We’re legit, pukka, proper, sorted. Who is? The board of the West Ham United Supporters’ Trust (WHUST). We held our first AGM in February. It was procedural — to comply as a community benefit society regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It dealt solely with our accounts and electing a board.
We became a trust to attract high-quality people who might not otherwise want to be involved in a fan group. That worked. And now all the board members have been properly elected. We have produced an annual report covering our work up to now, which you can read on our website or download and print.
And we will begin holding regular general meetings to allow shareholders to drive the direction of the work we do. You can become a shareholder for just £5 a year via our website.
If anyone has difficulty with online membership or reading our documents and wants them posted, just ask. The editor will pass it on. So, meet our board (in alphabetical order):
Nick is a former senior civil servant in the department of work and pensions. He has supported West Ham for more than 40 years and is a Club London member. Nick has been focusing on the Fan-led review of English football and works with colleagues from other trusts within the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).
Richard is a qualified senior banker and lending consultant, with experience at director and board member level. His understanding of commercial and financial issues will enable Richard to act as a ‘critical friend’ to the club, whether that is collaborating with the club or holding management to account.
Kevin works in publishing but has a legal background on top of his languages degree from Oxford. He is also a town councillor and a school governor. A third-generation West Ham fan, Kevin has acted as treasurer of WHUST and was one of the founding directors who helped convert the old supporters’ association into a regulated trust.
Mark had a career in senior business management and now acts as a consultant to start-ups. He has been watching West Ham since 1968. Mark acts as company secretary for the trust (which he helped found). He has become an expert in the football broadcasting rights arrangements and works on that with the FSA.
Anthony was a project manager for a large multinational. His first West Ham game was in 1970. He wants to bring back ‘the noise, the atmosphere, the passion, the excitement’ that is sadly lacking at the London Stadium. He leads on WHUST’s work improving the atmosphere at matches.
Rachel is a teacher, originally from New Zealand. She was taken to her first West Ham game in 1996 and was instantly hooked. She is an away season ticket holder and goes with her family to matches home and away, in the UK and Europe. She has set up and runs a group for women West Ham fans called Intrepid Irons.
Terry is a former local authority education chief. He has been supporting the Hammers for more than 60 years, initially being taken by his father with a stool to stand on in the Chicken Run. He brings experience of local government and a passion for engaging with the wider community. He wants to use his experience to help build ‘a better run club’.
David worked in mental health in the NHS for 32 years. His first West Ham heroes were Pop Robson and Clyde Best. David emphasises WHUST behaving in a constructive manner. ‘It is easy to abuse from the side lines. What is more difficult is to engage with and influence,’ he says. David works with the FSA mental health project Terrace Talk.
Susan is a former senior teacher. With more than 50 years of supporting the Hammers, Sue got involved to try to improve the matchday experience. As chair of WHUST and its predecessor, Sue has built up good relationships with club personnel, the stadium owners, Newham Council, the police and the FSA. She gave evidence to the Fan-led review, meets referees on VAR and leads within the FSA on cryptocurrency.
Chris is an award-winning freelance journalist. His grandfather, Norman Corbett (pictured with Chris), won a wartime cup medal with the Hammers in 1940, despite not playing in the Wembley final because he was refused leave from the Essex Regiment. Chris handles media and comms for WHUST (including writing these articles) but he also handles ticketing.
All the directors are volunteers, but all work hard and give up a lot of time as well as their expertise. WHUST believes the new board can build the trust of the fans.