Author Topic: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham  (Read 1270 times)

Offline Snibbo

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NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« on: March 13, 2018, 06:09:48 AM »
Delusions of stadium grandeur haunt West Ham and club’s owners

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2018/mar/12/west-ham-united-olympic-stadium-richard-williams?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

Delusions of stadium grandeur haunt West Ham and club’s owners
Richard Williams

West Ham once gave life to a part of east London, but the Boleyn ground is gone and the heart has been ripped out of the club
The fate of the little memorial garden on Green Street, next to where the Boleyn ground’s main entrance once stood, is just one of the problems facing West Ham United. Full of bedraggled scarves and wilting flowers and plaques dedicated to long-gone fans – should it be taken from its present location, where the roar of the crowd will never be heard again, and reinstalled in the club’s widely detested new home?

Another is the much loved statue 50 yards away, on the crossroads at the junction with Barking Road. It depicts Bobby Moore, the embodiment of the club’s self‑image, in his moment of greatest triumph, holding aloft the World Cup while borne on the shoulders of his club mate Geoff Hurst and Everton’s Ray Wilson, while a third Hammer, Martin Peters, looks on.

‘West Ham will be a lost love while these owners remain in charge’
Across the road, posters in the windows of the Boleyn pub invite fans to join an online petition urging the mayor of Newham to stop the statue’s proposed move to the former Olympic Stadium in Stratford, four miles down road but a continent away in emotional distance. “The way I look at it,” the lady behind the bar says as she pulls a pint, “I mean, Bobby Moore and them never played at Stratford, did they?”

The football club has gone, leaving only echoes of the matchday crowds strolling along Green Street towards an institution that once gave life to this part of east London. The social centre of the West Ham United Supporters Club is shuttered and padlocked, a stained and crumbling hulk awaiting the outcome of a meeting at the pub later this month.

The Boleyn, Nathan’s Pie & Mash restaurant and the Newham Bookshop, celebrating its 40th anniversary this spring, are among the few visible survivals in a district whose demographics and culture have changed almost beyond recognition in the decades since Moore, Hurst and Peters returned in triumph to a tightly knit community.

On a wall at the back of the old supporters’ club centre, someone has spray-painted LONG LIVE THE BOLEYN in blue on a claret background. But the Boleyn is dead and gone, swiftly razed once the sale of the ground to developers for around £40m was completed. Whatever the football club’s destiny, it will not be played out in E13. The pre-match pie and mash delivered by Nathan’s to a new fans’ rendezvous on the edge of the Olympic Park is as close to the old authenticity as the Hammers’ more nostalgic fans can come in the club’s new age.

Success on the pitch would have silenced internal reservations about the former Olympic Stadium’s inadequacies

West Ham’s true legacy in this part of east London is the building site from which apartment blocks are rising, fronted by a landscaped sales suite where eager representatives give their spiel to prospective buyers of a range of 842 living units. Although attractive enough in the glossy brochure, these are not the kind of palaces in the sky currently rising in more prosperous parts of London. It’s hard to imagine members of the McMafia wanting to park their families or their funny money in this unpretentious location.

By every yardstick except that of profit for the club’s owners, the new development seems an unfair swap for what was once a football ground with a character built up through 112 years of joy and disappointment. With a final capacity of 35,000, Upton Park always seemed to be the right size for a club of West Ham’s proportions and aspirations: big enough to stage top-tier matches but not an embarrassment in harder times.

Football fans, however, are easily persuaded by dreams of glory, and West Ham’s faithful were no different when they listened to the promises of their owners, the former porn barons David Gold and David Sullivan. Had the team built on the promise of the last season at Upton Park, when Slaven Bilic guided them to seventh place in the Premier League, there would have been no scenes like those witnessed last Saturday.

Success on the pitch would have silenced internal reservations about the former Olympic Stadium’s inadequacies and probably external complaints about the £300m of public money spent on the rebuilding, too. But failure, unsurprisingly, has turned the cocktail of incompetence, expediency and greed created by the deal into something explosive.

