The John Lyall Gates at the entrance to the Boleyn Ground

I can sense something in this darkness. I cannot see, touch or smell but I can hear distant cries for help and I can taste a sourness for masked truths and covering over of evidentiary. I am barely awake but I am aware! My hands are still tied behind my back and I am gagged with putrid rags that urge me to vomit. I cannot move…I am imprisoned until freed so my struggle continues until these shackles are broken and the walls that surround me come tumbling down.


“Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.” – Lysander Spooner


In the modern era of football, you might think the game has been lost to the money men, the television rights and agent provocateurs who would belittle our worth and ignore our pains and sacrifice. Yes, that may be grandstanding somewhat, however the truth is in there somewhere. Perhaps this is an indictment on modern society and values whereupon people are allowed to get away with shoddy work and unscrupulous methods whilst doing little to repair and much to justify how great they really are.


Football and West Ham United have been my passion for the best part of my life, however I am no island in that regard. Perhaps it is the wisdom of maturing years but the club I once knew has gradually been eroded away and I can see right through it now. My love for it and the game has not changed nor diminished, however I gaze upon its workings with greater scrutiny and am less likely to be won over by words of corporate comfort and marketing jargon. I look to the facts, performance, results and the manner in which business is being done.

I do not hold the owners nor the club in contempt for the farcical move to the London Stadium however I will hold them accountable. I cannot impose my will upon them, nor can I force them to leave and bring in newer and better owners…if ever there were any? Collectively we can be united to show the club owners that as supporters we will not lie down and be rolled over anymore…the line in the sand has been drawn and there must be wholesale changes to correct ongoing issues.

Whilst I concede that not all or possibly even most of the fanbase will be driven to vent or march to demonstrate displeasure with the board and the management of club finances, it is an unmistakable truth that there is a large percentage of fans that have become disenfranchised and more have become disillusioned with the lack of activity in successive transfer windows…all being compounded by another poor season…regardless if some have made last minute changes of opinion.

David Moyes has rallied to steady the ship of dysfunctional men and the likes of Noble and Collins have arisen once more to wear heart on sleeve and play with passion for a cause we can all identify with. Arnautovic will lead from the front whilst elder statesmen continue to show the youth in the ranks how the game should be played and how determination should be dealt with vigorous application. It began to work for a period of time but one starts to question again whether the formula and application is still functioning, especially after two successive poor performances.


I value all opinions…especially those which are contrary to mine. I want to see the other side of the argument and understand why many would feel content with our precarious posture and performances that have barely registered on any football folly richter scale. I want to know what they see in the new stadium that is so much better than anything else before and why they are content with the level of investment that has diminished in relative terms since our switch.

Our game is divided by glorious opinion and each poor decision and performance…or result can be dissected and discussed in equal measure as with any good or the great. Television angles, goal line technology and VAR may indeed give us the correct answers but in so doing may act to sterilise the game and our experience of it. That experience is more than just the ninety minutes, it is more than watching it on TV or within a stadium…it is the life force that draws you near and holds your attention for a lifetime filled with joys and with sorrows.

This sterility has entered our club and the epitome of that is the stadium that has yet to wrap itself around us all…’All’ being the operative word here. Once it is treated and looks like our home, then we will be on our way. Once the club come clean about the financial fog that has led to transfer lethargy and apathy, then we can all arise in unison and comprehend our position and plight.

The tables have turned and masses of fans have said, “Enough is enough!” It matters not whether we all agree with each other on the minutiae but what really does matter if the glaring voids can be bridged with honesty, transparency and greater commitment. Can the owners deliver their financial affairs for all to see, can they act to finally appease the fans, act more graciously and professionally and will there be more ambition to see us rebound whether we survive or fall? If this is not forthcoming, then will they act in the best interests of the club and seek new buyers who can take the reins and drive us forward with a hefty mush and push?

For many fans the owners have acted with a total disregard of what best suits the club and have only served their own interests. That point is a matter of opinion and whilst I do not begrudge any owners making a decent return on their investment, this should also be matched in a commitment to drive us forward as was heavily implied…but we have gone backwards with our pedal to the metal.


Whilst there is distrust there is also hope that the situation can change. Will the cancellation of the original march be indeed the right move to allow room and time for the club to make amends…or will the reorganised march by other parties achieve all that is intended, what ever that might be…I assume not? However, it is an important device to draw attention, to raise an eyebrow and to seek justice from those who would not play on a level field. Many would believe there are tyrants at the helm who have acted like prima donnas wearing tiaras. We need sutures to heal the wounds between the club and amongst fans…and we need a good helping of Tiramisu to pick us up off the floor to aid our recovery.


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.

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