The John Lyall Gates at the entrance to the Boleyn Ground

Call me a soppy old soul but I love a good tear jerker! Yes, nothing fills my bleak house with a good dollop of depression and misery than a love that was lost and a dream that was unfulfilled, deflated or popped. I am prone to shed tears at the slightest of emotional undulations and rarely am I cold, muted and stone appearing
unless I am driven to console myself after another dire display from a team that lost their way along the proposed West Ham Way.

It has been unfashionably cold this last week and as the last snows fell before the weekend fixtures, I was filled with dread at what was to come and what fate awaited us. Incredulous as it may seem but I am the eternal optimist
always predicting
yearning for a win and a dashing performance from our ‘Dastardly and Mutley’ collective, however I am usually brought back to reality every week with a drop, a bounce and a thud.

I often reminisce about years gone by, visions of my childhood which were filled with notable games, claret and blue woos and occasional boos. FA Cup successes, World Cup alumni and European adventures
my only sadness was when made to watch 70’s films designed to make women sob uncontrollably or grown men roll their eyes, huff, puff and endure the torture until time to dive head first into a pint of Mackeson Stout.

However these days I am being driven to despair by two forces, less than evil but most contrary to my well being and sanitary bliss. As Karren Brady, being the voice of the board, held talks with fan’s representative groups
many would assume this was a strategic play to halt any plans for an impending march in March. Ears were opened, voices were heard and counter arguments versed
and after pensive consideration and a five thousand word repost
much of the fanbase were split between derision for feeble attempts at stalling and those willing to see the club make good on their new but still very old words.

On the field of play, the team have drawn and quartered me on so many occasions that any sane person who run away and seek solace in other pastimes or the more celebrated and salubrious. However any true fan, regardless of affiliation, will set out on that childhood journey that will last a lifetime and will not be swayed by bountiful silvery cabinets but will endure a life of pain and suffering for the taste of rare victory that will be savoured by the masses for the times of today, tomorrow and years to come.

My passion is a lifetime in building and my pain has not been dulled by any spin or proclamations of will. The problems associated with the move to the London Stadium should have been addressed prior to our occupation
not to be readdressed over and over again and used as some bargaining chip to gain favour with the civil unrest within the supporting casts.

The transfer apathy since our removal has begged scrutiny on club financial affairs and why funds have not been made available for greater ambition to buy more and better players, instead of loan deals and ageing has beens. The poor communication is indicative of a club with skeletons in the closet and is an indictment on their shameful performance all this time. Most fans would accept a lot more if honesty was used as the best policy. They would be blinkered if the manager and squad were supported and reinforced in turn as was overtly suggested it would. They would be kinder, amiable and affable if this translated into games with spirited and stellar performances that earned us a tidy return of wins, draws and much less losses.

I have been told to raise a glass and cheer for the lot we have! I have been egged on to accept our plight and rustle up favour for the club board who have ours and the club’s best interests at heart. After all
they are the ‘Custodians’ aren’t they? But I fear I cannot and have been unable for some time too.

This is not a reflection of our latest result or performance, moreover this relates to two seasons of false promises, alienating diatribe and a haze of where the club sits and where it should be. It should have been so much better than it was
and it was never that bad at Upton Park.

I have seen my team come up and go down with many years wanting quality but rarely lacking commitment and desire. That is not to say that we have been blessed with the very best, moreover plagued by talentless toads that I’ve mentally blocked out for my own sake. However, at Upton Park, we knew where we stood and we accepted our plight. We could raise that glass and cheer for the lot we were happy we had
albeit we could show despair too. We moved and it was supposed to be the next big step
but it’s been a step backwards
and if it continues, it could be  a final step back, too far.

There are restitutions that are manageable in the now, there are repairs that do not require diluting nor delays
and there are hands that could be held across the divide that would bring us a togetherness and a united front, that would calm the fears and arrest the smears.

But as with agnostics or atheists, there lacks that one key component that would give us a chance to hope for better times and thus lead many to seek a changing of the guard, to bring in richer fellows with deeper pockets and who would make good all that which ails us. That key ingredient is Faith! And many of the fans have lost that belief since falling into a cellared position and being force fed corporate spin and political doctrine.

This is not a call to march but a cry to never cease seeking accountability until full restitutions are made and the one way mirrors are reverted to allow clear sight of our plight and give our manager and team the strength for the long fight ahead
whether to stay here or ply our trades in the Championship next season.

There may yet be a happy ending to this tale of woe, this 70’s tear jerker that has made us all well up inside and out may eventually bring a smile to our faces. But as the last snows of spring fall upon our journey we pray the boyish neglect is replaced by remorse and ‘leukaemic’ ails are cured for good of the club, the team and the fans.

Jon Pope

By Jon Pope

Use to sit in the BML for 10 years, been a West Ham fan all my life, and my great grandfather was a founder member of the TIW. I also help run the Hammer Chat website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.