“West Ham is losing its identity!”



Blogger Nigel Kahn discusses Club London and rings a warning about the changes that distress him as a lifelong supporter

So the club this week have finally started to reveal their plans for the migration of fans from the Boleyn to the Olympic Stadium & their first port of call happened to  be with the Bond holders and Corporate members.

Quite why they never had the SAB there as well as they are the clubs own fans forum is for the club to answer but at least they have started to reveal their plans.

The club though have made no official announcement, nothing on the club’s website. It has been left to ClaretandHugh and social media site leaks for the info to emerge.

And so far the Season ticket holders in the lower west are the big losers. They are being shifted out of the way in a form of “social cleansing” to pave the way for the corporate high rollers.

These people are  willing to pay up to 3 ½ grand to sit in the best seats behind the manager, in a copy of the club Wembley set up, which you can’t miss as they are the seats that generally are still empty as the second alf kicks off with the prawn sandwich brigade are still finishing off the half time drinks.

This area is to be named Club London, not Club West Ham or (my choice) Club Irons but London again. This, in my view, shows  how far the marketing department are determined to reinvent the club as a team from or for the whole of London not just the East side.

So for all those fans in the lower west by the centre, the club are showing their gratitude for your staunch support buy shunting you over to the east or to the side.

Not only that, but perhaps more worrying for the general season ticket holders was that their ticket price will not drop from their current Boleyn price, they may even rise. One of the big selling points put out by the owners on taking over the club was that by moving they could make it more affordable.

Yet the first time the club actually reveal to a supporters group ticket costs, it’s not downwards. This does  not bode well for the other Bands does it.

Many of you who took part in the club consultation may have voted to support the move in the belief of cheaper tickets. How will you feel if that is a false claim?

The club is changing, some say modernising, I say losing its identity. The removing of the castle, the adding of London to our identity, the move to the OS which is as far removed from any football stadium in this country – that’s apt as the club is being removed from the very fabric that made it so special.

We are an East London club, made in Canning Town by working men who lived in the community and shared it with the fans.

It is  quite damning that those supposedly in control claim to be cut of the same cloth while overseeing the biggest wholesale rebranding exercise ever seen at this great club.

What  is left once the move has taken place remains to be seen but for me it will be a pale imitation of the club I was born into supporting?

These views are entirely those of the blogger and are not necessarily shared by CllaretandHugh.

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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


  • jackow46 says:

    My husband and I are among those being ‘socially cleansed’!
    Having supported West Ham for over 40 years starting in the days when the great Booby Moore was still playing, this is the first time I have seriously considered giving up on them. I can take being moved to the East side rather then the West (so what – unless the East is perhaps further away from the pitch or in some way inferior to the West at the OS – but we don’t know yet) but what makes my blood boil are reports that we’re going to be charged £1200 each for the privilege and won’t be allowed to choose seats in a lower band because that would have a detrimental effect on fans already in that lower band at UP. All the talk of cheaper seats was obviously BS except perhaps for new fans they’re trying to attract rather than season ticket holders. Our ST shouldn’t be going up by a penny never mind a close to 50% increase. So it’s put up or shut up you loyal fans who have supported us through the championship, the hoofball and the arrogance of BFS. And what do the club care, really, when they think they’ll be able to sell ‘our’ seats at £1200 to some other ‘supporters’ maybe the prawn sandwich variety or the overseas clients they’re trying to attract with the London branding.Do they even need this extra money when they get so much of their income from TV – are they actively pushing us out in favour of a new type of fan in order to cash in on more merchandise, food sales etc? Enough is enough – football isn’t what it used to be in so many ways and £2400 per season – or indeed and increase at all – for 19 games is ridiculous – shiny new stadium or not.

  • philtheiron says:

    Unfortunately as much as it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of fans corporate entertainment is big business for football clubs and is a money spinner that generates vast sums for the the club.
    The other thing to be remembered is that the plans envisaged for the OS have been mirrored at the emirates and the new Wembley.
    If there are similar people who are willing to pay similar sums to watch the hammers at the OS then I say let them!
    There are already people that pay vast sums at the Boleyn to watch the irons and I would expect that these will be the same kind that will be using the corporate facilities at the OS.

  • baddowhammer says:

    Bit of a catch 22 this eh,on one hand,thats the way of football now,grow or go down,but on the other i feel sorry for those who will lose out.It will only kill our identity if we let it.I for one will miss The Boleyn ground,but with fondness and good memories.But like everything now money is king with no room for sentiment.I guess all will turn out good in the end,cos West Ham fans are the most loyal,whatever. C.O.Y.I.

  • jackow46 says:

    Have no problem with the corporate bods if they’re paying a fotune for the tickets. But why should I have to stump up a 50% increase (or any increase) as a long standing fan. All will turn out good in the end for the owners but not for current fans who can’t afford the price hikes. Fans feeling superior because they are the ‘most loyal’ is just what the owners want – but loyalty has to be earned. Hypocritical of owners to spout all the stuff about needing loyal fans, looking after the fans etc and then do this. It’s a business so don’t try and tell us we’re part of the WH family!

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