move from Green Street. Fans, actually, can accept that. They know that success in football cannot be guaranteed. But when they believe they have been lied to, a different response will set in. And West Ham's fans feel they were conned. That is why this is all so poisonous. Not because the team face relegation, but because some of the supporters feel they've been turned over.

No matter that the board had to move or face accusations that they lacked vision and ambition - this is all such a Catch 22 for everyone involved - it will be hard now to convince the disgruntled hordes that they were not hood-winked. That genie is out of the lamp, so to speak.

One pal of mine calls the ground Moonbase Alpha. Another says it resembles a Meccano Set put together back to front, if you get the idea.

Athletics. Olympics. The Rolling Stones. Fine.


READ MORE
Brooking tells aggressive West Ham fans to stay away or face the drop
But the London Stadium is not fit for purpose as a football ground. Until that situation is resolved, the problems at West Ham are going to go on and on and on and they may get even nastier.

It is the very nature of the place which is eating away at the club from within.

Every setback, every disappointment, every grievance is heightened and magnified by the sense of unrest and dislocation which the stadium breeds.

Of course, there were bad times at Upton Park. Many more than there were good times, in fact. But it felt like home and the fans lived with all the mediocrity and the multiple relegations of recent decades.

Stratford never will unless there are drastic changes or, in the end, there is a decision to bite the bullet, knock it down and re-build - and that’s beyond West Ham's powers - or move elsewhere.

Put plainly, it surely cannot be beyond such successful business brains as those of David Sullivan, Karren Brady and David Gold to find a way to ease this part of the problem and improve the atmosphere of the place.

That is the responsibility they took on when the decided to leave home.


Evening Standard Original | Farewell to the Boleyn Ground after 112 years
They are hamstrung because West Ham are merely tenants in E20. But something more profound and meaningful needs to be done than decorating the place with temporary-looking claret-and-blue hoardings and occasionally commemorating the memory of Bobby Moore.

For now West Ham can only react instantly to these events.

Their statements read: "West Ham United have immediately launched a full and thorough investigation into the incidents which marred the second half of the match and are committed to taking decisive and appropriate action.

"An emergency meeting has been called with all London Stadium stakeholders. There will be no further comment at this time."

That's the response you would expect. The club must act strongly. The long term, though, requires some innovative, clear and insightful thinking.

Honestly, I'm at a loss for now to come up with an instant way of making the stadium feel more loved and loveable. But there has to be a ground shift and the issues created by the fact that West Ham have landlords to deal with have to be confronted afresh.

gettyimages-930098162.jpg
West Ham captain Mark Noble tackles a pitch invader Photo: Getty Images
There has to be, perhaps, some way of making the surrounds of the place more hospitable, more fan friendly, more like home. In the era of fashionable pop-up bars, restaurants and shops, surely there is something to work with here.

Inside, the ground has to change drastically, too. Whatever promises were made when the owners were convincing the supporters to back the move, the seats are yards and yards from the pitch. And the rolling out of the section which covers the running-track on the dugout side just makes things worse as a huge chasm opens up behind them.

There are sections of bare concrete and metalwork on show all around the ground and it creates a bleak sense of ugliness and estrangement in an atmosphere which feels little like that of a proper football ground.

The on-going stewarding problems require dealing with robustly, too.

There can be no going back to Upton Park. But the board appear to have failed to grasp some of the profound issues created by the move to Stratford.


West Ham admit they would have earned ‘similar’ at the Boleyn Ground after announcing record £43m profit
Perhaps, in fact, those issues were insurmountable all along for one simple reason - the stadium was built for the Olympics, not football.

But the time for hoping that things will all settle down in the end is over. West Ham have to find a way, however difficult, to change the very nature of their new home.

Or move.
Last edited by whu on Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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We're West Ham. It's what we want. Now and always. Amen.

