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ISA decline SAB opportunity

Filed: Friday, 19th October 2018
By: Staff Writer

The West Ham United Independent Supporters Association have confirmed that they will not be applying for membership of the club's new West Ham United Supporters Board.

In a statement on their website, The ISA said they would not be seeking membership of the new organisation due to a lack of transparency, adding that as a result the WHUSB "is doomed to failure".

“The WHUSB is no different to the discredited SAB, an organisation which was widely loathed by the majority of supporters," said ISA chairman John Ratomski.

"We call on Karren Brady and the board to meet with WHUISA, the Football Supporters Federation and Supporters Direct to come up with a plan that is democratic, transparent and representative.

"The new WHUSB will do nothing to mend the fractured relationship between the fans and those that run the club."

Replacing the SAB, the WHU(O)SB

The WHUSB is being introduced by the club to replace the much-maligned Supporter Advisory Board (SAB) which was established in 2011 as a conduit between the Boardroom and supporters - the former selecting the latter.

The SAB has since been widely criticised for being non-representative, effectively impotent and unnecessarily secretive, after members were ordered to leave their mobile phones at the door and sign non-disclosure agreements at one Boleyn Ground meeting prior to West Ham's 2016 move to Stratford.

Applications for membership of the rebranded 'WHUSB' - and associate consultation groups 'DSB' (for disabled fans) and 'JSB' (11 to 20-year-olds) - are currently being sought by the club. Both individuals and supporter groups/organisations are welcome to apply.

"The Board are listening to the club’s supporters and trying where possible to bring the changes they want," said vice chairman Karren Brady. "These initiatives will further diversify the groups of fans who have a real voice at West Ham United.

The vice chair is seeking an "improved process"

"Over its eight years in existence, the SAB served as the catalyst for many changes which have made a very real difference to the supporter experience at both the Boleyn Ground and London Stadium, and we thank SAB members for their valuable experience and input.

"However, it was felt that the process needed to be expanded and improved, with a new WHUSB representing the wide fanbase, with an elected chair and vice-chair, and DSB and JSB focusing on the issues particularly affecting accessibility and younger fans respectively.

"These two groups will also feed the into the main WHUSB. We look forward to receiving applications from across the supporter spectrum and working together with West Ham fans in the future for this great football club."

WHUISA have been fully operational since 2016 and currently boast a (paid) membership of approximately 4,500 supporters. The current chairman, John Ratomski replaced his predecessor Mark Walker in July.

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