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Irish boy

A Great Article On West Ham Situation.

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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.

A memorable picture of the time showed Julian Dickspleading 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.

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.

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. 

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.  

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.

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. 

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.

 

 

 

west ham.jpg

 

 

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Agree great article and I knew that. Remember that bond era well.

Bloke who did it is a respectable 60+ Essex businessman with his own successful travel company.

He does have a very valid point BTW. 58,000 fans turned up for that Burnley game amazing potential fan base.

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Just now, nampla69 said:

Agree great article and I knew that. Remember that bond era well.

Bloke who did it is a respectable 60+ Essex businessman with his own successful travel company.

He does have a very valid point BTW. 58,000 fans turned up for that Burnley game amazing potential fan base.

Sad mate, and sadly indicative of football nowadays ...

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On 3/17/2018 at 2:17 PM, nampla69 said:

Agree great article and I knew that. Remember that bond era well.

Bloke who did it is a respectable 60+ Essex businessman with his own successful travel company.

He does have a very valid point BTW. 58,000 fans turned up for that Burnley game amazing potential fan base.

Big support in Essex for west ham.

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could never see the attraction to west ham , small club with a small minded ambition in my eyes .

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1 hour ago, mulphy said:

could never see the attraction to west ham , small club with a small minded ambition in my eyes .

56,000 sell out every single week and massive fan base all over East London and Essex. Sell out for even the shite teams in a badly designed stadium.

But so badly run it is heartbreaking.

Remember we won the World Cup in 1966. Moore, Hurst and Peters now they could play. :gathering:

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It's a shame to see historic old grounds like Upton Park go. Goodison is next to go, love a trip to goodison, what shame.

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Many of the new stadiums are poorly designed due to the PC nature of not just the game but the business model behind it.

Emirates, Olympic Stadium, all these new ground are too far away from the pitch. You want the crowd right on top of it in order to create an atmosphere, intimidation is fine part of having your own manor.

These new stadiums invite a family style setup and opposing teams can make it their own and drown out the home support due to the poor design. Falkirk Stadium is the same, horrible setup.

Give me opposing fans separated by a cage and safe standing any day. I was at an Athletico Madrid game, the away fans are in a corner with chicken wire round them. Seville scored in the last minute they were climbing up it, was great to see.

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Upton Park had one of the best ever atmospheres ...... my Paddy old man took me and my brother few weeks after the World Cup in 1966.

Baking hot day in August. Moore, Hurst and Peters ran on first ......they reckon they let in 65,000 people that day v Chelsea.

Ground was designed of 36,000 max. It was terrifying at times .

Typical West Ham they lost 1-2.  :458:

Strange thing about West Ham is the incredible loyalty they get from people like myself. No other London club like it apart from maybe QPR and Fulham.

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Spot on MM.

They are trying to neutralise the atmosphere at games. They don't want any non-PC chants or songs. No swearing etc. Fulham last season the f**kers tried serving £5 craft ales and boxes of strawberries to 8,000 geordies.

We went round and cleaned out the shops of drink and lobbed it over the wall, cops started trying to nick people but there was too many fans.

Unfortunately it's gone so far now that there is no going back. The lure of international TV money is too strong. Mixed seating at an FA cup final, absolutely bonkers.

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Hoping my home town club Partick Thistle can overcome a 2.1 deficet to over come Livingston in their play off which kicks off shortly.

Edited by Al McReady

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6 minutes ago, Al McReady said:

Hoping my home town club Partick Thistle can overcome a 2.1 deficet to over come Livingston in there play off which kicks off shortly.

2 hideous clubs.

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12 minutes ago, dcfc2007 said:

Spot on MM.

They are trying to neutralise the atmosphere at games. They don't want any non-PC chants or songs. No swearing etc. Fulham last season the f**kers tried serving £5 craft ales and boxes of strawberries to 8,000 geordies.

We went round and cleaned out the shops of drink and lobbed it over the wall, cops started trying to nick people but there was too many fans.

Unfortunately it's gone so far now that there is no going back. The lure of international TV money is too strong. Mixed seating at an FA cup final, absolutely bonkers.

No way was there mixed seating yesterday!?

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Just now, Midnight Moon said:

No way was there mixed seating yesterday!?

