In football you have two stories: one is on the pitch and one is off it. This season West Ham have had negative stories on and off it.
It was clear that after a decent first season in charge Manuel Pellegrini had lost focus and the Chilean was soon sacked. But the club owners brought in David Moyes, he who was West Ham manager before Pellegrini, he who gave a winning return of just 29% and he who was deemed no good and was sacked in favour of Pellegrini. Talk about taking steps backwards.
Results under Moyes have been poor, bar his first game when the club beat Bournemouth 4-0, they also beat Gillingham in the FA Cup. Since then they have lost numerous games, the highlight being a 4-1 beating against Leicester and they have been knocked out of the FA Cup. Under Pellegrini the side were poor but were above the relegation zone, now they are in it and 18th what does that make Moyes’ status?
Fans have not been happy and this week there was a controversial incident which saw a long standing season ticket holder banned from home and away games this season. He had volunteered to be a flag bearer on the touchline, but there seemed something else behind his reasoning. That was to show the TV cameras his t shirt which read GSB out. That stands for club owners David Sullivan and David Gold and the B is a reference to Karen Brady who has also presided over the club. The board were not happy, wrote the fan a letter and now he is banned for the season.
It was a one man protest but much of the fans it seems are with him, and they want Sullivan and Gold to sell the club. It seems understandable too as so many mistakes in the transfer and recruitment of a manager have been made. From the outside at least there does seem to be a lack of ambition. There have already been silent protests and it is getting worse and worse and will do.
There is a plan to release black balloons when the club take on Liverpool at Anfield and in their next game at home against Southampton there will be even more protests. The pressure will be on Sullivan and Gold, after all who would want to stay and own a club where the fans don’t want or like you? Mike Ashley at Newcastle could sympathise with this but the anger of the West Ham fans seems more deeper and genuine.
At the root of the anger, and perhaps this isn’t every fan, but it is the stadium move. Did any long standing fan really want to move from the Boleyn Ground. If so they would have wanted a modern stadium but without the gaps to the pitch. Many fans have said there is no atmosphere at the stadium any more and in fact no home advantage as clubs like coming to play at the Olympic Stadium. Others have said that sound does not travel well and so when Hammers fans sing and try to cheer on their team it gets taken away.
Right now it feels as if West Ham need a new beginning and that is a damning verdict given that the stadium was supposed to be that.
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