Friday, March 30

We ain't got no history?

In a perverse kind of way you wonder if the events of the Burnley match might fire the crowd up for the Southampton game and see a massive wave of support for the Irons. It's often been said that the London Stadium has no history, but we've now seen the first pitch invasions and the first storming of the boardroom. Not the best markers perhaps, but it's certainly something eventful that's happened in the new stadium to rank alongside the Bond Scheme protests at the Boleyn, which also had a bloke with a corner flag. At the LS we've seen Andy Carroll's overhead goal, Spurs beaten, Man City thrash us and Payet memorably turned on in the win against Palace. Say what you like about the new stadium, but things have already happened there. And the title wins are still to come when we reach the next level (perhaps).

Wednesday, March 28

Arthur within spitting distance of a recall?

One rare piece of good news for West Ham is that Arthur Masuaku is available again after his six-match suspension for spitting at a Wigan player, which did appear to be out of character. He must be grateful to Jamie Carragher for making his spitting image at Wigan not look quite so bad. He might not be better than Lukakau, but Masuaku did make a difference when Moyes started playing him on the left of a five-man defence. In the six games that Arthur has missed there have been four calamitous defeats against Brighton, Liverpool, Swansea and Burnley. This is probably not a coincidence. 

Arthur's one of the few players capable of beating a man and getting a cross in and Arnie for one would benefit from his service, as might Chicharito. He can also hold the ball and buy time with his dribbles when we're struggling. Assuming Collins is still injured after the Dagenham friendly, West Ham might line up against Southampton with Zabaleta and Masuaku as wing backs and Ogboma, Rice and Cresswell as the three centre backs. While Adrian should return in goal after Hart's latest gaffe.

Another piece of good news is that Edmilson Fernandes is fit again too, which at least gives an option of replacing central midfielders Noble and Kouyate if they tire during games. 

It's not been an easy three weeks after the Burnley match. We have to get a result from the Southampton game and Arthur just might make a difference. 

Monday, March 26

Can we now get back to football please?

It's been enjoyable not to have to think about football for a fortnight. Meanwhile the repercussions from the Burnley game continue. The club had little choice but to ban for life the fans who ran on to the pitch during the game. Supporters are entitled to be angry when a club that makes a profit of £43 million and has gates of 57,000 isn't providing the promised "world class team for a world class stadium" and in fact appears to be going backwards. But there are legitimate ways of protesting, such as chants, banners, boycotts and marches. 

If every fan who had a grievance ran on to the pitch during the game it would be impossible to ever finish a match. How would we feel if a vital away game was abandoned with West Ham winning (unlikely, I know) simply because the home fans ran on to the pitch? None of us gets everything we want out of life and sometimes you have to accept that. Nor is coin-throwing at elderly men or making throat-slitting gestures ever acceptable.

Some progress is being made and the board is having to listen a little more. David Sullivan is stepping down as 'director of football' (which the club previously claimed he wasn't) and the club is appointing a chief executive. Karren Brady has accepted some fault lies with the board in her Sun column (although her claim that the club spent £80m on players last season is debatable if you deduct the revenue from player sales). In a meeting with WHUISA — which at least has elected leaders — David Sullivan has spoken about having fan representation at board level, or perhaps a former player (though I wouldn't trust players to know what the fans want). 

Meanwhile it's emerging that the fans were sold the vision of a new stadium with a co-operative landlord, when in fact Karren Brady is now labelling he LLDC as "vindictive". The club is in a High Court dispute with the LLDC over such matters as who pays for Sky TV and draught beer in the London Stadium. While there's still deadlock over putting in a new claret carpet over the running track, which would make he stadium feel much more like home and would only cost £140,000. This really needs to be sorted out quickly.

Meanwhile Martin Samuel, a Hammers fan, has written some thoughtful articles on the club's plight in the Daily Mail and suggests the ultimate solution might lie with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022. If UK Athletics could use the 50,000 stadium in Birmingham as its base then that might finally allow the running track to be ditched at the London Stadium and the lower Betway Stand re-developed, he suggests.

It's never easy being a West Ham fan, but we're stuck with the same owners and players for the rest of the season. There's no point in protesting ourselves into the Championship. All that is needed is another two or three wins, so we need to concentrate on the next eight games before trying to bring in serious changes in the summer.

Friday, March 23

Is this the Daggers which I see before me?

