Hammers United would like to thank its members and all other supporters who stood together under the banner of ‘West Ham United for Change’ at 1:00pm yesterday afternoon in the Olympic Park, Stratford. It was a display of unity and decorum which received favourable coverage and demonstrated our credibility.
A marvellous gathering in the winter sunshine, with the stadium as its backdrop, saw around 2000 disillusioned and frustrated supporters be counted in to one of the entrances to the protest site. They were there to take this first opportunity to publicly vent their discontent at the abject failure of this current board to deliver against its promises, on a day that saw them reach 10 years of their tenure as custodians of our great club.
There were attempts in the media, from people with connections to the club, to discredit the protest and one such attempt shamefully portrayed this as lynch-mob of a couple of hundred people. Despite this, a good-spirited protest with many families and young children in attendance, saw a clear and firm message sent to the board that this is still our club. We have had enough of the lies and we will no longer tolerate being patronised by a board who treat us with contempt.
A minute’s applause, on the day of the closure of the Memorial Gardens, was led by the Boleyn Poet Danny Fenn, remembering all of those we have lost from the West Ham family, and oh how the gathered crowd did them proud.
Hammers United Chairman Paul “Bubbles” Colborne led the address, and was joined by KUMB’s Graham Howlett, WHUISA’s Sue Watson, as well as our own Andrew Byrne and Stephen “Tross” Cross.
Collectively they spoke of the anger that resides amongst West Ham supporters brought about by a series of undelivered promises including; a botched transition to the London Stadium, clumsy and aggressive stewarding, inept communication on key supporter issues, a lack of real investment into the club, the questionable interest paid to board members on investments made, the renumeration afforded to other board members in stark contrast to their performance against the clubs stated goals and the failings of its undemocratically elected supporters board. This supporters board has been built by the club, for the club and must now be immediately disbanded if a path to change is to be forged.
The theme joining West Ham supporters young and old, is that we are now ‘West Ham United for Change’. As a united support, not individual or divided customers, we will no longer stand idly by while our history and culture are cast aside, our fan base is gentrified and we are pushed out of the club we love.
This was the day the West Ham support collectively poked a finger in the eye of Baroness Brady, and her frankly ridiculous statement that the London Stadium move is the jewel in London’s crown. It is of course no such thing, and as our very own Bubbles closed the protest with a warming rendition of our famous anthem, the corporate spin and pedalled propaganda that has filled the boards bubble has now been well and truly burst.
Our conversations with, and coverage from, the local and national media have been hugely encouraging and despite spurious attempts to contain, constrict and exclude us by those who (for today at least) walk the corridors of power at the club, the supressed voices of the claret and blue faithful are finally united and will be heard.
Yesterday cannot be taken away from us: we have, as we promised we would eleven months ago in The Plaistow Club, united our support. Our future and the survival of our culture, is once more in our own hands.
We would also like to once more re-iterate that we have nothing but support for the manager, his staff and the team, who can count on us from the first to the last whistle. We know they will do the best they can with what they have got, as we look ahead at the fixtures and prepare for a relegation battle.
The battle our membership (which now stands at over 8,000) want us to fight on their behalf goes on and will continue in parallel to this seasons campaign on the pitch.
Our open letter was handed to the club yesterday, and we respectfully await their right to reply. We trust this will be swifter in arriving than the responses we have previously received, or are waiting to receive, from previous communication attempts. We sincerely hope that there is not a move to hide behind any of the “Non-Disclosure Agreement” and “Privacy & Confidentiality” veils that the club, and other organisations which members of our board have sat on, have unfortunately become infamous for.
Meanwhile, as we as a committee prepare to share our next steps and report back to our members, we urge those members to continue to send us their ideas and thoughts. Please use the ‘contact us’ section of our website to get in touch. The committee values your input and always discuss these suggestions at length as, after all, we exist to serve you; our members.
A copy of the open letter handed to the club at the close of yesterdays protest can be viewed on our website.
As always, our strength is our membership and if you haven’t yet spoken to your West Ham friends or family about Hammers United, please ask them to join via the website or the Facebook page.
Your fellow supporters and the future of your club relies on you now, more than ever.
We are West Ham United for Change.
We are Hammers United.
Hammers United Committee
For and on behalf of Hammers United