Filed: Tuesday, 24th August 2004
By: Graeme Howlett
West Ham could be looking at their first sub-10,000 home crowd for several years, should forecasts predicting tonight's attendance against Southend United come true.
Hammers fans are set to vote with their feet by staying away from tonight's Carling Cup first round clash in their droves.
Angered by the club's desperate attempts to stave off financial meltdown at the club by parting with the likes of Michael Carrick, David Connolly and Jobi McAnuff, the recent form of the team and ticket pricing policy, supporters on web forums are already insisting that they will boycott the game - and that can only be bad news for the board.
The two home league games thus far this season have netted an average crowd of approximately 24,000 - more than 11,000 below stadium capacity (and comfortably within capacity of the old ground before the £32m West Stand was built).
Other supporters are also refusing to go to the game in what they see as a protest against the current administration, headed by Chairman Terry Brown.
However Essex-based Southend are expected to bump the gate up considerably by bringing some 3,500 fans to the game.
* Exactly five years ago today West Ham beat Metz 3-1 in the second leg of the final of the Intertoto Cup to gain entry to the UEFA Cup for the first time in the club's history.
Two years ago to the day Freddie Kanoute missed a penalty against Arsenal in a game which is seen by many as the catalyst for our relegation that season.
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