Dagenham 1 WestHam 3
Mystic Matt reports on his trip to Dagenham…

Fraser, Lisa and I head to the Victoria Ground (now officially the Chigwell Construction Stadium) to help #SavetheDaggers — our neighbours Dagenham & Redbridge are in financial difficulties. 

More than 4,500 attend, many of them Hammers fans keen to see the likes of Adrian, Noble, Zabaleta and Collins without having to use binoculars. In fact, we are so close I make sure I shout only positive comments about Patrice Evra, just to be on the safe side. 

This is the first time many Hammers fans have supported the team standing on the terraces for years; sadly, a few Herberts decide to underline how not everything was better in the olden days by singing the vile anti-Semitic Spurs song, along with references to the Pope and the IRA. 

On the pitch, the EastEnders start brightly, with fast one-touch football creating several chances ruined by careless finishing. In contrast, West Ham struggle, managing to get their injury crisis in early with Collins soon limping off. For the Daggers, forward Chike Kandi showed some sweet touches, while Mason Bloomfield was a powerful presence and Dan Sparkes looked bright. Bloomfield headed over, and Kandi shot just wide after a fine run. Masuaki, now described by the West Ham website as a winger, smashed a long-range shot that was tipped round the post, and hit the bar with a miscued cross, on his return from his spitting ban. 

Alfie Lewis, who at 18 is too young to have played much for the under-23s at this stadium, looked as bright as anyone, passing well and making some confident runs. Up front Jordan Hugill, on his first start, tried hard, but gave the ball away too much, and perhaps showed a lack of confidence when he passed to Lewis when he should have shot, although he was denied at close range by an outstanding block.

It was rather against the run of play when just before half time an attempted Daggers clearance rebounded to Antonio, and he confidently dinked the ball over the keeper. At half time Sir Trevor Brooking drew the raffle, and some dancing girls battled against a broken sound system, before play restarted with a host of Daggers subs, including former West Ham player Bondz Ngala, who was outfoxed by Antonio who confidently slotted his second. On 59 minutes, there was a humungous goalmouth scramble with West Ham clearing three chances off the line, before Bloomfield finally pulled one back.

Moyes then subbed off Zabaleta, Noble and Cresswell, with youngsters Joe Powell and Ben Johnson going on along with under-18 player Mason Barrett. There was a strange moment when Antonio suddenly ran off the pitch and down the tunnel, emerging a few minutes later. He could and probably should have completed his hat-trick when set up by Tony Scully, another young player who was excellent in the 13 minutes he was given. 

The crowd were willing Hugill on, but he was adjudged offside after a one-two with Scully, and it seemed he would never get off the mark for the Hammers. Fortunately, in a Mystic Matt moment, I pronounced he would never score for West Ham, and soon after an excellent run by right-back Johnson allowed him to prove me wrong. 

Two more youngsters made the shortest of debuts, with Tunji Akinola coming on in the 89th minute to replace Evra, who had played centre back throughout, despite his lack of inches. Bernarda Rosa, a teenage Brazilian also appeared, although the Daggers website confused him with Manuel Da Costa. 

Afterwards we went to the Spotted Dog in Barking, where we went after the last time we played Millwall at Upton Park, when it was the nearest pub the police allowed to open. Fraser refused to sit under a framed England shirt signed by John Terry, and declared himself disappointed that Brooking hadn't played. Moyes will have been pleased to give his squad some playing time, though so many senior players are on international duty or injured that he won't have learned too much. 

The controversial Florida holiday/intensive training regime didn't particularly seem to have benefitted the senior players, but Lewis, especially, Josh Pask, Johnson, Brown and Scully will all have enjoyed the occasion. It was a shame Nathan Holland is still coming back from serious injury, as he's a highly promising winger, but didn't get to show his talents this time. The best under-23 player, the captain Marcus Browne, was also missing, oddly, along with Vashon Neuville, a promising left back, and attacking midfielder Grady Diangana, while midfielder Dan Kemp is injured.

It was worth going along to support the Daggers, and see football close-up at a proper stadium with no running track. The Daggers are struggling after former director Glyn Hopkin resigned last month, a year after his consortium purchased 74 per cent of the club. Food for thought for those of us keen to see the back of our owners.

