Much has been the commotion over the last few months of the West Ham woes, were of the failings of owners, the transplant of ghosts into a shell and the dwindling fortunes of prophets…not to mention a squad of treacle tarts that were invited to the ambassador’s reception but forgot to bring the Italian chocolates with them. However, should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should the fear of failure mean all should fear the fate that awaits? I think not!
Of course relegation may have catastrophic ramifications for the Club and for the fans too, however just like any overgrown scrub land…a good fire sale may make all the difference and entice new growth. Of course in the short term, there will be financial hurdles to overcome and salaries that would need to be cut back…but this is not the first time the club has danced with devilish frights. Both fans and club have seen it before, have felt the pain prior and there is little value in claiming mercy when all parties have contributed to the malaise that has bedded into the Hammers’ stronghold.
Whether manager and players will come and go in the summer, the fact remains that West Ham are weak, broken and it requires a big shock to the system…irrespective of Saturday’s heroics. There must be a total overhaul from within the club to start out on the right path…and do not let survival in the Premier League cloud judgement here. The owners may feel under huge duress to leave, but as long as they stand as one, can see their values and stock maintained, then a run to the hills is as likely as a Bobby Charlton combover coming back into fashion.
Their purpose now can only be to remove themselves from the front line, get the club affairs and systems in order, employ the right calibre personnel in key positions and let the reanimation begin with fans ready to pick up the pieces, show their support and fight as one. If relegation be the unwelcome dinner guest, then they must take their licks, bite their tongues and feel their pockets relieved of weighty coin, whilst fans will shrug off pressing incapacities and take strength in new adventures into uncharted waters.
The fans that flooded into the new stadium…that they banked upon would surely thin and scatter to the four winds, but the lifers will remain as loyal subjects to the colours and never to masters so despised. The Premiership may be gone but the support of the committed never fades and will follow to the lowest depths as a matter of choice does not exist, for such devotion in imprinted upon DNA as eyes were first opened.
The performance against Southampton, especially in the first half demonstrated that the players possess within themselves the ability to turn on the style when their confidence is high. Unfortunately it hasn’t been seen nearly enough for two seasons and this has compounded the woes since the move to the London Stadium. Of course a winning team would lift the spirits of any hardened soul, but this does not mean that all fans become amnesiacs overnight. The problems in and around the club run deep, the wounds have not healed and streams of tears and blood have seeped from perceived betrayals.
For David Gold, David Sullivan and even Karren Brady would trust the support to hold them to account now more than ever. The damage has been done, the lies have been told, the ambitions have been failed and monies have been added to war chests with seals never broken. The overwhelming majority of fans would differentiate between team and club ownership right now, would stand resolute and defiant but would also stand fast in loyal support for the players and their tasks at hand.
The troubled trio have come to realise that their prosperous dreams are tied in with the survival in the Premier League, however they may once again consider any lucky escape as vindication of their battle plan…minimal expenditure, minimal support and mass distraction. This will not be allowed any longer by the masses as will no amount of diatribe will be tolerated either. The team
are now entering their toughest challenge with the remaining seven games, however the board will face theirs, in the summer when the realities of their deeds would come home to roost.
The Olympic legacy has become the drama that many wish would just evaporate from mind and certainly from tax payer’s burden. Politicians are gathering, encircling the West Ham wagons as the London Stadium interested parties would seek a moderation of deals to ensure viability…however the club have secured rock solid footing and will continue to be the thorn in their sides. Whether it is stewarding, the cost of adjustments for varying events or simply the responsibility of dealing with an arrangement that was mismanaged by a buffoonish mayoral incumbent…or the spectre of court battles to determine resolutions, the time is fast approaching where the West Ham long ball game may indeed pay off, but not without many injured victims along the way.
Surely this is not a situation that will be allowed to continue, both financially nor politically, whether West Ham Fans like it or not, the club have embroiled them into this fiasco and whilst there are minor rectifications that can be addressed immediately, unless West Ham buy the stadium then the dissatisfaction from home support and scornful address from political gazers will continue with alarming intensity.
For most West Ham fans would now readily accept that the club owners are only in this footballing game for the money and the power which it enables them to wield. Of course there is a business element to their manoeuvres, however they would argue that their interests are the same as the club’s interests and they share those with the loyal fanbase. However, already fans are vowing not to renew their season tickets and many will hold prejudice until the end of their reign.
The owners would claim a long line of those waiting, but fail to grasp the fragility of that queue which is determined by regular battles with the nation’s elite. The owners would accept, as do all fans, that surviving in the Premier League is all about the financial reward…whether there is a capacity crowd or not, whether there is a 50,000 waiting list for season tickets or not. The crowds would be split and numbers would be cut in half if the club were relegated…and the owners would then plead with fans to return… “If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me!” as gleefully sang by Peter Cetera in his Chicago days. In fact, if relegated and without TV revenues and a 50% reduction in season tickets…as many would fear…the biggest part taken would be a huge slice of the money cake…and that is all they would really care about!
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