Filed: Saturday, 3rd April 2004
By: WC Pete
I'll start by saying it was a bitter and humiliating defeat against Reading today.
Bitter because having played more games than anyone else in the race, we couldn't afford to give up a single point. Humiliating because apparently our side cowered meekly in defeat. It's become fairly obvious, without the luxury of actually seeing this or any of our matches, that West Ham are not a big match side.
The defeats at Sunderland, Millwall and now Reading were all huge; some points HAD to be taken from them. It looks to me like Alan Pardew's biggest job in the next 12 months is to get our boys mentally hardened. To compete in the Premiership, the side needs to develop it's mental toughness - it's as simple as that. If you can't win big matches, you can't move up a level.
Now, what really, really disturbs me, and what seems to have got worse in the last couple of years, is the overall behavior of our fans. Where did we derive the arrogance to metaphorically sentence managers and players to death after each disappointing performance?
"Out with so and so!" ... "So and so is a disgrace!" etc, and so forth. From all accounts the atmosphere at Upton Park has all but disappeared - except to boo when things aren't perfect. After every match KUMB's forum is filled with poisonous invective aimed at our players and managers, and it's readily apparent that the majority of the bile spewing whiners weren't even at the match.
People act as if their lives depended on it, as if every player and officer on our side personally owes us a debt for their existence. Here in Philadelphia, we have the Philadelphia boo-birds (supporters of Philadelphia teams, especially the Eagles) who whilst being very passionate about their clubs, boo the very sight of their players. They probably boo while in their beds at night.
I hope that this isn't where our support is headed. I became a Hammers fan because of the incredibly loyal, festive and loving support the West Ham family had (and the team was cr*p back then too!). It was infectious. It doesn't seem to be that way anymore.
I know we've had a hard three or four seasons. It's when things get tough that the true character of a team's fans show. I would suggest that some of our fans need to re-evaluate the way they are expressing their support.
The support of the fans is probably good for a few points every year. By all accounts the Reading fans proved that today. How about all the whiners put away the belief that we have a divine right to win, and be in the Premiership, stop acting like spoiled children and get behind the club. Join the core loyalists who have been there since the beginning in urging the side on.
They shouldn't have to sing 'Bubbles' on their own.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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