Monday, March 19

Porn again in the Chicken Run

On a lighter note after our recent troubles, the Times had an interview with Julian Dicks in which he reminisced about the Boleyn Ground. Dicksy recalled playing at the Boleyn when he was a youngster with Birmingham City: "They were calling me all sorts. I had a porno mag thrown at me." Ah, the good old days when throwing pornography was a sign of fan authenticity. To make the London Stadium feel like home we'll presumably have to throw mobiles with dodgy uploads. Though perhaps ditching the porn for popcorn is one advance we don't want to go back on…

Thursday, March 15

Give the lads a break

Just as long as no-one steals a taxi the warm weather break for the West Ham players in Miami should do the players good. At least their Wags seem to be with them, which might encourage sensible-ish behaviour. Predictably some people on twitter are outraged, but then they always are. Moyes is right. It's a good idea to get away from all the furore and having to act as amateur stewards. We've already had some nice shots of the lads on the beach, including tattooed Jordan Hugill looking like he's on a break from the building site, Joe Hart not dropping his flip-flops, Nobes in shades and someone in red shorts who appears to be Andy Carroll. Seeing Andy again raised the distant hope that he might even be fit for the last few games and save our season. But no, that way madness lies…

Wednesday, March 14

Relegation or renewal?

Will Saturday's protests cause West Ham to spiral into relegation or could they galvanise the club? 

Firstly fans need to listen to the players and restrict the protests to after the game or after the final game of the season. Both Mark Noble and James Collins have said it affects the team, and clearly the delay on Saturday contributed to the loss of concentration for Burnley's second goal. 

The away fans need to sing their anti-board chants and display banners at the end of the game, not when West Ham go a goal down. The players are human beings. They need to play in a positive atmosphere.

I've read people saying that West Ham have survived relegation before, but it's historically very unlikely for relegated teams to make a quick return. We could be down for five or ten years. Look where Sunderland are now. And is that really a price worth paying for the prospect of new Chinese, Russian or American owners?

The pitch invasions need to stop and paying for extra police is a sound move. If everyone who had a grievance ran on the pitch we'd never see a game completed. Like many fans I paid £800 for my season ticket and I want to see games of football without the threat of ground closure. 

What will it take for Sullivan, Gold and Brady to win back some sort of peace? They are unlikely to sell in the short-term. Appointing a Director of Football for next season, as was announced in yesterday's Evening Standard, is a good start. As Ken Dyer wrote, Sullivan and Gold are elderly men. Sullivan can enjoy his role without having to deal with agents every day.

It would also go a long way if they admitted they have been wrong on some counts and botched the last transfer window. They could explain how stadium revenue might increase. A commitment to spend money next season would help, with Ken Dyer in the Standard suggesting a figure of £100 million if the club stay up. Though as Everton have proved, spending alone does not guarantee success. 

The trio need to stop hiding behind the fact West Ham have little influence with the landlords. They should pledge to do everything in their power to influence the landlords to square off the stands, get some seats closer to the pitch and get a claret carpet around the pitch instead of a green one. They could offer to contribute if the retractable stands were re-developed. They might not succeed, but as anchor tenants West Ham should be in a good bargaining position with the loss-making LLDC. 

Does anyone really want to see the club go down to prove a point? West Ham fans have proved they do not like being misled. But the club is in crisis and the owners, like all owners, are imperfect. The best way to help the team at the moment is to stay united behind them.

Monday, March 12

Why was the Burnley game a low-risk fixture?

It still defies belief that the match against Burnley was categorised as a "low-risk" game by the Safety Advisory Group. Clearly whoever grades games has no input from West Ham fans and doesn't read the papers or go on social media. Yes, a Burnley game would be low-risk normally, but not in the context of recent events. Low-risk meant police did not have to be in the ground. 

There was a large article in the Independent last week about the planned march by the Real West Ham Fans Action Group that was hastily postponed after a meeting with Karren Brady and Sullivan. This also covered the fact that the West Ham Independent Supporters Association still wanted to march and had received threats on Facebook. 

The Evening Standard followed this up with an article on similar lines headlined, "West Ham distance themselves from notorious fan group founded by Inter City Firm members." Saturday's Guardian had a feature headlined, "West Ham fan groups at war after protest march rift", while the Times had a double-page interview with Julian Dicks covering the fans' dissatisfaction with the new stadium and owners. 

The previous week David Gold had been abused by West Ham fans as he left the Swansea stadium. At Liverpool the West Ham away fans displayed that controversial "more damage to the East End than Adolf Hitler" anti-board banner. Then there was the recent release of the club accounts which revealed a £43m profit but less that £2m extra revenue from the new stadium crowds. Every West Ham Facebook and twitter group was talking about the on/off march and there was a lot of anger and frustration that it had been cancelled. 

My daughter couldn't go to the match and I was quite relieved, as it seemed obvious there would be a bad atmosphere and possible trouble. We all knew what it would be like. Even Dr Watson would have probably got the general mood. Why didn't the people who manage the stadium know what was going on? 

Saturday, March 10

Pitch invaders and mayhem as Hammers collapse

West Ham 0 Burnley 3

It's in to the Circus Cafe at Gerry Raffles Square with Matt, Nigel and Michael as both the Best Cafe and Gerry's Kitchen are closed (again). Nigel's got a copy of the Times with a Julian Dicks interview where the former Hammer recalls the good old days when he had porn mags chucked at him from the Chicken Run. We head off to the London Stadium, where the Circus Cafe's name proves strangely prophetic. 

In the first half the crowd is supportive and gets behind the team. West Ham actually play pretty well and create chances. Arnautovic shoots against the keeper's legs, as does Lanzini, who also fires just wide, while Mario fires over when well placed. Antonio is beating players but not getting in effective crosses while Arnie has one of quieter games, but at least the defence holds out. 

At half time we are at least able to admire the new Jonjo Shelveys beneath our block, with Nigel leaving his 'lucky' banana skin on the shelf for Joe Hart to pick up. 

The second half is summed up by Moyes not acting with his subs and Dyche bringing on Wood as a second striker for Burnley, clearly sensing the game is there to be won. When Barnes slams home Wood's cross from the edge of the box on 66 minutes it all turns toxic. A supporter runs on the pitch and Mark Noble gets involved in a scuffle with him. The stewards are nowhere to be seen and look as proactive as our defence. 

It's not wise of Noble to lose his discipline, but you can't fault his passion and an idiot on the pitch isn't going to help anyone. Nobes shouldn't be having to act as a steward himself. Had there been a protest march today rather than a botched cancellation and civil war among the fan groups, perhaps some of the frustration would have been vented and this wouldn't have happened. But you can't go on to the field of play. To the half dozen Herberts who invaded the pitch, you are not 'real' fans in any way. How will a ground closure or points deduction help West Ham?

There's a long delay and in the bad atmosphere the Hammers rapidly lose concentration and concede another goal to Wood four minutes later. Without the initial pitch invasion we might have retrieved a point, at least. There's another pitch incursion after the second goal as an invader is allowed to grab a corner flag and plant it in the centre circle. The stewarding is again inept. There's also a mass of fans gathered around the directors' box for the rest of the match chanting, "you destroyed our fucking club!" It's all getting very ugly, and again there's no police or stewards. 

It gets worse as the restored Hart, who has looked nervous all game, parries a long-range shot straight to Wood, who scores the third. Luckily there's an exodus from the stadium to prevent further trouble. 

In the Refreshment Rooms young Scott says that he has never seen a pitch invasion before. We're able to regale him with tales of fans sticking corner flags on the pitch, 'lying thieving cheats' banners and fans on the pitch for the anti-Bond Scheme protests. Steve comments that at least it was memorable 3-0 home defeat as he contemplates tomorrow's long journey home to Cornwall, having earlier met his cousin the Galway Hammer, who had flown over from Ireland for the debacle. 

Should we give up and admit we're going down? Will we go the way of Sunderland? We're all doomed… Rather like the Brexit vote, there's a lot of people who are very angry about different things from badges to broken promises, and the mood is terrible at the club. We have three weeks without a fixture and the board has to find some way of restoring peace at the club, or indeed offer to sell up. Any new owners would have at least initial goodwill.

This is the lowest point of a low season. We're still three points off the drop zone and if Moyes really is a decent manager, he has to find some way out of this, even if the unrest is beyond his control. It felt like a broken club today. 

The protests about the lack of progress and net spending are understandable, but it's not helping the team. Whatever happens, Upton Park is gone and we have to make the new stadium work and try to stay in the Premier League. Fans can't carry on invading the pitch and besieging the director's box every time West Ham concede a goal. We need to call the rancour off for the rest of the season and concentrate on supporting the players for 90 minutes. It's been a depressing day to be a West Ham fan.

Time for Hugill to get a chance?

If Jordan Hugill wasn't a panic buy, as many suspect, then we need to see what he can do on the pitch. It would be good to see him get some minutes today, particularly if Antonio or Hernandez is tiring. There's a history of unfancied workmanlike strikers causing problems in the Premier League, from Grant Holt to Rickie Lambert and Glenn Murray. Moyes seems positively glacial in his use of substitutions at times and you wonder why with West Ham 4-0 down at Swansea he didn't at least give Hugill a bit of experience for the final 30 minutes. The lad looks keen and the crowd will take to a trier. The Carroll factor is always an option when things aren't going well and presumably Hogan will give us that physicality. But whoever is selected we have to something from this.

