So this is affordable football?

It was confirmed recently that West Ham United's board will be scrapping concessions for senior citizens and children in bands 1-4 with regards to new season ticket holders from next season.

Unsurprisingly the announcement caused a great deal of disappointment and anger amongst the fanbase, many members of which will now be lumbered with a stark choice of relocating into a cheaper seat even further away from the London Olympic Stadium pitch or stumping up hundreds of pounds more just to remain where they are.

In an attempt to defuse the situation, club missives insist price increases are "consistent with both our principle of running the club’s finances responsibly while aiming for continued success on the pitch through significant investment in the playing squad and maintaining our commitment to affordable family football at London Stadium."

However that suggestion has been panned by critics and football financiers alike, who claim the removal of certain concessions are estimated to increase the club's annual revenue by little more than the annual salary paid to reserve striker Danny Ings.

This week several 'legacy' supporters in such a position, or close to being affected by the changes, contacted KUMB in order to have their say over a decision which has been branded both "greedy" and "a disgrace". Here's what four of them they had to say...

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"So the final day of season ticket renewal is upon us - and I couldn't wait for the 5pm deadline to pass, so that my decision not to renew will be unreversible.

I'm soon to be 64 and for the last few years, I thought that next year I would get some acknowledgement from the club for my loyal support since 1971 by receiving a concession when I am 65.

However last year, that concession age was put back a year to 2026 by making the age 66 based on some bullshit about it being aligned with the state retirement age. A concession is just that, and the organisation making the concession are free to choose what they want the age to be. It could be 55, it could be 60 - in fact it could be anything, so why lie and blame it on the state?

Along with the rise in concession age, a double-figure percentage rise in the 2023/2024 season ticket price rise was also pushed through. This year again the price rise is above inflation and it appears that by the time next year comes around, my concession will be something that will not be available anymore.

I have spent years and tens of thousands of pounds building up my loyalty points to a point that I am fortunate enough to follow the team all over England and Europe, but regrettably all that hard work is now to be undone because of the greed of our owners.

So much for "affordable football" and a family club looking after its own. Those values are no longer in place, replaced by the hunger for kids paying adult price and, the elderly and infirm being sent to the heavens to watch their football with binoculars and oxygen masks. All to accommodate more tourists, who will show no loyalty should we suffer a relegation at some point.

I will always love the club and my fellow genuine fans, who are the greatest and the best in the world (but then I am biased). But I just can't sit back and take it up the jacksie from our owners anymore, so I'm gutted and emotional while writing this, but it is also good to get it out of my system.

God Bless West Ham."

- 597Don

"When I first started going regularly to West Ham, the North Bank admission price was two shillings (10p in ‘new’ money) and for boys was just 1 shilling (5p today). That was when it could be called a working man’s sport!

Over the years I think by and large I have rolled with the changes pretty well. I did give up my season ticket in protest at the infamous Bond Scheme shenanigans, but did still continue to attend matches and eventually ended up with a season ticket again.

I’ve seen managers come and go, players come and go and at times I have witnessed some periods of absolutely dire football. Anyone who thinks the Moyes’ years have been bad haven’t seen what I have seen! More recently, I have even embraced the London Stadium experience.

Through it all I have remained loyal to what I considered a great football club, but if these rumours about the total withdrawal of concession tickets are true then that’ll be the end for me.

I fear we are slowly succumbing to the increasing American influence in the Premier League, which will see tribalism driven from the game. There'll probably be some sort of pre-season draft scheme, no promotion or relegation and tickets available as for a West End show. Entertainment and the relentless pursuit of profit, rather than a sport.

I’m pretty sure Karren Brady and David Sullivan would not bat an eyelid at one of the ‘old git’ brigade leaving, but what they should worry about is that my grandchildren would be leaving with me.

This club - and its famous fan base - has been built on long termers like me, totally hooked from childhood. If, in the pursuit of short term financial gain, Brady and Sullivan drive away the next generation of long termers the club, as we know it, may cease to exist in 5-10 years' time. Sad times."

- KeepTheFaith

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"I think, if as has been rumoured the board were to scrap concessions altogether, that would probably be the end for me, although 60-plus years of support and all that history makes it hard to walk away.

I’d always support my beloved Hammers, but from a distance. It’s not simply a question of 'can I afford it?', it’s the blatant exploitation of loyalty that would see me transfer to local non-league and just take in the occasional Hammers game when tickets were available.

Sadly that’s most likely good news for our current owners, they’d just try getting top dollar for my Band 1 seat. As usual with Sullivan and Brady, despite a desire for love and affection their behaviour only inspires the opposite reaction.

They had a glimmer of hope after Prague, but no surprise that all they saw from the massed celebrations was the opportunity for sheer greed to run riot. The relative success of recent years has masked their skullduggery. Maybe Julen Lopetegui will continue to give them cover, but it’s time more fans woke up before it’s too late.

The board need to be reminded 60,000 'customers' demonstrating their anger about greed and deceit can make match days a very unpleasant and embarrassing experience. To us they are custodians not owners, to us it’s our club not theirs. It's time they finally understood that; enough is enough."

- 1895Hammer

"I’ve decided to call it a day and not renew after 12 years. My son is now at an age where he has better options - a girlfriend, plus he plays Saturday and occasionally Sunday League - than to attend West Ham with his dad!

I’d paid for both season tickets all the way since we started. Last season we only attended five home games together and I went alone to a few - no fun. Expecting the team to have a fantastic season now, but I can’t justify the layout of cash any longer.

Plus I don’t enjoy the journey, the walk from the stadium, the stop/go signs..."

- Hammer in Hornchurch

* If you have been similarly affected by the board's decision to remove concessions, why not add your story on the KUMB Forum.

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