There has been much discussion on the various forums over a planned protest organised by Hammers United. In the interests of balance and neutrality, ClaretandHugh asked the organisers for their reasons for holding the demo. This is their statement sent to us by Steve Law.
This article is written on behalf of those organising a protest about the owners’ stewardship of our Club.
Hammers United instigated this protest but it is supported by a number of different groups and individuals. We are a disparate group with a committee made up of regular supporters well known amongst the fan base.
We would firstly like to say that we had not previously been asked to explain our motives or aims on this site as recently suggested, but have now been invited to do so and thank both Sean and Hugh for that opportunity.
We come together under the banner of being United for Change. We feel that since our move to the LS there has been so much marketing that the regular fan has been left behind. Many have quit, many are disillusioned and many no longer recognise us. This is not about results but about our identity.
We want either the existing owners to completely change their relationship with the support and deliver on the 10 promises made when they bought the Club, or for them to sell up to others who will.
At the heart of the problem has been the Club only having dialogue with their creation the OSB rather than with properly independent fan groups. We have tried to enter dialogue to express members’ concerns but the owners, OSB chair and even the Supporters Liason Officer have refused that saying only the OSB will be recognised. This has been another key example of the Club trying to manipulate and oversee events rather than entering into proper unfettered discussions about fans’ concerns.
Those concerns include the unsuitability of the ground, stewarding, away travel arrangements, investment, interest charged on owners’ loans, the apparent undersale of the Boleyn and a host of other things that we feel the Club has a duty to explain.
It is worth noting that UEFA, the PL and the Government have laid down regulations that include required dialogue with independent formal ISAs but that West Ham, along with the questionable Hull ownership, are the only 2 Clubs in the top 4 flights to refuse to do so.
The manipulation must stop and we need a strong, fully independent supporters’ group to seek to improve dialogue. The existing OSB should be disbanded, the SLO needs to represent the fans not the Club and we need to come together for mutual benefit.
Sadly it is only through the pressure of adverse media that the owners and Ms Brady in particular respond. We therefore urge all those wanting a change in direction to protest with us in a peaceful and yet vibrant manner.
Finally I can say that none of us want anything else. We have no personal agendas, no financial interest or ambitions. We just want the owners to fundamentally change their relationship with the support or to go.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author of this statement and do not necessarily reflect the views of Claret and Hugh