Friday, March 9

On the shelf

Looking at the Supporters Advisory Board update one of the issues mentioned is "shelving". Apparently there have been complaints there isn't enough shelving for people to put drinks on, so the club has spent £40,000 installing new shelving. Though for me the word shelving conjures up images of some nice stripped pine bookshelves for literary fans to store their half-time books on. 

I'm not sure what tomes would be appropriate for watching West Ham at the moment, but perhaps we could start with a library of Hard Times, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Trial, Heart of Darkness, Remembrance of Things Past, War and Peace, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Pride and Prejudice, The Sound and the Fury, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Paradise Lost, The Grapes of Wrath and, of course, Les Miserables.

Thursday, March 8

Marching to a different drummer

More of the wrong sort of publicity today as the fall-out of the on/off/on/off protest march continues. The Independent has published a lengthy piece on the march saga, its sudden postponement and the threats made to other fan groups who intended to still march. It's now been called off again after Newham Council had safety concerns. Today's Evening Standard has reproduced much of that story and says the board is now distancing itself from some former members of the Inter City Firm.

The real beneficiaries of it going all Life of Brian will be the board as the fans are now split. Supporting West Ham is meant to be part of an inclusive family. Previously the Real West Ham Fans had made some progress uniting a lot of different fan groups. But threatening other West Ham fans because of their opinions or political views is always reprehensible. We sit with fans of all shades of political and football opinion, normally united in misery, which is the way it should be. Let's have some tolerance please. It will be a relief to get back to the football.

Wednesday, March 7

Winston out for the season

More bad news. Winston Reid is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury and so too is Sam Byram. We can live with Byram's injury as long as Zabaleta keeps fit, but the Reid injury is a real blow. Ogbonna should be recovered from illness and Ginge might make it for Saturday, but it makes the decision to cash in on Fonte and earn £5 million look even more short-sighted. Rice is promising but still makes mistakes and now would have been an ideal time to have an experienced European Championship winner to call on. 

The side can't hide behind the excuse of injuries though. Whoever plays against Burnley has to give everything against a Burnley side with big physical strikers in Wood and Barnes. After the capitulation at Swansea the players owe the fans. This really is a must-win must-win game.

Tuesday, March 6

Where's the money gone?

Tonight's Evening Standard reveals West Ham's profit from the first season at the London Stadium — a whacking £43 million. Karren Brady states that the club would have made a similar profit at the Boleyn Ground, as most of it comes from the massive £32.6m rise in TV revenue. Playing at the London Stadium seems to have only generated an increase in ticket revenue of just £1.7 million (total ticket sales were up to £28.6m), despite having an extra 22,000 fans. Presumably this figure will go up as kids' £99 tickets eventually become adult prices and converting offices/shops at the stadium is now completed. To be fair to the board, having relatively cheap seats is no bad thing.

On the positive side it seems the bank debts have been cleared and the club is in a healthy financial position. There's nothing wrong with making a profit, but only if that profit makes its way back into the team rather than to the shareholders. The profit figure is inflated a little by the sale of Dimitri Payet for £25 million and is presumably before £18m was spent on Fonte and Snodgrass. 

It makes business sense to have cleared the Icelandic debts. But having also made a profit in the January 2018 transfer window (and presumably another big profit on this season) the owners have to spend big next summer — if we stay up that is — to prove they want success. While the club was making this massive profit it was signing cheap players who flopped like Nordtveit, Calleri, Arbeloa, Feghouli and Tore. Last summer the net spend was only around £22 million despite Arnie's fee and big wages on Hart's loan and Zabaleta's free transfer. That's just not good enough from a club generating such revenue. The debts have more or less gone. Now let's see the money on the pitch in targeted quality signings.

Sunday, March 4

Failed in Wales

Swansea City 4 West Ham 1

A terrible result at Swansea and now WHU are right back in the relegation mix. The fact Ogbonna and Collins were missing through injuries certainly didn't help and nor did Reid going off unconscious. But that can't excuse the lack of intensity in this performance. West Ham ended up with only Rice left as a recognised centre back, which makes the decision to sell Fonte look even stranger. 