Both clubs had their official allocations and then the allocation for corporate sponsors etc. Plenty of man united and Chelsea tops mixed in around the half way line.

I would love to see that in a millwall v west ham final or a Newcastle v Sunderland final.

Champions league final both sets of fans only got an allocation of 13,000 and the ground holds close to 60,000 I think.

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Just now, dcfc2007 said:

Both clubs had their official allocations and then the allocation for corporate sponsors etc. Plenty of man united and Chelsea tops mixed in around the half way line.

I would love to see that in a millwall v west ham final or a Newcastle v Sunderland final.

Champions league final both sets of fans only got an allocation of 13,000 and the ground holds close to 60,000 I think.

I knew that about finals as that's pretty much standard these days. The mixed seating is baffling to say the least, getting more and more like shitty rugby.

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3 hours ago, Al McReady said:

Hoping my home town club Partick Thistle can overcome a 2.1 deficet to over come Livingston in their play off which kicks off shortly.

:wallbash:

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8 hours ago, nampla69 said:

56,000 sell out every single week and massive fan base all over East London and Essex. Sell out for even the shite teams in a badly designed stadium.

But so badly run it is heartbreaking.

Remember we won the World Cup in 1966. Moore, Hurst and Peters now they could play. :gathering:

yes sean but in measuring them against my team with something like a 100 million fan base world wide .

we possibly have a bigger fan base in fact probably have a bigger fan base in london itself then west ham .

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8 hours ago, nampla69 said:

Upton Park had one of the best ever atmospheres ...... my Paddy old man took me and my brother few weeks after the World Cup in 1966.

Baking hot day in August. Moore, Hurst and Peters ran on first ......they reckon they let in 65,000 people that day v Chelsea.

Ground was designed of 36,000 max. It was terrifying at times .

Typical West Ham they lost 1-2.  :458:

Strange thing about West Ham is the incredible loyalty they get from people like myself. No other London club like it apart from maybe QPR and Fulham.

Not true Arsenal have a very loyal fan base , QPR and Fulham .. Fulham used to get 8000 gates , I went a few times a pal of mine  was a good friend of Jeff Hopkins...went to a few evening games.. 

I always had a soft spot for West Ham , I guess the World Cup... Funny enough the only ground I was ever searched at ... between 84 and 87 ..... as I remember where I was living ... a mate picked me up...

People like yourself ??  

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8 hours ago, nampla69 said:

56,000 sell out every single week and massive fan base all over East London and Essex. Sell out for even the shite teams in a badly designed stadium.

But so badly run it is heartbreaking.

Remember we won the World Cup in 1966. Moore, Hurst and Peters now they could play. :gathering:

Well with Orient there is not much choice for East London or Essex fans... 

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16 minutes ago, thinkingallowed said:

Bookies have stopped taking bets on Pellegrini being the next West Ham manager.

He should be a good fit for them.

Hopefully that means rafa stays at in toon.

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30 minutes ago, Parky said:

Not true Arsenal have a very loyal fan base , QPR and Fulham .. Fulham used to get 8000 gates , I went a few times a pal of mine  was a good friend of Jeff Hopkins...went to a few evening games.. 

I always had a soft spot for West Ham , I guess the World Cup... Funny enough the only ground I was ever searched at ... between 84 and 87 ..... as I remember where I was living ... a mate picked me up...

People like yourself ??  

We played Fulham we had 8,000 in the away end and must have had about 2,000 around the home end. A lot of Fulham 'fans' became true blue Chelsea's when Russian money poured in.

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8 hours ago, dcfc2007 said:

We played Fulham we had 8,000 in the away end and must have had about 2,000 around the home end. A lot of Fulham 'fans' became true blue Chelsea's when Russian money poured in.

All teams have loyal fans and fairweather fans .... Makes me laugh people saying our fans are better than yours... Using QPR and Fulham as a reference to great fans is bizarre IMHO...

 

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9 hours ago, thinkingallowed said:

Bookies have stopped taking bets on Pellegrini being the next West Ham manager.

Did you see the West Ham guy sacked for saying ‘Don’t sign any more Africans , when not in the team they are trouble ‘ I always liked West Ham but never knew they were racist ?

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