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No more OS for us, say Italian Hammers

Filed: Friday, 16th September 2016
By: Staff Writer

One of West Ham United largest non-domestic supporter groups has announced that they will no longer be attending home matches at the Olympic Stadium.

The Italian Irons, who have been travelling from the European mainland to east London for several years in order to attend West Ham's home matches have confirmed that they will be restricting their visits to away matches for the foreseeable future.

And that, they say, is due to the manner in which loyal, long-term supporters have been treated since the club moved to E20 in the summer.

"Italian Irons, West Ham United's official Italian supporter's club, announce that will no longer attend games played at London stadium as a group starting from the next home game against Accrington Stanley," read a statement released by the group. "For this reason no more flag or symbols of the Italian Irons will be displayed in the new stadium.

"It is not an easy decision, born some months ago and definitively matured after the recent home games. We had always doubts and scepticism about moving from Upton Park to Stratford, but we were patiently waiting to see the brand new stadium in person.

"We have attended all home games played so far and we finally made the idea that the road taken by the club, in this so called 'new era', not really reflect the meaning of what the West Ham United is.

"The people that have met us perfectly knows that we will always have the sense of belonging to the Boleyn Ground because of the shirt, the colours and the history of this club. The new building may be beautiful and luxurious, but inevitably without a soul. We feel like something [the stadium] is not ours.

"Fans [have] the permanent threat of season ticket withdrawal just because they stand up during the match. Recently someone was banned from the stadium for this very reason," the statement continued. "We wonder if it’s right to blame West Ham supporters for the kind of problems seen at home games.

"The club doesn’t care about supporters' opinion, they charge £45 for a non-UK membership that only allows you to enter a ticket ballot for most home games with no guarantee of a ticket - and the club says it has 20,000 supporters on the waiting list.

"We believe that the a change of direction is really needed by the club. They have to consider the introduction of standing sectors and family blocks. The club has to solve their problems without blaming the supporters. The club is world famous because of them.

"So we‘ll not attend home games until the club changes its strategy and until all WHU supporters are treated as they deserve to be treated. We will instead be present at away games when we can be, like in Chelsea, Slovenia and Manchester. this season."

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