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No London Stadium fans: hindrance or a help?


By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings


The football, and of course that brilliant result, was centre stage on Sky Sports on Sunday when we took on and beat those arrogant north London neighbours.

But away from the game itself Alex Scott, Jamie Redknapp and Micah Richards also discussed the reasons for the remarkable transformation in the form and fortunes of West Ham this season.

It was of course agreed that on the field David Moyes had done a superb job of blending his players into a team – in every sense of the word – and it’s that togetherness and positive attitude, as much as any individual brilliance, that has been at the heart of our run of amazing performances and results.

Interestingly the experts also suggested off the field Moyes and his players have possibly benefitted from the lack of fans in grounds.

Think back to last season, when the London Stadium was a hotbed of discontent, as the club stared relegation in the face – as a consequence of the ill-fated Pellegrini era and festering anger at the owners was reaching fever pitch.

There were, of course, the protests and marches creating a toxic atmosphere and all the wrong headlines surrounded the club.

Jamie Redknapp has a definite view

Then, overnight, fans were barred from games and the team went on a run that eventually secured safety in style.

The fans’ exclusion has continued this season – and so has the Hammers’ excellent form. Coincidence? Redknapp and Richards, who both have personal experience of playing under pressure in the Premier League think not.

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Jamie, with his close family ties to West Ham, believes there has to be a correlation between no fans and improved form.

It’s a touchy subject with certain sections of our fanbase who resent any such suggestion of opposition to the board as having a detrimental effect on the team.

Or, indeed, that an over-critical reaction to some team selections for ‘edgy’ games could have created the wrong kind of negativity within the stadium.

Of course it’s a vital part of football’s bigger picture for supporters to be able to express their feelings. It’s our right as paying customers – all part of the game we love, and has always been down the generations.

But there is a difference between making your feelings known about how the team, or even certain individuals, are performing, and some of the sheer fury and even hatred we have seen displayed in recent seasons.

No-one would expect David Moyes or any of his players to say publicly they have been effected by what had been going on in the background but as professional as they are, the atmosphere must have had some effect on them.

That is not there at the moment – which is what Messrs Scott, Redknapp and Richards were alluding to.

Of course all West Ham fans are desperate to get back to watching their team live and in the flesh again. I certainly can’t wait to walk through those turnstiles at the London Stadium.

Hopefully it will be at the start of the 2021-22 season, I can’t see it being before. Hopefully it will be to see the continuation of David Moyes’ reshaping of our team and rebuilding of our club.

Hopefully, first and foremost, it will be to enjoy the football because for the vast majority of us right now, that’s what really matters above all else.


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About Hugh5outhon1895

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

10 comments on “No London Stadium fans: hindrance or a help?

  1. Not having us fans in the stadium has certainly not hurt the players in any way, as our results and league position confirm. There can be no doubting this in my mind.

    Too many of our fans still harping on about the stadium and the board and far too many ready to jump on the players at the first sign of a mistake.

    Hopefully us fans will come back buzzing with excitement and be happy just to be there watching the team and hopefully we’ll go back to getting behind the players whether they are playing well and winning or not having a good day and struggling.

    • Trouble is, Alan, those harping fans all have season tickets and will not have changed their discontented mindset. Moaned about everything before and even more to moan about when they are allowed back in. These folk really ought to relinquish their seats and make them available for people who want to cheer and support everything about West Ham football. We could have genuine enjoyment and appreciation of our team’s play. Yesterday’s people will jelously guard their routine and not permit anyone else to experience London Stadium. Strange as they hate it so much.

      • If it has had an effect I would think it is negligible at home, lots of clubs have done better than other seasons and if anything it could be argued that away it has made the biggest difference. It’s all too easy to say it’s no fans which is a slap in the face to the manager and the players, we are fitter, hungrier and more of a team than in previous years and that has shown in the way we fight, I believe like some ex players that when the fans return it will boost us. West Ham fans want to see players put a shift in, do that and win lose or draw we will take what we get. This squad are all showing that commitment to dig in and grind out results where in previous seasons we didn’t, long may it continue COYI!!!

      • A very interesting thought and suggestion Taffyhammer.

  2. I’m sure Hugh, that like you, most of our fans are desperate to get back. Lets hope that when the team needs us most eg when we are losing with 20 minutes to go, those same fans will stay and support the team rather than go home

  3. The London Stadium is never going to be Upton Park, but as someone who got lucky with the Super Saturday after spending hours on the phone trying to get Olympic tickets…. the buzz of excitement with waves of cheering as Mo Farah ran 26 times round the track was better than anything I experienced during 8 years of working in the music industry in the 80s

    Can we ever replicate that as West Ham fans, not sure we can, and as someone who sits high up and always stays to the very end, (even when losing 5 nil), seeing the Stadium look half empty with 20 minutes to go isn’t fun and can’t inspire the players, especially the ones warming up to make a difference in the last few minutesvof a match

  4. Well at times I have felt uncomfortable with the haters so I presume the players felt it. How anyone can hate the board and stadium so much and turn up just to vent that is beyond me. Plenty of fans on the list who want to cheer the team, not protest. The Boleyn was great after decades of happy fans made it so – the L S allows an extra 25,000 to be happy.

  5. As a Scot, football-wise there are three great loves in my life: West Ham, Airdrie and Scotland. All three have the same issue with a notoriously negative fanbase.

    I’ve asked this question of fellow supporters of all three at various times too: in what way can booing or shouting abuse at your own team possibly help them win the game?

    It never does. It’s all very well saying “we’ve paid our money we’re entitled to voice our opinion!” Sure.. but how does it help?

    The crowd becoming like a 12th man and roaring the team on for 90 minutes is an amazing thing, and can make all the difference in a tight game – we all know this. But it has literally the opposite effect when it’s directed against your own team and I’ve never been able to get my head around why we do it.

  6. I’m a season ticket holder and I am still surprised by the waves of negativity that quickly flow down to the pitch when something is not going right. As fans, we have a duty to each other to lift the team and be that extra 12th man at times.

    I appreciate the stadium doesn’t help in creating the right atmosphere but this negativity was often present at Upton Park.

    It’s a real shame as when we get behind our team, there are no better supporters and no better sound!

  7. Its plain to see that we have possibly the most toxic fans in the league! It’s only a small group but they make too much noise. Look at the black balloons for instance lol , pathetic!
    The sooner our poisonous fans stay away the better!
    We know it , the press know it and even our fantastic team Captain dragged a hooligan off of the pitch to highlight his disgust.

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