Good Morning Fellow Hammers,
On what is the last day of yet another year of disappointment for our fanbase.
I sit here today with mixed emotions as I look back on the year.
I am immensely proud of the work my committee and I have put in since the inception of Hammers United in February this year, and the thousands of man hours which has seen our group swell to over seven thousand members.
We have strived over that period to create a group for all Hammers fans, united in their love of our great West Ham.
We are all regular fans, volunteers, with jobs, families and everyday responsibilities like you.
But such was the apathy and frustration of our supporters in the aftermath of the failed protests of 2018, I believed that something had to be done, so in time honoured fashion, I rallied the troops.
The end of a year is often a good time to reflect, and what I have noticed is that some quarters seem to have forgotten the roots of West Ham and its supporters.
This is a club whose supporters survived abject poverty in the Old East End, whose founding father’s built warships on the cutting winds of the Bow Creek Shipyard, who made great personal sacrifice to go on strike to achieve better pay and conditions, leading Arthur Hills to create the sports, social and leisure facilities from which our great club was born.
How disappointed he would be to see the disgraceful displacement of thousands of time served fans of the club, with associations that go back generations, many to those very shipyards, who have paid the ultimate price for the scandalous manner in which the transition from our spiritual home, The Boleyn Ground in Upton Park, a few miles across the Borough to the Olympic Park in Stratford has been handled.
The price of affording the casuall arm-chair types and the next generation of fans that David Sullivan has stated he wanted to introduce to football as he strives to grow the fanbase should never have been the heart and soul loyal support of this football club who are throwing it in in their thousands.
It breaks my heart to see it.
Fathers and sons, Mothers and daughters, mates who have sang side by side and travelled the country together. . . unable to recognise the club they love and being discarded like old rubbish.
The promises made by those custodians of the club, of next level football and a stadium fitting of a top six club, the ability to attract the very best players and a home which we would all be proud of. . . . A ten point plan laid out to win hearts and minds. . . statements made claiming to understand the responsibilities that come with having to deliver such promises to the fans and working with them.
They remain undelivered.
Our great club is nowhere near the next level.
A club mandated undemocratic construct is positioned as the “Official” supporters board, whilst democratic, independent and affiliated supporters groups who represent thousands of fans are circumvented and ignored. Our custodians and their decisions have once again led us perilously close to a relegation battle as we end the year one place outside the bottom three. On introspection, the investment made is little more than an illusion once you examine it, and the return on that investment in footballing terms is paltry at best.
This club is a club surviving, not striving for the next level, and this seasons campaign is typical of a survivalist mentality which focuses on the consumerisation of if its fans and how it can squeeze the next pound note out of them, instead of delivering the promises made on which they agreed to leave their spiritual home.
Well as we reach the end of this year, Hammers United, thousands of our members, and many thousands more have had enough.
Let me be clear, we will always support the team, and wish our new manager the best of luck.
But today as the year ends, the time has come for the custodians of our club to be held accountable by its long-suffering supporters.
You will all be aware that we have been inundated with requests to protest and take action against the current custodians of the club and how seriously we take our positions of responsibility.
Accordingly, after much consideration and exploration with our legal advisors, the police and the FSA, and in an effort to avoid any unsavoury repeats of the past, as Chairman of Hammers United, I can confirm that we will be holding a static protest at the home game against Everton on Saturday 18th January.
This is in parallel with our on-going efforts to establish change through dialogue with the club, who we are meeting again shortly.
The full details of the protest will be available in the coming days as we look to mobilise our membership.
I can also confirm that a request to march has been made today and that remains a real option.
We hope this march will see not just our members, but all West Ham supporters, young and old, their families, their fan groups, independent media outlets. . . those who have felt they have had to walk away. . . all of us Hammers. . . United, as we take this opportunity to voice your dissatisfaction against the current custodians of this great club, who have over promised, under delivered and strung on our supporters for too long.
We want no more than what was promised, the next level, and we are duty bound as supporters of this club to hold its custodians accountable.
On behalf of Hammers United, I wish you all a Happy New Year, and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible of the 18th January.
Paul Colborne (Chairman)
United We Stand. . . United For Change. . . We Are Hammers United.