I’m reading lots of comments on social media and listening to people calling into various post match radio phone-ins that are condemning the actions of some people in the ground today. They accuse these people of costing us points, upsetting the players, bringing shame on the club and claiming that these people “are not fans”. Tomorrow the Sunday rags will be full of similar accusations. This post is for people who feel this way.
It is important to understand that not all fans see things the same way and then act accordingly. The events surrounding the RWHF(AG) over the last 10 days bring this fact into sharp relief. I would argue that there is only one thing we can all agree on - we all want the team to do well. Outside of this, things that are important to one person might no be so important to the next person: I’ve got friends that are happy with the stadium while I hate it. I wanted to march, they weren’t particularly interested. I see the current owners as the most toxic and dangerous threat to future of this club, they don’t see it quite that way. I could spend ages outlining the differences between but us but neither would accuse the other of not being a fan.
In my opinion, the people whose actions are being criticised ARE fans. For example, if the man who went on the pitch today with the corner flag is the same man I spoke to at the Boleyn after he made an impassioned speech about what it meant to be a West Ham fan and what West Ham meant to him, then it is inconceivable that this person could be accused of not being a fan. To those who know it and those who don’t but need to understand it (both fans and players), the taking of the corner flag and placing it in the centre circle was a very symbolic statement. Back in the early 90’s when the Bond Scheme was about to ruin our club, one man took it upon himself to do this very thing and it was the catalyst for a movement that ultimately stopped the scheme. Was he universally supported? No - there were more people in the stands than went on the pitch that day and subsequently. There were hundreds of people who supported the Bond Scheme and paid into it. But I’m absolutely certain that there are fans (some of whom weren’t even alive then) that wouldn’t be going today if the Bond Scheme hadn’t been stopped.
The people who made their protest today were doing what they believe needed to be done for the greater good of the club and by extension the fans who are currently criticising them. You might not agree with what they did and/or the way they did it, that’s up to you. But please don’t think they did it for a laugh. Please don’t think they weren’t sincere. Please don’t think they took this action lightly. Most of them will get a ban and probably face charges. But they did it anyway because they see things in a different way from you and felt they had no choice but to act. It doesn’t make them more or less of a fan than you but it certainly doesn’t give you the right to accuse them of not being fans.
The way I see it, some people might not realise it now but in time to come, if GSB continue running the club the way they have been, it won’t matter anyway - we’ll all be former fans of that club that used to play attractive football in claret and blue, what were they called? West something or other wasn’t it?
And just for clarity because I’m seeing that photo of him sitting all alone, yes STB was in the directors’ box and after the illustrious owners ran away to hide, he stayed. And those protesting know that he knows what’s going on. And to a man they chanted his name like we all used to when he played. It was the same when Bonzo came out to speak to the fans on the pitch back in the early 90’s. It was about the board then and it’s about the board now, no one else.