Whatever happened to the West Ham family?

Sometimes it’s good to look at the West Ham bubble from the outside - from as far away as possible, even - and it’s not always a pretty sight.

I’ve been away - I think I say this every year at this time! I mean, someone has to keep the Greek tourist industry going and it was me and the boss’s golden wedding celebration, so let’s have no more of that tutting from the back.

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But with all-inclusive booze (someone has to do it) and a cruise ship to occupy me, looking at West Ham from afar can be very depressing - and that’s not only the usual list of transfer targets falling by the wayside and seemingly half our first team being sold.

No, it’s worse than that. Whatever has happened to the famed West Ham family? All those lovely folk from Upton Park who stood by each other, supported our fellow Irons in times of need? You are left wondering whether our shameless owners have got the Tourist United club they crave, but without realising it.

OK, what am I drivelling on about I hear you ask? The West Ham United fans' petition against the club’s disgraceful attack on the old, young and infirmed in our midst, that’s what.

Before I ventured to the Aegean, I promised Hammers United and wrote an article criticising the club’s decision to hike ticket prices and attack the very core of our club, the concessions for the young and old that have been written in stone for decades.

It's not just us, but right through the Premier League there seemed to be a united assault on concessions. Spurs fans were enraged, Wolves supporters set up a petition that attracted 15,000 signatures and Arsenal fans persuaded their club to soften similar proposals.

Liverpool’s Sons of Shankly offered their support, now Nottingham Forest are in the same boat and more than happy to support us in our situation while fighting the same at the City Ground.

So where has the West Ham family been in all this? Sitting on their hands, moaning about fictitious claims that money is being requested by HU. 150,000 people have read the petition story - but as of now, just 6,500 have signed.

Our board - Karren Brady, David Sullivan, assorted billionaires and millionaires, plus David Gold's daughter who is still trying to flog her late father’s shares, and the Czech mates in there, must be laughing their socks off. They are going to get away with this.

Again looking from the outside, we must have a multitude of newbies and tourists in the London Stadium already who selfishly don’t care about their fellow club shop browsers, or the club’s roots to be bothered. The Tourist United club is already here. Lady B must be delighted.

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The club have managed the classic trick of isolating minorities and hoping the rest can’t be bothered. They may well have not thought this though as there has been an outcry from fans who do care and belatedly some mainstream media too, despite the lack of signatures.

Paul Colborne from HU has been on TalkSport recently, competing with the somewhat biased Jim White and perma-tanned Simon Jordan on the issue and held his own. The interview is available online if you care, or can be bothered to look.

What has happened, is the ‘family’ of West Ham fans groups, social media outlets and forums have come together to voice their disgust. YouTube's Claret & Booze, who you may have noticed are not my favourites, have been vitriolic in their condemnation and all power to them. I agree with every word (I bet you didn’t expect to hear that from me).

Our club’s assault on the aged, sending them to back of beyond in the stadium, miles of steps (where’s the defibrilator?) is an outrage. What a way to treat fans who have probably given 50/60 years-plus support to the club. A bit like ‘waiting for God’, up in those gods they are nearer to heaven anyway.

But it’s the kids that are the most serious issue. Fathers facing full price for their offspring is one way of destroying the next generation of fans. Dads facing full price for primary school kids, not able to sit with grandad any more.

Have they really, really thought through the consequences, or are they just bothered about the next flight-load of punters from across Europe? I bet you they will not be around if there’s a relegation battle to fight.

Do folk not realise that "if they tolerate this, then you will be next"? They’ll be coming for you, soon enough. And that seems to be the selfish bit, doesn’t it.

These issues don’t affect the majority so they can’t be arsed, not bothered about the rest of the West Ham family. Just sign the thing and give the fans groups along with HU something to fight with, because they know full well that the board won’t give an inch unless they are forced.

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Other clubs will look at us with minimal interest if we don’t fight our own corner. A boycott of the club shop could be next, as well as not buying the new kit. Your kids won’t want or need it soon anyway.

The club are entrenched with this. There are rumours that directors have been telling staff not to give an inch in negotiations with fans renewing or even wanting to move nearer friends and family. A club without a heart, springs to mind.

And the infuriating thing is that the club will make peanuts from this, thus killing the nonsense that they need the cash to compete in the transfer market. Something in the region of of £500,000 is predicted to be generated by this wilful attack on the kids and granddads. So why do it?

They’ve enraged many thousands, made themselves grubby and money grabbing and alienated the next generation of fans who won’t be able to learn about the club their fathers - and mothers - love.

Ah, yes, we have a transfer market too, I almost forgot. Our boy Tim Steidten, who many want elevated the sainthood because, well he’s not David Moyes, spent an intolerable amount of time in Brazil clinching the Luis Guilherme deal.

He’s clearly got immense potential, but at 18 and a five-year contract it’s a gamble. Just let’s pray it works. Elsewhere we’ve got rid of a couple of goalkeepers and seemingly will sign 33 year-old Wes Foderingham, released by Sheffield United. He’s a Hammersmith boy. We will be his ninth club.

Elsewhere it seems the world and his uncle are chasing a host of our players: Emerson, Jarrod Bowen, Mohammed Kudus, Edson Alvarez and the troubled Lucas Paqueta, whose issues with dodgy betting just go on and on. I do hope he’s got nothing to do with the Tory party...

Just to end, it seems I have not bored enough of you yet to avoid being voted KUMB Writer of the Year. I can only thank you for your patience and tolerance for my weekly rants.

And just to end - sign the flaming petition you selfish, can’t be bothered, lot!

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