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Brookbonds73
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Re: West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby Brookbonds73 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:35 pm

whu wrote:https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/west-ham-pitch-invasion-led-to-unjust-aggression-but-the-corner-flag-stood-for-something-greater-at-a3787041.html


That'll do for me.
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BlackDiamond
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Re: West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby BlackDiamond » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:40 pm

Good piece,well explained.Truth hits everybody,truth hits everyone...
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mkhammer
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Re: West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby mkhammer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:47 pm

A great piece.........Really impressed/shocked with some of the media attention,most,well a lot of
it seems in our favour.....

Does anyone know who the guy with the flag is,I'm pretty certain I know,but not 100%
so don't want to say a name,but if it's who I think it is.....
We need to get together,and make sure he doesn't get a ban,because this guy is as West Ham
as you'll ever get.....

And I Would be prepared to stay away for a game to support him....

Edit...
Had a look..it is the guy I'm thinking of,like I say we need to back him,don't know the other
guys so can't speak for them
Last edited by mkhammer on Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brookbonds73
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Re: West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby Brookbonds73 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:51 pm

mkhammer wrote:A great piece.........Really impressed/shocked with some of the media attention,most,well a lot of
it seems in our favour.....

Does anyone know who the guy with the flag is,I'm pretty certain I know,but not 100%
so don't want to say a name,but if it's who I think it is.....
We need to get together,and make sure he doesn't get a ban,because this guy is as West Ham
as you'll ever get.....

And I Would be prepared to stay away for a game to support him....


Agreed.
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Love a cup of Rosey I do.

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Dwayne Pipes
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Re: West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby Dwayne Pipes » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:30 pm

Yes he is a well known Hammer.
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whu
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Re: West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby whu » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:59 am

mkhammer wrote:A great piece.........Really impressed/shocked with some of the media attention,most,well a lot of
it seems in our favour.....

Does anyone know who the guy with the flag is,I'm pretty certain I know,but not 100%
so don't want to say a name,but if it's who I think it is.....
We need to get together,and make sure he doesn't get a ban,because this guy is as West Ham
as you'll ever get.....

And I Would be prepared to stay away for a game to support him....

Edit...
Had a look..it is the guy I'm thinking of,like I say we need to back him,don't know the other
guys so can't speak for them


yes, we know who he is :lol: whufc_crest
Last edited by whu on Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Land based game. Pass and move. Simple.
Want a launching? Try NASA or Firework night.
We're West Ham. It's what we want. Now and always. Amen.

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Oziron
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Re: West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby Oziron » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:31 am

It's no secret who he is...plenty of stories out there. He's a recent member on here and was very pro march. Hope he get's supported by the WHU family cos it looks like he's gonna get a hefty fine.

Out of all the demos last Saturday this one was the most significant imho.... whufc_crest whufc_crest whufc_crest
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eskimo joe
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Re: West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby eskimo joe » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:52 am

Thanks for that CH, where's the BOTD.

Ah it was Woo. Seriously though, good to read a a story that hasn't hidden things and not lambasted or condoned what happened on Saturday.

Question is, was the incident the catalyst for actually getting out a well written article.
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ToneLoc
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Re: West Ham: Evening Standard

Postby ToneLoc » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:18 am

eskimo joe wrote:Thanks for that CH, where's the BOTD.

Ah it was Woo. Seriously though, good to read a a story that hasn't hidden things and not lambasted or condoned what happened on Saturday.

Question is, was the incident the catalyst for actually getting out a well written article.

It absolutely was imo.
As are the countless other pieces that are all over mainstream media now...... with the large majority of them criticising the board as the ultimate root cause of all of these problems.

If I were in this week's meeting with the board and LLDC etc when Sullivan chirped up about extra policing......I would have said.... "it appears Mr Sullivan that yourself and your deputies are the central focus of this ire and anger so perhaps for the common good you should consider staying away from the final home games".

But of course, what does Sullivan know about the "common good"?
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