Irons history vanishing in name of marketing


Boleyn Castle

NIGEL KAHN is back!

Here the passionate Iron and ClaretandHugh’s No 1 blogger explains how he feels about planned changes to the club badge.

As you would expect not a single punch is pulled.

The club’s plan to change the badge and and make it more marketable was exposed this week after a SAB meeting.

Against their wishes, one member exposed the club’s attempt to remove, at a stroke, another  part of the club’s history and remove anything that links us to our home of the past 110 years.

The Boleyn ground as many will know is in the grounds of the old Boleyn castle, and it is the reason a castle has adorned our badge since the 60s but has been used by the club since before the war on club suits and on the programme.

It is a symbol that has been used by the club for around 80 years, so why should it be discarded?

The clubs marketeers are preparing the WHUFC  future and the castle – following the move to the Olympic Stadium – represents the past!

They are determined to re-write, no, wipe clean, our past. So when they step out in the bright shiny stadium, they can have a nice new badge, de-cluttered of the castle with the words London 1895 adorning it.

It has started already, check out the club’s website where at the foot of the page underneath “Moore than a football club”we find the words “At the heart and soul of London since 1895”.

It is true, we are in London, but since 1895?  West Ham only joined London properly in 1965 when east and west ham boroughs amalgamated into Newham, before that we were technically in Essex.

As for 1895, West Ham United were formed in 1900 taking over the remains of the DEFUNCT Thames Iron Works, starting afresh with new directors running the club.

But considering most of the decision makers at the club didn’t support the Hammers as children; didn’t live it, breathe it, you can’t expect them to know the club’s history.

Years ago West Ham were a family club, with the huge virtues of family, loyalty and looking after your own running through the veins of the club; the manager, coaches, even the club secretary were all ex players, yet now we are to be marketed as a London club, no different to Arsenal Chelsea etc.

Why should we be fussed over this? Perhaps because little by little, change by change, this club is being taken away from the diehard fans,those that have stuck by the club through its highs and many many lows.

Its history is being rewritten so Malaysians can pick out our badge when shown a list of Premier League clubs, and instantly realise we’re in London, not east London because that would just confuse them, after all how can a team in the East begin with West?

I was asked once how I could still be opposed to the stadium move yet willing after everything I have campaigned against to go there and watch the club.

Simple!  “When We leave the Boleyn West Ham as a club dies, will be no more, but as I like football so much I will still need to watch it, and as it happens, I’ve been told there’s a new club forming to play in Stratford at the Olympic Stadium, I’ll give them a go since West Ham are no more”.

Tongue in cheek it may have been yet even I never thought the marketing department would nearly make that a reality.

Removing of the castle and replacing it with London is the rewriting of our history and who says that is where they will stop.

Bloggers’ views are entirely their own and not necessarily shared by ClaretandHugh

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • jaybs says:

    What a sad day when the try to re-write history, one that we are proud of, will Hammers be the next for the chop, or even West Ham? It really annoyed me when after the SAB meeting fans or sorry members were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, to keep Secret details from other Loyal Fans, is this the level as a club we have stooped to?

    A media department that is totally obsessed with One Player only, he has robe featured in every photo released, is this to justify the disgusting high signing on fee, and the stupid high wage we are paying him. Next the West Ham Propaganda Unit will have to justify the retention of Fat Sam, ‘re-write history that the owners Bottled it, nit willing to pay his sacking fee. We already know negative True comments on the club’s facebook are deleted, how sad!

    Everything Great about OUR CLUB WEST HAM UNITED is being eroded! but many if us will still be here when the owners, Sam and some players have gone, meanwhile do we have to sit back and just allow it to happen???

  • TheVic says:

    Nigel, I understand your views on retaining our history on our badge and in the main agree with them though I don’t see any problem with a re-design giving the badge a fresher look if it retains the hammers and castle. You extolled the virtues of our family club becoming lost to the commercialism of the modern day. Well there was a hell of a lot that was wrong with the way the club was run with previous owners. Were you really a fan of the Cearns and Brown, I don’t think so. The lies, secret deals, selling our golden generation of players, the near fatal Bond scheme etc etc. I agree that our current owners leave a lot to be desired to say the least this and there is so much about the modern commercial, branding, marketing circus that the Premier League created that I despise but whether we like or not West Ham as a club have to compete in that arena. If we ever want to grow if we ever what to have any modicum of success we cannot just bury our heads in the sand, sit at the Boleyn and hope those nasty people go away because they aren’t going to and if we don’t go with them what’s the alternative?

  • Dainon17 says:

    Sounding slightly like a dinosaur my friend, times change and we need to change with them. the castle has never been as important to me as the crossed hammers & the plastic castle at the Boleyn is embarrassing. As for he owners… I think they have been the best i can remember, far from perfect however we are moving forwards and clearing debt

  • frank fellover says:

    I said the day the two shysters took over, that’s the end of the hammers as we know it,
    i see no reason to change my mind


  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    Nigel, I can understand frustrations with Marketing but the Castle refers to the Boleyn Castle and when we move into the OS we will not be in the Boleyn Ground anymore. The castle was not a part of the original Badge design and the Two Hammers are remaining so although it is yet another change related to the capitalist nature of football and any plc for that matter, I don’t see this as a huge one and in honesty I can see the benefit in reflecting that this is a new era for West Ham United and instead of living on our past successes we should be looking to the future whatever that may hold for us all.

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