WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
24%
  
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
9%
  
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
5%
  
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
36%
  
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done
25%
  



Irish Hammer 7:31 Mon Aug 2
‘We want them to sell up’ – A day with West Ham’s protesters
(Written early 2020)

We want them to sell up’ – A day with West Ham’s protesters

It’s 12pm and more than 200 West Ham United fans are at the Victoria Tavern Pub. A supporter puts down his can of beer and sings:

“Fuck off Gold and Sully, where’s our fucking money? It’s all lies, lies, lies. It’s all lies, lies, lies.”

Within seconds, others join in unison and a banner which reads “GSB out” – GSB stands for Gold, Sullivan, Brady — appears with black balloons. This is just a taster of things to come.

The Victoria Tavern pub is a three-minute walk from Plaistow station and supporters are here to protest against the board. They vented their frustration towards Karren Brady, David Gold and David Sullivan before the Everton game in January. But there is a bigger turnout today. At 12:15pm the pub reaches full capacity and fans leave to meet other supporters at the first meet-up point on the Greenway footpath.

We walk up Upper Road and there are more than 1,000 people chanting. According to Hammers United, around 8,000 people attend the protest in total by the end of the day. David Marshall, a PE teacher in the local area and season ticket holder, is happy with what he sees.

“I think it’s great that a lot of people are here because we all want them out,” he says. “They promised us a dream, made us leave a ground that we loved and took us to that shit stadium. The three of them are business people and they’re only here to make money. So we’re doing peaceful protests, nothing violent, we just want people to see that we don’t like the board and we want them to sell up.”

At the end of the 2015-16 season under Slaven Bilic, West Ham United finished an impressive seventh, above Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton. It was supposed to be the start of a period of sustained success for the club under the former owners of Birmingham City. Instead, the club sit inside the relegation zone (they will be out of it by the end of the day on goal difference) and have managed just two wins in their last 13 league games.

There has been poor recruitment — Simone Zaza, Jonathan Calleri, Carlos Sanchez and Samir Nasri are just four that spring to mind — not to mention a muddled scouting system and continued disenchantment over the stadium.

When this year’s accounts showed that Karren Brady had received pay of £1.136 million from the club, few were impressed.

Four police officers are following the crowd, regularly giving updates on their radios. Once we approach 100 Upper Road, we turn right and walk along the 4.3-mile footpath. It is popular for joggers and bike riders but today it is reserved for West Ham fans.

Neil Webster, a retired plumber who lives in Hackney, is wearing a navy beanie, black jacket and a claret and blue scarf. This is his second protest and he plans to attend more in the coming months.

“We’re just airing our feelings,” he says with a smile. “We have a board that promised us a dream but sold us a nightmare. I went to the Liverpool game for the black balloon protest. The club offered supporters free coaches but it was too little, too late.

“These coaches are half empty and fans would rather pay £40 to get on another one than have something free from them. In my honest opinion, the only way to really protest is for everyone not to go to the stadium. But that will never happen because people want to watch the team.”

Less than halfway through the walk Andrew Byrne, a member of the Hammers United committee, tells supporters to wait to allow more fans to join. The songs continue:

“West Ham United, We Want Our Club Back”

Then a defiant rendition of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”.

The banners are increasing: “Brady, Sullivan, Gold Next Level? Lying, Thieving, Cheats” and “Run Like A Circus”.

We walk for another five minutes and Paul “Bubbles” Colborne, Hammers United chairman, thanks everyone for attending. Colborne was banned from the London Stadium for planting a corner flag into the centre circle during West Ham’s game against Burnley in March 2018 when protests turned ugly and the owners had to be escorted out of the directors’ box by security.

The chants get louder as we approach the ground and as we approach the end of the footpath, Byrne switches on his microphone. He tells supporters with banners to go towards the front to catch the attention of a group of photographers.

One fan is holding a purple flare while a police officer is on his radio reassuring his colleagues the situation is not dangerous. The crowd walks towards Marshgate Lane and more fans join. We walk towards the gravel area, with the stadium in the background, and Byrne tells supporters he wants to wait for everyone to join up before he makes his speech.

After a 10-minute pause, he climbs on to his two-step ladder and begins. “They said we are causing a negative atmosphere at the football club,” says Byrne. “That we’ve affected the players and we’re not supporting the team. Before the Liverpool game the protest was coordinated, peaceful and it had a clear message. During the game our support was strong and after the game, what did those players do? They didn’t run off down the tunnel, they stood there right in front of the away fans. So don’t tell me that we’re affecting the players.”