Before trouble broke out at the weekend, forcing the owners and their families to retreat from a furious mob, the club had managed to stop a planned protest march from Upton Park to Stratford. In meetings attended by Karren Brady, the club’s vice-chairman, they negotiated with various supporters’ groups, including one that includes members of the old Inter City Firm, West Ham’s representatives in the hooligan wars of the 1970s and 80s.

By appearing to favour one fan organisation over others, making offers to reimburse travel costs and provide complimentary match tickets, Brady and her colleagues appear to be copying the modus operandi of Argentina’s barras bravas and Italy’s ultras, some of whom have historically used the threat of violence and disruption as a means to gain favoured status and a measure of power within their clubs. This is a dangerous game and one to which, amid the present volatile mood, it is hard to foresee a happy ending.

At least West Ham’s owners still make their way from their Essex and Surrey mansions to show their faces on matchday. But what they are watching is the sight of their policies turning the threat of relegation from something to be absorbed with a bit of grumbling and a few economies into a potential catastrophe for a club whose strong heart they have ripped out and left bleeding in Green Street, amid the scarves and flowers.

Offline RaySmith

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2018, 06:46:14 AM »
Didn't take long to get rid of West Ham's historic home.

Terrible to think of such a fate  happening to Craven Cottage - but I can't see Fulham fans ever  agreeing to move away.

Offline Milo

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 09:43:02 AM »
Remember walking past he statue when worked at nearby hospital a few years ago. Pretty bleak area so not surprised they want to retain he glimmer of hope and pride the statue brings.


Offline Andy S

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 10:49:57 AM »
If property prices along the Thames continue to rise eventually somebody will sell the club but I hope it isn't in my life time as I would want to come back and haunt them

Offline cookieg

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 11:04:02 AM »
If we ever get to the stage of knocking on the door of Champions League football then a move to a bigger ground would need to be considered to bring in the revenue, obviously this would need to be consistently. The only problem would be finding somewhere close to CC that we are still the only team in Fulham.

Craven Cottage is THE best ground anywhere as far as I am concerned and any move would be unbelievable for us supporters. But it could happen if the club really wants trophies and a supporter base around the world that the top clubs have. Maybe it is a generational thing and us old timers don't want change. 20 years time we will have a different set of supporters who may cherish a souless plastic stadium as much as we love CC.

Offline snarks

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 11:08:18 AM »
Interesting arguments on stadia, both Tottenham and Chelsea have had support from their local authority with regard to compulsory purchase of properties in the immediate vicinity. If Fulham became big enough an extended licence into the Thames could be a real possibility.


Offline bobbo

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 11:53:36 AM »
I'm glad I 'm old i'm never going to see us move.

Offline rogerpnowinFlorida

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2018, 12:48:38 PM »
These types of expansion and locality moves are always a gamble.
Teams fortunes go up and down frequently irrespective of the amount spent on new players.
Imagine if we had moved 10 years ago to accomodate a bigger "tourist' support which at the
time would have seemed feasible.
Then CRASH, back down to the CS and the club is stuck playing in Hounslow with only us fanatical
lot left (+ of course our brainwashed children and grand children)

No thanks, I do feel sorry for the likes of West Ham supporters

For a team like Man Utd it doesn't matter because a huge part of their regular fantastic support comes in
coach loads from all over the country, and beyond.
I heard about a couple who are planning to move to the Moon but will still renew their season tickets.
There are plenty more coach companies waiting in the wings to fill any vacant seats should the unthinkable
happen as it did with Man City, Chelsea and many other clubs

Offline filham

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2018, 04:20:07 PM »
I always felt that it was risky moving West Ham into a large Stadium that was not designed for football and where the fans were a long distance from the action.
We had seen such a move fail when QPR moved to the White City.