Adrian should have kept out Ki's effort after seven minutes, though the Swansea man was also given too much space. Rice lost his man at a corner for the second and even when Adrian produced a superb save from Ayew's header the defence didn't react and King prodded home just after the break. 

Andre Ayew had a superb game, of course, and made the fourth as he ran behind dozing Hammers defenders and was brought down by Kouyate for a penalty. Why couldn't he ever look as effective in claret and blue? Selling him to a rival looked a mistake here. The only slight consolation was Antonio grabbing a well-taken goal after taking down a free kick. He has to start next time. 

In both games Evra has played in (he went off at half time here) we have lost 4-1 and we are missing Masuaku. It's asking a lot of Evra to perform at this level after missing half a season. It's not a disaster if West Ham can beat Burnley and Southampton in the next two home games — but on this form the Irons won't beat anyone. Moyes has to get some centre backs fit and get a reaction out of this squad for next Saturday.

Saturday, March 3

Eddie Jones the Hammer

Interesting to note that when Stuart Pearce went to watch the England rugby union side train, Aussie gaffer Eddie Jones revealed himself to be a Hammers fan. Jones told the West Ham website: “I used to love Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Frank Lampard – and that claret and light blue jersey I liked. They had those big tough defenders and Brooking was the artist at the front. He always reminded me of Greg Chappell (Aussie cricketer) playing football." When West Ham's next managerial vacancy comes up perhaps Jones should be considered. After all, he likes a tackle and to see penalties converted. And for the ICF members, he knows how to organise a ruck.

Thursday, March 1

Protest and survival: a sense of perspective

Generally the fact that a number of West Ham fan groups have got together as the Real West Ham Fans Action Group to organise a demonstration against the board on March 10 has been a good thing. It's prodded the board into meeting fans' representatives and Karren Brady has had to send a 5000 word letter to supporters addressing some of the issues (not all of them satisfactorily). While David Sullivan is claiming to be reorganising the transfer system, which is some progress.

However, there's also been some people who have gone over the top, and like a lot of fans I couldn't agree with the banner at Liverpool claiming that, Brady, Sullivan and Gold had "done more damage to the East End than Hitler." Never mind the fact that David Gold is Jewish, comparing a mismanaged football club that missed out on a deadline day signing to bombs destroying actual houses and people isn't really showing a great amount of perspective. Similarly there's been a few Herberts on some sites wishing people dead or attacking Karren Brady because she's a woman rather than for club policy, which is never justified. Plus a lot of sensible grievances too, of course. 

The key thing to remember is that we're all West Ham fans. It's a little counterproductive to name any group "Real West Ham Fans", as that implies some are not real fans. The fans at away games are those with 21-plus priority points, and they might have different views to the 22,000 extra fans at the London Stadium. Not getting to every game doesn't make you a plastic fan.

There are many different people with many different issues. I'm not that agitated by popcorn or having the word 'London' on the badge, whereas the arguments about improving the stadium and fans feeling let down by the retractable seating are much more important. Many fans will never accept leaving Upton Park, but there are also some fans who like the new stadium.

Many supporters just want Sullivan and Gold out, but we must also remember that any new owner might not be better (unless the club plummets down the league and it ends up getting saved by a Supporters Trust in the style of Portsmouth or Wimbledon). New investors might be from, say, the United States (Man United and Liverpool), Russia (Chelsea), Thailand (Leicester), China (West Brom), Abu Dhabi (Man City) or England (Mike Ashley at Newcastle). Some foreign investors might get West Ham, but most will see it as a business, and there's no guarantee fans will be listened to or legacy appreciated. Though if they throw more money at the team than the current board it might be fun. 

The board should have had a fans' vote on the move to the London Stadium and the retractable seating promises lead fans to believe they would be closer to the pitch than at present. Though Stratford makes some sense as a home when most fans now live in Essex. New owners would certainly benefit from not having been involved in the move. But it's also possible that the stadium will work within the next ten years (as it has done in some games like Leicester and Chelsea this season) and we do now have 22,000 extra fans at home games. 

Whatever happens, West Ham are not unique, being part of a group of teams in the mini-league below the current top six. There are a lot of other underachieving clubs too. We'll probably always be a bit crap at times and occasionally achieve stunning victories. The club should have won more trophies than it has. We all want to reach 'the next level' and we all want the board to respect us as consumers and listen to us. Let's hope the march has a positive result. But let's also respect each other's views and remember we're not in League One either and things could be worse. And we are all united by a love of claret and blue.