You will be aware that Hammers United and WHUISA wrote jointly to West Ham challenging their refusal to meet Independent West Ham fans groups.
West Ham’s reply is reproduced below:-
Dear Lee and John,
Thank you for your email.
We have openly offered the opportunity to engage with all West Ham United official and independent supporters groups.
Both Hammers United and WHUISA can apply for a position on the Official Supporters’ Board (OSB) and I have also offered that you can put your members in touch with me personally should they require assistance with individual enquiries or issues. I will always do my utmost to help our supporters.
We want to engage with all supporters, including independent supporters groups. I acknowledge your request to meet the Board, however, the Board will not meet every supporters group individually upon request due to the sheer number of requests that we receive. All supporters groups are welcome to apply for a position on the OSB and this offer has been made to Hammers United and WHUISA, which I understand you have both chosen to decline. The OSB does provide you the opportunity to share and voice the suggestions, views and concerns of your members directly to the Board of Directors, senior management and stadium partners, and we welcome applications from every West Ham United official and independent supporters group.
The OSB is not ‘one group’ of supporters. It is designed to be a collective board of supporters and supporters groups, bringing everyone together – we cannot and will not favour one supporters group or supporters view, suggestion or opinion over another. The OSB includes specific representatives from different ages, backgrounds and equality and diversity perspectives, as well as supporters from the Disabled Supporters’ Board, Junior Supporters’ Board, West Ham United Official Supporters’ Club, Bondholders, and International Supporters Clubs. Claret and Hugh also hold a position on the OSB to represent the views of their members and we created a separate and simple application process for all independent supporters groups to apply. All supporters and supporters groups are offered the chance to apply for the OSB, there are of course some exemptions in terms of applications that are considered, for example, if supporters are serving a ban or suspension or they are under investigation for offences relating to football.
We welcome and value the views of all supporters equally, no matter who they represent. We believe that each of the representatives and supporters groups I have mentioned should have equal access and opportunity to have their voices heard at the highest level of the Club, and we believe the current model provides that platform for our supporters. We cannot favour one supporters group over another or meet separately with certain groups. If you wish to meet with the Board of Directors, I’d welcome and encourage all supporters groups to apply for the OSB for the 2019/2020 season. We absolutely respect that not every supporters opinion will be the same, nor will each supporter hold an affiliation to each and every supporters group in existence. It is my responsibility as Supporter Services Manager to listen to, consult with, and try to assist all supporters, wherever I possibly can, and to ensure we have a meaningful model for engagement, consultation, and structured dialogue that reflects these values.
I believe the current model offers equal access and opportunity from all perspectives and provides multiple ways for all supporters, on the OSB and the wider fanbase, to be involved with the Club and to have their voices heard at the highest level, both with West Ham and our stadium partners. Supporters can also contact the Supporter Services team directly to discuss, raise, and share their feedback or concerns and we will always use this to try and enhance match days and any of our services for our supporters.
We have committed to reviewing the process at the end of each season in consultation with the supporter representatives and supporters groups on the OSB, and will be doing so over the summer in advance of the new season.
I trust this explains our approach and desire to bring all supporters and supporters groups together and to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to have their say in the Club they love, regardless of who they represent.
Thank you for your support.
Hammers United have forwarded this to our legal team for perusal and will be contacting the F.S.F.on Monday to discuss. Our Committee will take on board subsequent recommendations on how best to proceed and act accordingly.
This is of course a joint venture with WHIUSA and we have forwarded them West Ham’s reply. We have asked them to telephone our Secretary to discuss a continued joint approach. We will then make what will have to be our final approach to West Ham.
We believe that we have acted honourably and with patience in our correspondence with West Ham which has now gone back and forth for 3 months. They have never shifted from their hard-line position which basically is to hide behind their flawed O.S.B.
We now have to consider the possibility that West Ham will not change their stance and Hammers United Committee will be discussing this possibility as a matter of urgency. Should the final approach fall on deaf ears then perhaps the time for diplomacy will have ended and the time for action will be upon us.
We will keep you informed.
Hammers United Committee.