As the international friendlies get into full swing, the West Ham faithful are subjected to more woes before the serious business starts again next weekend against Southampton at the London Stadium. On Wednesday night the hodgepodge of players amassed for another training session, but this time in the form of a friendly against Dagenham and Redbridge who are in need of some financial support at this time. Of course any from of match experience is beneficial to keep the cogs turning, and there is no doubt of the altruistic intentions.

Many might have considered the game as a nonsense distraction, however there were many merits to be gained. The 1 – 3 victory was to be expected, but it wasnā€™t overwhelmingly convincing either. However, that being saidā€¦these kinds of games can pose challenging questions especially of a team that has not functioned well for some time and they often donā€™t go as planned nor as most people would expect.

Overall the players showed their worth and battled away with some slick passing, albeit there were many mistakes throughout. Many of the youth players were introduced at different stages, giving them worthwhile experience and they did not disappoint. Antonio bagged a couple of goalsā€¦and Hugill got the third, and very much deserved it was too. So much so, that I would go out on a limb and give Hugill his first start against Southampton alongside Hernandez. His general link up play would a good standard and he held the ball up well too, which could be a much needed benefit in the upcoming games.

Itā€™s been another frustrating week and itā€™s been a torrid time to be a West Ham fanā€¦as we all wait like over ripened fruit to be picked off the tree, to find out how we will fare in the next few games. There have been more meetings with supporters groups and David Sullivan, whilst the mainstream media have finally decided that they want to listen and understand the fanā€™s version of events since moving into the London Stadium.

The club owners and vice chairman have rallied this week to offer consoling words and apologetic versesā€¦however it all seems rather like corporate backtracking to me. They have had ample time over the last two years to address all of the issues and pay due respect to the West Ham supportersā€¦but they havenā€™t done much at all apart from trying to keep the wool pulled over our eyes and spin their tales which alienated the faithful even more.

Fans have been banging the drum for over two years and now there might be light at the end of the tunnel, vindication gained and justice sought. However is this just the fat cats paying us all lip service again or do they actually understand the depth and complexity of the fanā€™s concerns, complaints and now anger? One thing seems clear nowā€¦there is less posturing, less grandstanding and much more damage limitation taking place. One can only assume they were all totally taken aback by the scenes at the Burnley game and have had some frank discussions behind the scenes to see if they can remedy the ailments, however given that Sullivan wishes to stay for at least another 5yrs to seek good fortunes within the club, then it would appear his focus is clear.

However, one might be blinded by their gushing of self flagellation if it were ever considered sincere, because for many fans it is still all smoke and mirrors. The apologies sound more whimsical than heartfelt, the Gold financial schooling has more holes in it than Emmental cheese and they have continued to flog their corporate yarns but nobody is knitting. Ludicrous links to cream players have already emerged as potential summer targetsā€¦just coinciding with season ticket renewals tooā€¦hmmmmm?

More rumours have been circulating about possible candidates for the Director of Football role, whilst below the belt offers have continued for playersā€¦even Joao Marioā€™s Inter have been offeredĀ  a measly sum in comparative term for his servicesā€¦and even he has muted that he may wish to stay also. One can only assume this would all depend on whether West Ham can avoid relegation though.

The Southampton game at the end of the month is crucial in so many aspects for the club and also for the fans. The owners have recently stated that they will be attending, whilst most would counsel them to stay away otherwise the flames will be fanned and all hell could break loose, especially if the Hammers succumb to pressure and concede one, two or even three goalsā€¦let alone lose the game. The only hope is that all fans rally behind the team; win, lose or draw and save their protestations until after the matchā€¦or even before outside of the stadium.

If there is to be an uprising of sorts, we would hope that the newly bolstered stewards would be able to cope a lot better tooā€¦especially after all the recent meetings with the interested parties of the London Stadium. Nobody wants to see fans run onto the pitch because the consequences would be dire for everyone concerned with the clubā€¦especially the everyday fans who would be forced to stay at home or in the pubs to watch the games, when the FA order the home matches to be played behind closed doorsā€¦which would not be just cause for the majority of the West Ham faithful.

For many fans the debacle and facade has just gone on for too long and patience has not only diminishedā€¦it has actually long left the station. The clumsy oaths have sat upon crumbling walls and have invested only enough to keep the sweet honey flowing into their gullets, but now that is in jeopardy and the fans and media have caught them outā€¦there is much to be concerned about. This is not mere mismanagement or failed ambitions as they would have us all believeā€¦this is imperialistic gluttony and parental neglect!

The fans have but one choice now that would make any senseā€¦to focus their attentions on supporting the team in the usual manner and set aside vitriolic tendencies for the team until the season is complete or at least until after each final whistle blows. However, whether Moyes stays or leavesā€¦whether many of the squad players hold tight or flee at the first offer of change, whether the club remain or leave the Premier Leagueā€¦the truth has come out and the verdict is in.

The owners must take stock in the summer and invest heavily into the squad but also must hold out open hand to communicate openly and honestly with the fans about their intentions for the club, the stadium and the realistic aspirations going forward. There is no longer an appetite for corporate spin and unholy vows. The prime focus must be on the wellbeing of the club and the fans. The owners have already made huge profits out of their West Ham United – London brandā€¦so now it is time to pay it back, pay it forward and move on if immediate remedies are not put in place.

For most fans, one assumes the ownersā€™ only course of action now is to sell up to new investors who have the financial standing to take the club forwardā€¦not necessarily to dizzying heights, but at least to secure footing and to be a stalwart of the Premier set up. Nobody wants now owners to be more of the same, let alone worseā€¦so any new investors will have to come in with eyes wide open to satisfy a powerful and knowledgeable fanbase, not to give false promises or be media junkiesā€¦but rather to set us on the right path and to start againā€¦with the club, the stadium and the squad.

The supporters have had their fill of nursery rhymes and sing alongs. They have cast their villains and await heroes to save the day. Humpty and Dumpty are falling and all the kingā€™s men have seen right through the Emperorā€™s new clothes.


By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender šŸ˜¬

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