The genesis of our demise

  • by wratts88
  • Filed: Thursday, 23rd January 2020

Let's be honest - all this this is nothing new.

In my 25 years supporting this club I've seen two relegations, a few close shaves and even a few glimpses of the promise land of European football. It was one of the joys of supporting this great club of ours, you never knew what you would get.

But what was consistent was the identity of the style of football, the attacking, attractive, innovative style play whilst producing local players, that was started by the great coaches in the 1950s; Allison, Bond and Cantwell, continued by arguably the greatest football coach to come from these shores - Ron Greenwood - and then passed on to his pupil and the greatest West Ham manager of them all Johnny Lyall.

Embed from Getty Images
Saint John

They created a style that drew you to games, as John Motson always said "you never see a bad game at West Ham". Even in defeat we were entertaining. And it was the same off the pitch, the family club, the loyalty of the board and those who worked there made the club different from others, it's what gave us fans pride and it also gave the club identity.

But I'm afraid that this is no longer the case. We now play in a big soulless stadium, a stadium that was built for athletics and rock concerts not football, a stadium that is the complete opposite to our old home at Upton Park. We have a board that has no idea or plan on transfer policy, what type of managers we want to take us forward and of course how we can become a so called "big club".

But if I'm honest this has been building up way before Sullivan, Gold & Brady arrived at the club. If I can point to moment where it begun, it was the moment that Harry Redknapp was sacked as West Ham manager.

Despite what people think of Harry - and I admit I sympathise with his doubters - he was, in my opinion, the last of the managers who played what I call the West Ham way. From 1997 to 2000 we were one of the most entertaining teams in the country, and it was a shame that, through lack of money (and Redknapp's mouth) that he lost his job.

But then after Harry's reign the problems began. Terry Brown, a very weak chairman made the mistake of not appointing a name manager. We were close to having a then up-and-coming Steve Mclaren before he chose Middlesbrough. Instead we hired Glenn Roeder.

We then introduced Alan Pardew, who had a bigger ego than that Jose fella. Though we had some good times with a Cup Final in 2006, he allowed his ego and personal life to affect his job. We then had Alan Curbishley, who although a proper West Ham man produced football that sent many a fan to sleep.

It was during this time that we were purchased by the Icelandics, fronted by good old Eggert 'Eggy' Magnusson, who promised Champions League football and spent fortunes on has-beens and crocked stars. When the world banking crisis came along in 2009, it affected the club to a point where it almost went out of business.

Curbs had gone and was replaced by Gianfranco Zola, Chelsea legend. In fairness, he tried to bring back the West Ham way using a very poor pool of players. But if we are honest, Zola was also out his depth.

Embed from Getty Images
Curb your enthusiasm: like Lyall, a former player

By this point the club had been sold again to our current very unpopular owners amidst promises of moves to the OS, 'next level' football, buying better players etc, all driven by the most hated woman in football. Her connections at The Sun and Talksport have further pushed the limits of our loyal support.

Since they have been in charge we have had five relatively poor mangers, a relegation, a play-off win and one great season (which just happened to be the last at Upton Park). Other than that all I've seen is the loss of loyal supporters replaced by tourists and popcorn. They have allowed the bad sides of modern, tacky, commercialised football to seep into our club - and all the fine traditions I have mentioned at the beginning of this piece have now gone.

But they aren't wholly to blame for our problems. This has been coming for a long time. The club has been in decline for much longer than their 10 year reign, started by the weak leadership of Terry Brown during which the club lost its way.

I hope is that one day there will be owners at my beloved West Ham who make the right appointments, have a transfer strategy that works, hire a manager to build a team that plays the style of football that goes along with the traditions of the club. I hope to see the West Ham way return to the East End.

But as the song goes, "just like my dreams they fade and die".

* Like to share your thoughts on this article? Please visit the KUMB Forum to leave a comment.

More Opinion