Filed: Wednesday, 13th August 2003
By: Graeme Howlett
Hammers supporters are set to boycott tonight's Carling Cup clash at Upton Park with Rushden and Diamonds, in protest against the club's board of directors - and, in particular, chairman Terence Brown.
Protests will be held before, during and after the game against Rushden, as the fans gather to register their disgust at the demise of the club. Central to their complaints is club chairman Terence Brown, who has come under increasing fire in recent months as the Hammers lost their Premiership spot, then sold four first team players including club captain Joe Cole, who signed for Chelsea in a £6.6m deal last week.
Fans are being urged by protest organisers to stay away from the game, and to instead join the crowds set to gather outside the main entrance to the Boleyn Ground throughout the evening.
A press release issued last week by the organisers said:
"We are urging all fans to attend at the ground but to remain outside and voice their disgust for the duration of the game at the way our club has been totally destroyed under the financial guidance of Terence Brown.
"A chairman that despite pleading poverty when it comes to investing in players has always found enough money to pay himself up until this year one of the highest chairman's salaries in British football."
It is thought that several thousand supporters may join the protests, which have been widely advertised in the local and national press. West Ham are thought to have sold less than 10,000 tickets for the game.
Further protests are set to take place around the ground on Saturday when West Ham host their opening Nationwide Division One league fixture against Sheffield United.
Some fans are set to stage a 'stand-in' by refusing to leave their seats after the final whistle. Further protests outside the ground are also planned immediately after the game ends.
Meanwhile an email allegedly from the chairman has found itself mysteriously circulated today; in it Brown sets out the case for his defence, claiming that the club had no other option but to sell the likes of Cole and Johnson in the summer.
You can read a full transcript of that right here on KUMB's forum.
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