David Gold speaks to us about fans booing, not sacking Sam Allardyce and dreaming of winning the FA Cup

West Ham joint chairman David Gold says it is “outrageous” for fans to boo their own players during the game

West Ham joint chairman David Gold says it is “outrageous” for fans to boo their own players during the game – but says they have every right to make their feelings known once the final whistle has blown. In an exclusive interview with Blowing Bubbles, he admitted he has been frustrated with how the team have performed this season – even when they have been winning games – but says it is important supporters consider the bigger picture.

“Whether you are booing the opposition, the manager or even the owners, the players will feel they are being booed so I would urge all fans to be wary of booing during games,” he said. “It’s obvious if you are booing the referee because he has given a penalty against you but other than that, you can’t risk booing anything because the players will take it personally.

“These young men are all about confidence and booing doesn’t help. I have also never known a team to come back after being booed at half time and play better. Booing after the game is all right – that is the right of every fan in that stadium once the final whistle has been blown because they have paid their money. I have never done it in my life but I understand why people do.” Frustrations on the terraces have peaked in recent weeks, with Sam Allardyce being criticised by a section of the away support at West Brom as West Ham fell to their seventh defeat in nine games.

But Gold insists that frustration is shared by everyone inside the club, with the board, manager and players all unhappy with recent results and performances.

“The fans might have been suffering at times this season but let me tell you the players have been suffering more,” he added. “Nobody feels the pain of losing more than the players. The fans are disappointed. I get that. Fans, like me, want to enjoy themselves. If we lose, I have a pretty miserable weekend and I can’t wait for it to finish so that I can get distracted by other things.

“Sitting at home is very depressing when you are beaten by a side that you feel you should not have lost to, and that is what erodes the confidence of the fans. This football club would be nothing without its supporters but we’ve got to take the rough with the smooth.” While the players and Allardyce have taken the majority of the criticism in recent weeks the board have also taken their share of blame. Yet while Gold accepts the criticism is part of the job and admits mistakes have been made he says he won’t accept people questioning his motivation.

“It’s painful when you know you are doing the best you can and it’s hurtful when a fan says I am only doing this for the money. It’s cost me a large fortune to get where we are today. And where are we exactly? We have recovered from the brink of administration, we have recovered from relegation and every day and in every way, we are getting stronger.”

Despite the recent results it is hard to argue with his assertion that things have improved, especially when you look back and consider the Hammers were stuck in the bottom three at the turn of the year. Being in the relegation zone at Christmas was also a painful time for Gold – especially when he was sat around a table with the Premier League’s other 19 chairmen. “They all look at you as if you have got the plague,” he mused. “You try and put on a brave face but you are hurting because your pride is hurting. You want to go up to the likes of David Gill of Manchester United and say good luck and it’s been an exciting season but you can’t do that when you are in the bottom three because people reply and say you will be all right but they don’t know if you are going to be all right.

“It’s a low point for any club when you are in the bottom three but it’s worse at Christmas because at that time of the season, you’ve got every chance of being relegated.”

Despite being stuck in the relegation zone the club “never discussed” sacking Allardyce – and Gold is happy to point out that five of the six sides below West Ham in the Premier League table have changed managers at least once this season. “Of course, club’s panic and sack managers and spend the rest of the season regretting it. Others don’t sack their managers and spend the rest of the season regretting that.

“We believed Sam was the man to get us out of trouble. When we brought Sam in we told him we had been relegated, the club has large debts and that whatever he needed to get us promoted and to stay in the Premier League would be done by myself and David Sullivan. “We didn’t say we want you to play exciting football or that we want you to play this way or that way. All you can ask of the manager is to do what you require and that has been to get us up and keep us up.

“You mustn’t forget that some clubs have been relegated from the Premier League and never come back up. Nobody has a divine right to being in the Premier League so we have to work hard and we have to give 100 per cent to ensure we remain a top flight and that includes the fans. They hate to hear that all our aspirations are just to survive but I would say that after this season, I would expect us to push on.”

It seems every Premier League club would want to move to the next level, but Gold says he and David Sullivan have a clear vision for where the club want to be in five years’ time.

“I want us to improve on the position we finish this season and have a good cup run. You can, however, only have good cup runs if you are doing well in the league at the start of the season and you aren’t under pressure of relegation. But if we are playing well early next season, are well up in the league and there are a few clubs yet to get into double figures, we should be a bit more bullish about the cups and I would love nothing more than having a run in the FA Cup and going to Wembley.”

To do this West Ham will certainly need to strengthen this summer and Gold expects the club to be “busy” in the transfer market once Premier League safety has been secured. “We will be waiting to see who gets released from their club,” he explained. “There might be players at some of Europe’s biggest clubs, say Barcelona, who lets a player go and for West Ham that might be an exciting opportunity. We might also find some opportunities to buy players from relegated teams. They will be looking to sell their prized assets to balance the books.

“We’re not in a position to challenge for players who are wanted by clubs in the Champions League, our competition is with clubs like Stoke, Newcastle and Southampton. You also need to remember that our debt is reducing all the time. We will be able to lose our debt with the banks after the sale of the stadium. When that is sold and we move into the Olympic Stadium we will be in a really good position to compete with everybody. “Both David Sullivan and I have had to invest our own money for so long now and that can’t go on forever. The club has to get to a situation where it is self-sustainable and that nothing can hurt it.

“At the moment relegation could hurt the football club but when we move to the Olympic Stadium, although relegation is the last thing on my mind and this is for those who are interested, we could get relegated and we would be strong enough to ensure that we get straight back.” Perhaps in the future there will be a few fewer reasons to boo after all.

“At the moment relegation could hurt the football club but when we move to the Olympic Stadium, although relegation is the last thing on my mind and this is for those who are interested, we could get relegated and we would be strong enough to ensure that we get straight back.” Perhaps in the future there will be a few fewer reasons to boo after all.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.