Like it or not, West Ham United is now a brand as much as a football club.
Whether or not we agree with it, that’s how the sport is going on, and if we have to follow, follow we must. But that doesn’t mean the transition to London super club has to be easy, nor should it. Th e idea that this would be a seamless move to a new stadium was always ludicrous.
The club brand portrayed it and sold it as an obvious choice with downsides, and seemed angered by frustrations from the fans about the way the club was changing. In many ways, last season was needed: a wake up call to a club hierarchy too focused on brand management than fan satisfaction or club identity.
I don’t regret my grumblings, my exasperation, nor do I look angrily upon those who will not renew. A part of this club died with the Boleyn, we have to accept that, and we have now had our mourning period; a season to express dissatisfaction and call for improvements.
I still cling to a hope that one day that dreadful running track will be gone. Hey, if I’m being honest I also dream that one day the Boleyn will rise again. But reality sets in and it has to now: the London Stadium is ours. It will be ours long aft er my death, and it may even be renewed for another 99 years.
The time for anger and sadness has to subside. Regardless of our hatred of popcorn or squinting at the pitch, it is our home and we have to accept that. But while we have to no longer question the merits and the negatives, we have to somehow come together to make it work. Th at means accepting the new fans that make up the 57,000.
That means ignoring the delays to Stratford and not leaving before 90 minutes. That means getting to the ground early to avoid the queues at the turnstiles. It’s annoying, but we have to accept it. If we can’t, we we can at least hope the football gets better.