Colborne also vents his frustrations. “We were told that West Ham’s fanbase was dead. We were told the West Ham family was finished. Well today we’ve proved them wrong. Quick question, is West Ham here?”

The listening crowd shout an emphatic “yes” in reply.

“Gold, Sullivan, Brady you have got to go and go quickly. Friends, I’ll tell you my dream. There’s so many people here that don’t go to football any more because they hate that soulless bowl. It’s horrible and my dream is that the 20,000 West Ham fans who have walked away come back. How do we get them back? We need new owners that will sit down with the fans and make things better.”

The board will make the argument that when they took over in January 2010, the club was £110 million in debt and heading for administration and that now it is stable. West Ham is, according to Forbes, the 17th most valuable team in the world, largely down to Premier League money and an increase in commercial partners. The club care too and £28 million will be spent by 2021 in the local community.

They will argue that they are trying to communicate with fans but Hammers United and West Ham United Independent Supporters Association turned down a meeting with Sullivan, Gold and Brady last week, which led to the event being postponed. The club are planning to overhaul their Official Supporters’ Board ahead of another attempt to meet at the end of the season.

The chairmen and vice-chairman say they are committed to constructive engagement with supporters but want to have dialogue with all supporters’ groups rather than just some. The board insist they will attend the rescheduled meeting and have committed to answer all questions put to them.

For many, that is not enough.


It’s the day after a much-needed win over Southampton — one that was soundtracked by typically raucous support from the fans. The atmosphere was electric at times, mostly through the outpouring of relief but also because some nice football was played. But does that mean the protests will go away? Does that mean they were a waste of time?

Some fans feel the protests are unfair and counter-productive, that you can’t protest against the club and still support the team. Some are worried it could impact West Ham’s chances of survival. Sue Watson, WHUISA chair, disagrees.

“The black balloon protest at Liverpool was over before the game started,” she says. “Ahead of the Southampton game, the speeches were away from the stadium and ended with calls to support the team. Mark Noble said after the game that the crowd were right behind the players. The performance showed desire, commitment, focus and strength. Overall the team pulled together and put in a shift and got the points.”

Alex Taylor, a lawyer, agrees. “The protests genuinely have no connection to whether West Ham win or lose,” he says. “The results are completely separate. We want competent owners, who listen to the fans, who invest their own money into the club, who stop creaming off interest from loans and who don’t disrespect their own fans.

“The game against Southampton was the best we’ve played for a while. [Lukasz] Fabianski, [Michail] Antonio and others have all said how brilliant the fans were. Hammers United have made it clear that any and all protests will be conducted outside the stadium and before matches so this argument has no credibility. Our two best performances have been after the two protests.”

With further protests planned, what happens now?

“Credit to Hammers United for giving the West Ham family a chance to say enough is enough,” says Watson. “We have a majority shareholder that involves himself in football matters rather than having a director of football who can plan for strategic team development. One of the speakers called it right. We were here long before they were here and we will be here long after they’ve gone.”

The question is how long will that be?

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Dandy Lyon 5:12 Fri Aug 6
Re: ‘We want them to sell up’ – A day with West Ham’s protesters
Cheers Irish

TJD 4:12 Wed Aug 4
Re: ‘We want them to sell up’ – A day with West Ham’s protesters
The last season most have disappointed a lot of people.

whu 12:59 Wed Aug 4
Re: ‘We want them to sell up’ – A day with West Ham’s protesters
a well written piece

IRONS !!

GreenStreetPlayer 8:36 Mon Aug 2
Re: ‘We want them to sell up’ – A day with West Ham’s protesters
Seems the best fans can do to help this along (ones who live in the area) is putting pressure on the Mayor or whoever to save taxpayers money so the stadium is sold to GSB for a £1.
Then we might get some movement from potential buyers with that asset.

Thanks Irish 8:08 Mon Aug 2
Re: ‘We want them to sell up’ – A day with West Ham’s protesters
Thanks

Lily Hammer 8:03 Mon Aug 2
Re: ‘We want them to sell up’ – A day with West Ham’s protesters
Good read about a good day that points out how wrong the cuntflapist opinion is, that the protests somehow damage the players’ confidence.

POPPYCOCK!

chav_corner 7:44 Mon Aug 2
Re: ‘We want them to sell up’ – A day with West Ham’s protesters
A day that made a lot of us feel a lot better.Long Live West Ham.





Copyright 2006 WHO.NET | Powered by: