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Blind Hammer joins the ‘tin hat’ fans debate



Blind Hammer Considers The Lesson From History.

My fellow CandH blogger, Allen Cummings, has stuck his head over the parapet so I guess it is time for me to put on the tin hat and do the same.

He discussed whether West Ham’s improved morale and performance is due to protection from toxic protest.

This in turn, followed discussion by TV pundits Jamie Redknapp and Micah Richards, who both believe that the team has benefitted from fans lockout.

Whether we like it or not, this is an issue increasingly discussed in the wider media. The suggestion that West Ham are better off without unhappy fans has been the subject of recent discussions on both TalkSport and Five Live.

Specifically over the weekend, Perry Groves, a talkSport pundit expressed his conviction that part of the reason for West Ham’s improvement was due to their protection from impatient, unhappy, fans.

He referenced performances in recent games against Brighton and Fulham, which if played last season, would have sparked a wave of negativity.

This issue will, sadly, not disappear until West Ham can reproduce their current form next season, in front of their fans.

No West Ham fan likes to hear these comments and it is tempting to simply brand these pundits as disrespectful.

We do however, if we are being honest, have to consider whether there is any substance to this argument.

Those who want to express hatred and fury towards the board insist that none of this should affect the team.

Yet history suggests that this fine distinction is rather more difficult for the players to appreciate.

This lesson was rammed home by club legend Billy Bonds with his memories of the 1990’s protest against the Bond Scheme.

Then the Board floated a hairbrained scheme to raise funds by forcing extra payments for enhanced season ticket rights.

Amidst the consequent protests West Ham spiralled into freefall. An SOS went out to Harry Redknapp to join Manager Billy Bonds, as his Assistant.

Yet Bonds was angered after Redknapp recalled, in his auto biography, Allways Managing”, that West Ham were at that time, a shambles

Bonds retorted: “‘Harry described it as a shambles when he arrived. The place was in a mess but there were reasons for that.”

Bonds insisted that the blame for the shambles was not with the players or management. “‘My first thought about it is that it’s disrespectful to a lot of the players and staff who were over there at the time.”
He explained: “It was on the back of the Bond scheme and fans were up in arms, rioting over there, even trying to get in the directors’ box and stuff like that.”

Bonds explained the negative impact the protests had on the team: “‘I think up until December [1992] we were halfway up the league. We were going OK. hen the club put out that there was going to be a Bond scheme.

“The fans were dead against it and there was all kinds of problems over there ‘In the end, the players in the end had no confidence going out there. I don’t think we won another game until the end of the season.”

For myself, I am convinced that those opposed to the Bond Scheme in the 90s were morally correct and had no desire to see West Ham relegated. I opposed the Scheme myself though never actively protested.

Yet a club legend remains convinced to this day that these protests played a massive plart in the collapse of morale and eventual relegation.

Food for thought.

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About David Griffith

My Father, born in 1891 was brought up in the shadows of the Thames Ironworks Memorial Ground. I remember as a child jumping over the settee when Alan Sealy scored in our 1965 European Cup Winners triumph. My first game was against Leicester in 1968, when Martin Peters scored what was adjudged by ITV’s Big Match as the Goal of the Season. I became a season ticket holder in 1970. I was registered blind in 1986 and thought my West Ham supporting days were over. However in 2010 I learnt about the fantastic support West Ham offer to Blind and other Disabled Supporters. I now use the Insightful Irons in-stadium commentary service and West Ham provide space for my Guide Dog Nyle. I sit on the West Ham Disabled Supporters Board and the LLDC Built Environment Access Panel. David Griffith aka Blind Hammer

32 comments on “Blind Hammer joins the ‘tin hat’ fans debate

  1. There was a time’ when to boo the club would bring swift and brutal judgement from fellow fans.
    1969 West Ham give up a three goal halftime lead at home against Stoke. At game end we stood and applauded. Up in the old West stand one person stood and Booed, this was met with a full on assault, fists flew and the rest is history.
    The mountain of a man sitting next to me seeing the shock on a young boys face, said to me.
    ” Son never let them see your hurt, don’t give anyone that satisfaction, that guy is just a FAN he is not a SUPPORTER! ”

    Over the years I have thought about that statement, and have concluded that my love for West Ham is UNCONDITIONAL.
    I will not slag the club off in public, I will support what ever ownership happens to be travelling through, I will believe the club is capable of winning any game it plays. I will believe that one day we will return to the glory days of the sixties seventies and eighties. I BELIEVE IN WEST HAM UTD I SUPPORT the club.

    I completely understand that my attitude is not what FANS want to hear, but i would like to think that there are still SUPPORTERS of the club who feel the same way as myself.

    Well played Blind Hammer, you are not alone.

    COYI !!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree. There is toxicity, and that can and will damage performance.

    I’m sitting typing from Valencia, Valencia CF was “saved” by a mad Singaporean with heaps of cash a few years ago. Except, he is now set on asset-stripping the club, has banned supporters clubs from the stadium, banned journalists who report negatively, basically bought the press, and his family actively attack genuine fans on social media. When you want a takeover be very careful what you wish for.

    Nobody can use the current owners of being the best owners, but conversely, they can hardly be accused of being the worst. Mistakes, huge ones, have been made, but find me a case of a club where the ownership has gone perfectly and I will find you a unicorn. Sullivan is an unsympathetic ruthless ****, but that is exactly why he has the cash to run a club in the first place, and anyone else in the position to do will be the same. I’m not a ruthless **** and consequently I can afford about a fiver to invest in the club.

    Should we be happy? No. We should always want more. But, demanding it in a way that breaks the possibility of that happening is reactivism gone mad.

    Rant over…

    Be grateful we get to watch us playing Spurs and co. rather than Doncaster, because staying in the PL is not an easy task and there is never an infinite pot of money.

  3. Totally agree with Billy Bonds re bond scheme. I remember fans boycotted games with at least one game having only 13,000 attendance which was over 50% below normal so not surprised team played poorly!
    Fans invading the pitch at Burnley game in 2019 really created a massive negative impact on team and media used it to put the boot in to West Ham supporters!

  4. The simple fact is that having no fans helps West Ham’.s counter attacking style.-The fans are not there urging them to attack which suits us.-And there have been more away wins in the Premier League this year than home games.-Because other teams are in the same boat.Of course having 2 brilliant Chech signings and luck with injuries might have played a small part too! Nothing at all with the majority of the fans wanting the Board out.Long may our good form continue.


      • Pigs will fly ??You can spin how you want !The vast majority want the Cons gone and you know it !The scums time is up !You only let your little happy Clappers post you ban the truth.Eventually the truth will set you free.The Cons will be gone and their little lackeys will be gone as well !

        • Oh you again – I would tend to agree with Bonzo rather than you or Mr Colborne. I allow anyone to post whatever their views although people like you don’t accept it because you live your life fuelled by hate. You are not wanted here. Go back to your beloved Twotter. It deserves you.

      • Hi there, been going to West Ham for 44 years & I can assure you that my friends and I agree that we only keep going now, because, well, because it’s a habit that is hard to break, but we have been as near to jacking it all in these last 3 years, as we have ever been. I will not get involved in mud-slinging, only to say that a straw poll around us at matches, tells me that a lot of fellow supporters feel a similar way, but as i say, it’s a hard habit to break….. Our truth is that we have lost more than we have gained, and I mean that as a match going, ordinary West Ham fan, that senses this on a visceral level, which ultimately is what supporting a team is all about. Leave the stats to SKY/BT/MOTD, because for most season ticket holders, it’s about how going to the game actually makes you feel..! Getting off the train, the walk to the ground, entering the stadium, what you see on the pitch, and the feel of the crowd…. All 5 of the above, for me, and for quite a few people, are now a lesser experience since the move, it’s the absence of intensity i think. Add to that, a poorly performing side over the last 3 years (not talking about actual winning here, but performance), and the GSB mix of abrasive P.R. that is quite alienating to many, and this has simply added to the sense of loss; feeling that we have lost a fair bit from the match-day experience, but that it has not been replaced with anything tangible, that looks like progress…… That was until 12 months ago.

        It is very unfair to be coating people off, for sincerely held views. it does not take too much looking, to see that :

        1/ The team is a now a very different side from 12 months ago
        2/ GSB seem to have got the message from someone, to stay in the background & let the football people handle the football stuff.
        3/ And it is quite obvious that several teams /Managers in the PL are experiencing the same thing – the ability to put a side out, and play how they want them to play, not as 40-50k fans are demanding……Spurs being the obvious example here.

        So, this is not just a ‘West Ham thing’, it is a football fan thing, other clubs are in exactly the same position……. Will they play better or worse when the fans (now customers) return…..?

        • Hold on, we publish many sincere views from the anti lobby but I ban hatred and insults. Are you saying they can coat people off but it’s unfair if others do the same to them. Sounds a little hypocritical to me

          • Well hold on yourself Hugh; When i say that it is unfair to coat people off for their sincere views, i mentioned no one, not you, not the site, no one. My comment should be read in context & conjunction with my other comment that i will not engage in mud-slinging, Ergo: I will not coat people for their sincerely held views. It seems the lady doth protest too much…….

    • Paul, you make good observations, and it would be churlish to dismiss what you say about the teams performance this season….

  5. Very readable, David. And same to be said for comments. When it comes down to it – we are all on the same side. Unfortunately, some want different stuff from what is on offer and believe that trashing the views of others can make their ’cause’ righteous. This is not a war where the loudest win. If we don’t hear, they resort to more effective ways of making us hear. Ask Mike Dean. ‘Oh my, what a referee!’ was the worst of the wrath of the England crowd at Wembley in 1966. That doesn’t work any longer. Death threats and trolling are the order of the day. Then becomes a competition to who can be worst and get their ‘work’ and ‘opinion’ reported on line and TV. Nothing to do with football. Nothing to do with West Ham United supporters.

    • ‘Oh my, what a referee!’
      They were the days Taffy. We still had humour back then, definitely not as bitter as todays fans.

  6. Totally agree. If you’re a toxic fan that hates gsb, hates the stadium etc then just stay away. Wed all be better off without you. I was at the Burnley game and saw the idiots no doubt fueled with alcohol who ran onto the pitch. I was angry with them, and am in no doubt they gave us no chance in the game with the toxic atmosphere they created. I saw some of the pitch invaders that escaped into the billy bonds stand getting a smack from their own fans. Shame somebody didn’t smack the idiot with the flagpole.

  7. Jamie Redknapp is the latest to suggest that West Ham have benefitted from having no fans at the London Stadium.
    This really makes me angry.Over the decades we have been among the most loyal and passionate fans in the country,perhaps the most loyal and passionate of all.Indeed friends of mine(usually Arsenal and Spurs) have come with me sometimes to West Ham and have gone home gobsmacked by our support saying they have nothing like it.-Has there ever been a show of support like we showed the world when playing Forest at Villa Park?

    Ok ,at the Soulless Bowl our support has been watered down with many time served die hard fans walking away to be replaced in many cases by ‘premier league’ fans.-But thousands of passionate West Ham fans remain.If our team works hard and puts in maximum effort then our fans get behind them.
    I find Mr Redknapp’s remarks offensive and an insult to our fans and to David Moyes,his coaching staff and our players.Our success has been down to their efforts.We have also been boosted with 2 astute Moyes signings in Soucek and Coufal ,and have been fortunate with injuries.
    Let us also consider that we play our best football by leading our opponents on and counter attacking,this can be compromised by our fans in the stadium urging us on to attack. This is of course not unique to West Ham and I note that last time I looked there have been more away wins than home wins across the Premier League this season.
    If we qualify for the Europa League we will need considerable squad investment if we are to mount a serious European campaign alongside our domestic commitments.Our league position may well suffer and no doubt Mr Redknapp will blame our league position on our fans being back in the stadium!! Jog on Jamie.
    We West Ham fans will always support our team.
    We support the team,not the regime.
    Come on you Irons
    Long Live West Ham.

    • I’m sure crowd invasions are really useful – silly me.

      • Hugh. We showed the world. Even had a Panorama series to show off our structure and methods of demonstrating our cult beliefs. Bring back the knives, bottles and barbed wire. We had Boleyn as an intimidating fortress for us real supporters. We all knew how to get in for nothing and nobody grassed us up. These days it is so much more difficult to stand up, cheerleading the hate of anyone but us. Oh for the days of ‘tin hats’ as necessary headwear. You’ll miss us when we’re gone.
        Or maybe not.

  8. Serious inaccuracy about December 1992 and then being relegated.
    We were in the second tier that season and got automatic promotion that season by beating Cambridge on the last day of the season.

  9. I am reluctant to criticise another fan’s opinion as we are all entitled, but Mr Colborne I can feel the vitriol in your posts and find them uncomfortable. My wife and I are pensioners and supporters for over 50 years, there are lots of children at the game as I was back in th 60’s. We were at the Burnley game – pitch invasion, Nobes looking upset, fans facing the board with pure hatred. Sorry I will never agree with that.

    • Hammerpete,you are of course entitled to your view.But I am nearly a pensioner and have been going 52 years home and away and obviously have a contrary view..i have many many friends who are my age or older than me and they share my views.The Hammers United ‘stroll’attracted 8500 ,was good humoured,peaceful with not one arrest.COYI.

      • Weren’t you the guy who invaded the pitch Paul, and you come on here talking about peaceful protests. Banned for how long was it – five years? You then talk about peaceful good natured marches. The irony is almost beyond belief. I remember reading a story in the MaiL in which you said you hadn’t planned to do anything but then suddenly felt you had to stand up for what was right – stage an invasion!!! You claimed it was a spur of the moment thing.Well the last few years haven’t been have they. You’ve had your say so many times and twice now disagreed with Blind Hammer and it has to be said Bill Bonds. Thousands and thousands disagree with you. We have many other things on our mind and that WHUFC monopolises you to this extent is really rather sad.

        • Hugh Southern,my protest was a peaceful protest as well you know.I was speaking to a well known person on KUMB a few days ago.His words were’I wonder if when he is on his death bed Hugh southern reflects on the damage he has done to the West ham fanbase;’.That somes up the disgust thousands feel for you.

          • LOOOOOL – that’s funny. I didn’t realise you had such a well developed sense of humour. So amusing that I am credited with such power. Thank you. LOL Paul, Unlike yourself, probably, I will have other things on my mind on the old deathbed. As for a peaceful protest, you really feel running on a pitch with a corner flag can be considered peaceful? Back to your little lateral universe with your daft friends who have done their share in splitting the fanbase. Thanks for the entertainment. LOL

  10. See you dropped my comment, don’t rock the boat,don’t like truth,shame,we are the real SUPPORTERS and you don’t like that,yeah carry on going with no singing or cheering we will go far

    • I love the way you people think you have control of truth. You are a noisy minority – the majority of us are more worried about home, family, supporting our team, getting through a pandemic and trying to get on. YOU LOT! Real supporters? – who are unreal supporters, those who disagree with you. Do leave off – you ain’t that important! I’m quite happy to allow people to see what you are by publishing your silly, self centred and humorous descriptions of yourselves.

  11. Well hold on yourself Hugh; When i say that it is unfair to coat people off for their sincere views, i mentioned no one, not you, not the site, no one. My comment should be read in context & conjunction with my other comment that i will not engage in mud-slinging, Ergo: I will not coat people for their sincerely held views. It seems the lady doth protest too much…….

  12. Hopefully later this year the Stadium will be allowed fans back in, up to 10,000 initially I believe. Several of our team have never heard ‘Bubbles’ or felt the love. That is real support. I sincerely hope they don’t see/hear spiteful hatred for the board or any form of protest. If you hate the Stadium, please stay away. If you believe you will inspire our team with vitriol and invasions you are a deluded embarrassment. Not in my name, ever.

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