West Ham’s Official Supporters Board, best considered an arm of the club’s commercial department, have been at it once more.
When it comes to ill-considered and embarrassing outbursts on social media, they are at least on a par with the club they represent.
Did we say “represent”?
Of course we did; any claim they look out for supporters was surely buried by yesterday’s Tweet, pictured here.
Nobody could trust such an organisation to look after fan interests so long as the OSB act as a shill for the club by promoting a sponsorship partner. They do not and cannot be seen as an honest broker between Hammers followers and the club.
Furthermore, tagging Sheffield United in the Tweet and thereby inviting Blades to become involved was at best a misjudgement, at worst could lead to serious trouble.
Yes, the internet is open to all but Saturday’s game is a grudge affair, the presence of away fans in home areas is a current and ongoing issue and assuming the tickets aren’t located in the Director’s Box it seems a poorly thought out effort to invite our opponents to participate.
Of course, we may be completely wrong and the OSB took a well-deserved break from antagonising their own fans in order to aim a sly dig at our friends from Yorkshire.
In which case we are less than pleased to remind you West Ham lost the pictured game 3-0.
THE decision to award both Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell five-year contracts seems on the surface to be an odd one.
Follow that up with the explanation given on one of the clubs favoured websites; that the board were worried about other clubs picking the two players up on the cheap and we are rapidly descending into farce.
The only way this decision makes any sense is as a tacit admission our club don’t trust themselves in the transfer market and cannot be relied upon to either find or purchase superior replacements.
Given Cresswell’s 30th birthday arrives in a few weeks’ time and Masuaku has proved time and again he can’t defend, the immediate question to ask would be who would want them? We haven’t exactly noticed suitors queueing up for either left-back.
As with stocks and shares player values can fluctuate wildly; all it takes is a sudden loss of form and/or a serious injury. Having given Andy Carroll a six-year contract and Winston Reid a five-year deal only for them to experience a series of injuries you might expect the club to have learned from past experience.
In the words of David Bowie: “Five years, my brain hurts a lot”.
WEST HAM are currently applying short bans to supporters who advertise tickets for sale on social media in an effort to rectify the lack of available tickets to away games.
As you might expect of this club, the process that led to this more than regrettable conclusion lacked transparency, involved the Official Supporters Board and resulted in good honest fans being punished while far graver offenders carried on their business.
Here is how we arrived here:
The club commissioned a fans website who do pretty well publishing confidential chit chat received from senior club officials to produce a survey on tickets. Just coincidentally, one of the club’s OSB “representatives” happens to co-run the site chosen.
A sub-committee of the OSB were formed to look into away games ticket distribution. Three or more of the members of this committee were anonymous. Of the two members who outed themselves one was given suggestions on yet another website that included removing away season tickets, ending priority points and entering everyone into a ballot for high demand games.
Accusations abounded of bondholder and away season ticket holder abuse and the selling on of tickets. Throughout this process the Chairman of the OSB in typical fashion made it his business to run around social media blaming Independent Supporters’ Associations for “scaremongering” when in they were in truth presenting facts.
The meeting was held and little of substance resulted until letters were sent to fans banning them from home and away games for selling tickets.
If it were that easy to contact supporters to ban them, why weren’t those very same supporters directly contacted to give their views in the first place? So far there has been no announcement from the club as to any further measures. Are they looking at their own employees who bang tickets on (we know of one particularly egregious practitioner)?
Are the club taking a more confrontational stance on ticket touts – they appear far nastier transgressors than somebody selling a seat at face value because they cannot manage one particular game?
If the club had provided a more transparent approach to the whole affair, including how many tickets are allocated to whom, they could have brought fans onside, got hold of the real culprits and engendered much goodwill.
Instead of which, they acted in poor faith and with shadowy intent as they stoked up bad feeling, increased suspicions of opacity and furthered mistrust.
We have no idea whether their behaviour is naked incompetence or an inherent loathing of the fans that provide their living.
Either way this is not how a successful club should behave. From our perspective the “West Ham family” seems pretty dysfunctional. Sadly, so long as the club continue their refusal to speak with ISAs we cannot metaphorically call Social Services in.
Oh West Ham We Love You is a loose collective of West Ham supporters who have been sharing thoughts about the club with each other via WhatsApp for some while.
We now believe there is room for our views to become more public.
We claim no constituency or mandate beyond our own.
Included in our group are season ticket holders, away season ticket holders, corporate users and “once in a while” supporters. We are men and women and have a wide age range.
What most defines us however, is our desire for a better West Ham. We believe with more thoughtful management across all areas the club have the potential to regularly improve their league position and consistently pick up silverware.