In all honesty though crowds are good and if results had been better would we not now be saying that the move was a success.


Offline HamsterWheel

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 08:52:16 AM »
Police investigating a 50p coin thrown at the directors at a recent West Ham game have discovered it was

in fact

a takeover bid.

Offline ron

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2018, 12:41:59 PM »
The club ought to hang its head in shame for taking away the club's history at a stroke, and so should the local authorities who allowed them  1. to pocket a massive amount of cash for their traditional home to deprive the local area of a real asset, and 2. allowed them to literally steal the stadium for what is a peppercorn rent in this cash rich industry.

So the fans suffer. A good proportion of them behaved disgracefully at the weekend, and I guess that I couldn't care less about West Ham as a club, and what I perceive as arrogance throughout.

But I wouldn't want it to happen to us..




Offline SG

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 12:58:52 PM »
As always it is the true life long fans who suffer. The Boleyn was a tough ground to visit both as a player and a fan, but it had character and was very close to the action. Now what do they have, a soulless stadium watching football played miles away the pitch. The owners, who I have no time for, and the Council are ok but the real fans are stuffed.
I can't imagine going anywhere else to watch Fulham at home other than CC. It's in our blood just like Upton Park was for WHU supporters


Offline Burt

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2018, 01:13:35 PM »
Interesting arguments on stadia, both Tottenham and Chelsea have had support from their local authority with regard to compulsory purchase of properties in the immediate vicinity. If Fulham became big enough an extended licence into the Thames could be a real possibility.

I guess the main difference is that Spurs and Chelsea will not be upping sticks and moving 4 miles away...

Not only is the London Stadium soulless and not great for footy, it is a long way away from the community that the Boleyn was part of.

Offline Wingnut

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2018, 02:51:00 PM »
I always felt that it was risky moving West Ham into a large Stadium that was not designed for football and where the fans were a long distance from the action.

I don't really understand the logic behind the move, if i'm being honest. I don't see why West Ham needed to leave that ground at this moment in time. The Boleyn could have served them well from the next few years whilst they built a squad that was capable of challenging from European football. I passed by the London stadium a while back and it looks like a soulless bowl. If West Ham go down this season and I think it's possible given the toxic atmosphere that surrounds the club at the moment, they are going to struggle to come back up. Next up they have Southampton at home. Talk about a massive game!
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 02:53:32 PM by Wingnut »

Offline SG

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2018, 07:27:11 PM »
There are £40 million reasons why they left the ground


Offline ron

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2018, 07:44:09 PM »
In fact, thinking about it, this is for whu supporters the same thing that happened to a lesser extent to qpr fans with their 1960’s move to white city. A senseless move to an over large soulless bowl in the hope of glory. “A vaulting ambition which o’er leaps itself and falls on the other” to quote the Scottish play...

Offline snarks

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2018, 09:41:45 AM »
Interestingly when Tottenham were after the London Stadium, they wanted to revamp it to make it purely for football, which is why West Ham got it because of the "games legacy" promise. Obviously that meant that West Ham had to stick with the existing layout and confines of it being a dual purpose stadium. Part of the deal also means that the Stadium owners provide the stewarding at matches, not the club. All in all the deal they did was financially very good for West Ham, bad for London Taxpayers and bad for the supporters.

Fulham would have to move out of Fulham (again) for that to happen to them, and the only way I can see that would be if it were a Wimbledon to MK style move, and I don't think any owner would risk then. Otherwise moving within London would be pointless, and I have no idea where would be sufficient in terms of land and infastructure.

Offline Bill2

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Re: NFR - West Ham, Let this never happen to Fulham
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2018, 11:11:04 AM »
Why move to a stadium which you will never sell out and be stuck with rows of empty seats, especially if the club is unsuccessful. With Fulham we have a limit on the number of fans, as a football fan is an organic thing and is done over a number of years and tied into success often with young children who aren't persuaded by parents to support another club.

So basically there is no need to even think about moving.