Written by Katie S @flump9
I wrote an article back in May after the Manchester United game, regarding the media bandwagon that seems to take place surrounding issues with West Ham. Once again, I feel compelled to write another article, sadly discussing mainly the same issues.
From the moment I witnessed both sets of fans throwing items at each other, I knew what the headlines were going to be and I also knew that the majority of it would be aimed at us and not Chelsea fans. I have read some rather absurd headlines suggesting the London Stadium should be shut down and that we should play behind closed doors. However, the headline that really got to me was ‘The Home of Thugs’. How dare people suggest that all West Ham fans are thugs.
I have supported West Ham my whole life, I come from a family of lifelong West Ham fans, none of which have ever been involved in any hint of violence. I, like the majority of West Ham fans, go week in and week out to watch football. West Ham are my passion in life and to hear such negative comments, over and over again, is causing me real frustration. As sad as it may sound, it is like having to defend a family member, when someone has heard a rumour and then got the facts completely wrong.
Nobody with any sense or decency would condone any of the actions of the minority last night, but this is what we have got to remember, it was a tiny minority. There were nearly 46,000 fans inside the ground and apparently 200 fans were involved in any kind of fracas (even this number seems too high, from what I witnessed). This equates to less than half a percent of our fans. I think the media need to be looking at these facts before allowing such appalling headlines to be printed and condemning all West Ham fans.
As ExWHUemployee referred to in his article yesterday, the issues surround West Ham being awarded the stadium caused a huge backlash and it certainly feels as though the media are looking for a headline to rile the public further. Unfortunately, I cannot help but feel that there is a general feeling of wanting the stadium to fail, as they believe that we should not have been given a stadium that was paid for by the tax payer. I know this is a completely separate issue, but I really wish people would remember that it was either this or let it go to ruin!
For me there are many issues with the London Stadium, of course stewarding and policing are a major issue and no doubt changes need to be taking place. However, security in general really needs to be looked at. It concerns me greatly that fans were allowed to enter the ground last night without any security checks, especially when trouble was so highly anticipated. I can honestly say that I have not felt unsafe in the stadium at any point and I believe most fans feel the same.
Sadly, every football club will have a handful of pretend football fans, who have no interest in the football taking place on the pitch and instead want a night out where they cause trouble. These people (I cannot call them fans) are not welcome at West Ham United and hopefully they will no longer be allowed to enter.
Remember this – West Ham fans are not thugs, we are passionate fans who follow their club through thick and thin and this includes the barrage of abuse we are having to take at the moment.