In the firing line?

You can almost see West Ham supporters queuing up now to be the one who says: Karren Brady, you're fired!

It's wishful thinking, but maybe there are now the slight flutterings of a wind of change rather than the stench of stagnation and spite around our club.

This last week or so, following the fallout from ' Supplement-gate' , West Ham have been the centre of a maelstrom of negativity from all quarters of the national media. And increasingly, Brady has been the one facing the flak.


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Under pressure: Can Brady stand the heat?


You would have thought her bosses by now would have been fulsome in their support for the vice-chairman. But apart from David Gold's less than convincing, "she works her socks off" comment, nothing. The silence from David Sullivan has been deafening.

Too many own goals. Banning journalists, for basically doing their job. Banning a fan, a gross overreaction for displaying a protest t-shirt - that situation alone went around the world and figured in media in Australia and the US. Then the young teenager on the Junior OSB, voicing her concerns at the way she has been treated. All good for the brand, that.

And there's been the ongoing verbal war with Hammers United, the now 11,000 strong group who plan protests at Liverpool on February 24 and then at the next home game against Southampton on the 29th.

Attempts to coax HU and their co-protesters WHUISA into meetings with the OSB, Brady and directors in between those two matches have fallen on deaf ears.

Now I don't have to fight HU's corner for them, they are big enough and ugly enough to handle that themselves, but surely everyone realises that any meeting with the loathed and undemocratic OSB is HU's red line. It's never going to happen.

HU have kept their cool while being branded morons, thugs, belligerents and trouble-makers. They realise with the mainstream media now firmly on their side, and letting rip at the Brady bunch on a daily basis, they don't need to be manipulated into any orchestrated involvement with the OSB.

Even TalkSport, after initially banning any mention of HU, have allowed a committee member on air this weekend while pundit Perry Groves has launched his own criticism of West Ham.



Banned and reinstated: It's been a busy week for The Telegraph's Matt Law


The belligerent approach from the club's media department, very much under Brady's command, had banned the Telegraph's Matt Law for the crime of actually reporting on HU's first very restrained public meeting and then voicing an opinion on Sunday Supplement. That ban has now been lifted.

But there has still been the pro-board stuff, worryingly from Steve Lomas and Tony Gale, while the Mirror's Darren Lewis has been on air defending Sullivan and co.

And Gold's interview last week - word from journos is that they were tipped off by someone that the joint owner wanted to talk - has done nothing to change the mood. He did not have to, several PL chairman after that meeting declined to comment.

Gold could have scampered to his waiting taxi - presumably the one that had kept his meter running after a previous half-hour chat. But he didn't, and guess what, he was doorstepped. Wow, such an outrage, you had visions of reporters in trench coats, with press passes in their trilby hat bands.

Nothing wrong with that, it's what the fourth estate are there for. In a democratic society, they are supposed to call the rich and powerful to account. And if that means standing in the cold outside a London hotel, so be it.

But none of this is dousing the heat being generated towards Brady and the board, with HU continually stating that they are protesting about the owners' ten year tenure of the club, and that they are 100 per cent behind the team and the manager in the ongoing relegation fight.

But the cracks seem to be appearing with Brady seemingly increasingly isolated. Bloggers and ITKs who used to be supportive of the board are openly changing their tune. Folk seem to be re-positioning themselves. Brady has seen plenty of criticism from people previously considered as allies.

Other anti-board bloggers are openly calling for her to go. And still no vote of confidence from the board. Maybe, like a football manager, that could be the kiss of death.


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A lengthy working relationship - but are the cracks beginning to show?


But the undercurrent is beginning to flow. There's talk of a split on the board, that Sullivan and Brady don't always agree. Rumours of discontent elsewhere continue to grow.

The question is, would her departure take the heat from Gold and Sullivan? Is that what all the tittle-tattle you hear floating around the club and the support they have from the posh seats, is all about?

Wishful thinking probably, things are never that simple. But is Sullivan thinking that the good lady has outstayed her welcome? That the friction, the spitefulness in handling journalists and one humble t-shirt-wearing protester, has done far more harm than good?

He may ask himself whether the Baroness' departure would be mourned by one solitary supporter?

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