- by Julian Dicks
- Filed: Friday, 7th December 2012
It's with great pleasure that we welcome West Ham United FC legend Julian Dicks to KUMB.com. Julian shares his thoughts with the readers of Knees up Mother Brown on a regular basis via his KUMB column, the latest of which begins with JD's thoughts on the Olympic Stadium...
Stratford here we come
This week, West Ham were confirmed as 'preferred bidders' for the Olympic Stadium. I love Upton Park, but football moves on. Hopefully for West Ham a bigger ground equals more fans which means more money for us to compete with the bigger teams and perhaps get better players in.
I think West Ham will find it difficult to attract 60,000 fans but one way is to make it affordable for people. If you're looking at £30 for a family of four, then fine. It's no good saying that tickets for a family are going to cost £80 because it's just too much, many people can't afford it. If they want to fill the stadium then they've got to make it as cheap as possible.
I think people will go if the tickets are cheap enough. I've got friends who can't afford to go and watch them play because it's too expensive. So if you say we've got seats that are ten quid poeple will go and watch it - even if you're going to be quite a way from the pitch . Other than that, they're never going to be able to watch a game.
Some people have left because the football was no good - and I'm going back a few years now - but many can't afford to go. Others have got families now. But it's not just about going to the game; you have to get there, the kids want a programme plus something to eat and drink. Before you know it you've done £150 - and some people don't earn that in a week.
Karren Brady's announcement that supporters will be polled was welcome, but you get the impression that the board will go ahead regardless of the fans' view. They've got an agenda and know what they want to do.
About 70 per cent of people I speak to don't want to go to the Olympic Stadium; there's not too many who are in favour of it. David Gold might say that 75 per cent are for it, but that's not the impression I get. Though even if you've got a majority who don't want to go, the board will still go ahead.
It's essential that plans for retractable seating are included. Running tracks in the UK won't work; they might abroad but not in England because the atmosphere is no good. The seats must go over the running track to give the stadium an atmosphere.
When I played in front of the Chicken Run the fans could touch you on the back. Everything was enclosed and the atmosphere at Upton Park was fantastic. The atmosphere is not the same any more - so if you can imagine being another 20, 30, 40 yards away the atmosphere's just not going to be there.
Local derbies are all about the day, it's not about positions in the league. West Ham didn't play very well at Tottenham and got beat. Quite simply, they didn't turn up and that was a shame because those games are usually very good.
Then they went to Old Trafford; you don't expect to get anything from there. Unfortunately they got beat - and it doesn't really matter if its one-nil or three or four-nil.
That brings us to Chelsea. I posted a message on Twitter saying that I expected us to get something from the game because I always think that we have a chance at home, regardless of who we play. I believe the same is going to happen on Sunday and I expect us to get a result.
Claret & blue, through and through
Although I represented both clubs I'll be supporting West Ham on Sunday. I was there for 11 years and only at Liverpool for a year - although I would have been there for a bit longer had Graeme Souness stayed. I just didn't get on with Roy Evans.
I had a fantastic time at Liverpool; it's a great club and the supporters are fantastic. I still speak to some of the players now. But on Sunday I'll be backing West Ham.
Although they'll be missing Luis Suarez - who is their main man up front - on Sunday, Liverpool are still a good team with some good players and it's not going to be easy for West Ham by any stretch of the imagination. But I think if West Ham go about their job and replicate what they did in the second half against Chelsea, they'll turn Liverpool over.
West Ham will be without Andy Carroll which means another chance for Carlton Cole. Although he scored against Chelsea and did well, on previous occasions when Andy's been out he's done nothing. He's got to step up to the plate if he wants to keep Andy Carroll out of the team; he's got to score more goals and he's got to work harder.
You've got to be Pingit to win it
Last week I played Fantasy Football at SkySports and this weekend I'll be promoting Barclays' new app 'Pingit' which allows you to transfer money from mobile to mobile. So there's no excuses any more if you're down the pub and don't have any money - you can just 'Pingit' over!
This week I've been doing lots of interviews to promote the app, talking to people like the Sun and the Mail Online - and I'll be down at West Ham for the game against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon. There'll be a photo booth there where fans can have their photo taken with me.
The photos are produced instantly, they come out straight away and I'll be happy to sign them. I'll be there from two o'clock to half-past three and it'll be nice to see some West Ham fans come in.
Looking back - the Bond scheme
A number of supporters are unhappy about the move to the Olympic Stadium and that's led to whispers of possible protests from some quarters.
Twenty years ago the fans - under the banner of HISA (the Hammers Independent Supporters' Association) - took a stand against the board's plans to implement a Bond scheme - which, if ratified would have left supporters having to fork out sevral hundred pounds for the privelege of being able to apply for a season ticket. Julian was the only player in the West Ham squad to publically back the fans - which led to him landing himself in hot water with the club...
They were asking people to fork out £975 to basically watch a load of sh*t. You can't ask people to fork out that kind of money to watch crap football. You could understand the frustration of the supporters; I think I was the only player to come out in support of them.
I did an interview with The Sun and I got fined two weeks' wages by the club for it. At the end of the day you're there to do a service and to stick up for what's right - and for me, the Bond scheme was wrong.
I know Billy Bonds was against it as well, but as manager he couldn't say anything. Not so long ago I did a Q&A with Billy and he confirmed then that he was against it. I knew that he had been from the start, but I think that was the first time he's come out and said anything publically.
When we played Everton at the end of February 1992, a supporter grabbed the corner flag and planted it in the centre circle by way of protest. I've actually met him a few times since! The first time he came up to me and said, "you don't know me, do you?" and I said "no?" He said, "I was the bloke who stuck the flag in the middle of the ground!"
The next home game was against Arsenal who were also protesting against their own Bond scheme, but I remember the game for my battle with Perry Groves. It seemed like every time he had the ball I was putting him up in the air; he even asked George Graham if he could come off.
He does after-dinner speeches now - and he still refers to it!
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