Filed: Tuesday, 27th September 2016
By: Sir Trevor the Brewking
Blaming the stadium is futile. We sometimes lost at Upton Park if I remember rightly. These are professional players and they should be able to put in a better performance than that even if they were on Wanstead Flats.
The stadium is an outward symbol of how our club is changing beyond recognition before our eyes. Not only will it take time for the entire club to adapt to the new surroundings, it'll also take time to adapt to what it's becoming as a club.
We have every chance of becoming this year's Newcastle. Or Leeds. Or Aston Villa. Or Blackburn. What did those clubs have in common and what did we all say about those clubs? That they were rotten from the top and what is on the pitch reflects what's going on in the boardroom etc.
I don't think we're "rotten" in the same way that Newcastle or Leeds were, but I think the move has created a massive disconnect between the people that run the club, the people that support the club and the people who work for the club. And I think this is being reflected on the pitch.
I think Slaven Bilic is a brilliant manager, but maybe the task of single-handedly trying to unite the club - inwardly and outwardly - is a lot tougher than anyone could have imagined.
I watched the Southampton game thinking this: is the West Ham that Mark Noble led out yesterday the same one that he led out last year? Did he play for West Ham as a 12-year-old dreaming of leading out his club anywhere else but the Boleyn? Has a little bit of him died leaving there?
No matter how many times he's been told that the move is a good one, maybe, just maybe, a part of him isn't quite sure. Maybe, just maybe, he subconsciously (even consciously) finds it difficult to put in the extreme effort that he's put in over the past x seasons for a club that's moving so far away from the one he joined.
As an aside, after the game he said that he'd been there before with this club. He couldn't be more wrong. This is now a different West Ham. The pressure is now a hundred fold. The pressure NOT to be taking that stadium into the Championship will become stifling.
We could fill Upton Park in the championship, we were the Cup final for many teams in the Championship, with that stadium we will be an embarrassment. Tickets will have to be literally given away to create any kind of atmosphere. This is a whole new level of pressure; Noble, none of us, have been there before.
And if that is the case, I can't blame him one jot because right now that's exactly how I feel. And if it's true for him, the club captain, maybe it's true for some of the other players.
Maybe Dimitri Payet felt at home at Upton Park, loved what it stood for, and maybe that played a part in him going from Marseille cast-off to player of the Euros in a single season. Maybe it's part of the reason why Tomkins wanted to go.
I could be wrong, but I watched yesterday with the increasing sense that the problem is systemic - it's not about formations, or personnel, or poor signings, or confidence, it's just manifesting itself in all these things.
We are in a period of extreme transition, possibly unprecedented in top flight English football. Until a new West Ham has been constructed in the image of the new surroundings, new aspirations, new culture etc, we will struggle. As a team, as a club, as a set of supporters.
What we've tried to do so far is shoe-horn the old West Ham into a new stadium and everything else that comes in it. It's not working and I hate it.
It'll take a complete overhaul of our club before we can truly enjoy the supposed benefits of the move and all that's come with it. I'm not for sacking Bilic but he will go and we'll end up with a manager more attuned to the nouveau aspirations of the owners.
I'm not for wholesale clearouts but maybe until we have a whole squad of players who have no history or attachment to the Boleyn and no experience of what it was like to have that stadium behind them, we'll never truly move on. And maybe until we have a crowd dominated by new fans, we'll still have this air of discontent.
And once we've done that - got a new manager, a group of players with no attachment to the West Ham tradition, in a stadium that's not only not Upton Park, but isn't even football stadium - I'm not sure what's left.
The two Daves and Karren haven't saved our club. They've partially killed it. And unlike previous owners, what they've done is irreversible and I, for one, will never forgive them for that.
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.
12:14PM 28th Jul 2009
''Nice to read a bit of positivity instead of all the doom and gloom merchants, well done!
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