Trevor Twohig > With the news of ‘Lockdown’ coming to an end, fans are poised to return to football if not this season then certainly for the next. What have we learnt about this exile from the game?
As a West Ham fan, the end of a season can often be bleak; the summer months are often respite from the threat of relegation, or indeed, growing fan unrest.
However, as the season approaches the final games, things feel very different in the West Ham camp. If you ask certain pundits, Rio Ferdinand for instance, he will tell us that the reason for the positivity is the fact the West Ham fans have not been there. The truth is we will never know, but I for one am devastated that we couldn’t have been present to witness the Hammers’ long overdue renaissance.
The final game West Ham fans went to was at the Emirates last year, and we lost 1-0, despite a hearty performance. The game was marked with a ‘Black Balloon’ protest by the Hammers United group, depicting the discontent of the West Ham fans at the current ownership, a feeling that has not gone away during the lockdown period.
It is safe to say that the real winners of the lockdown are the owners of this great football club. The malcontent was at its peak as we arrived at the start of the season, only to see Moyes’ magic men bring back the party times.
As a member of the Hammers United committee, I can confidently assure readers that the results on the pitch do not affect the stance of the 17k strong group, who still firmly see new and improved ownership as a priority in the coming years.
It must be a human trait to accept one’s position in any given situation; to adapt accordingly. As I write this, I wonder how much do I miss the London Stadium these days, and the matchday experience? I guess I do, however, I have grown quite used to watch us win on the TV this season too!
I do look forward to singing ‘Bubbles’ at the start of next season and I rue the fact that we haven’t been able to have this great season, to cement the London Stadium as our new home and make some great memories.
Mostly, I have learnt that the away-day experience is something that is truly magical and can’t be taken for granted. The feeling of getting the train across the country with a select few, to support our beloved team, cannot be beaten.
Whether it is out-singing the Kop, beating Spurs at their place or Brighton on a sunny August afternoon, away days are truly special. The shout of ‘Irons!’ in a tube station packed with home fans, or singing and dancing to ‘Twist and Shout’ at Selhurst Park, the good times always roll, regardless of result.
It will be an interesting return when it finally happens. I hope it makes our home fans realise how special our club is and embrace the new stadium as home. I understand fully the anger that exists, but we cannot go back. The London Stadium is our home and I look forward to turning it into a fortress next season with the Claret and Blue faithful and hopefully make home games as exhilarating as away days moving forward.
What are your thoughts about returning to matches? Will you be heading back, or given concerns over COVID, will you stay away? Is there anything in particular you have missed about matchday?