West Ham fans run onto field to protest team’s disastrous move to Olympic Stadium

You’ll recall that West Ham United F.C. moved out of its 112-year-old Boleyn Ground in 2016 and into London’s Olympic Stadium, after the city spent something like a billion pounds building it and then handing it over to the team with a sweetheart lease in which the public has to pay for everything from security to corner flags. Previously West Ham’s owner had called the stadium “ridiculous” and fans threw coins, bottles, and even seats at fans of opposing clubs; are things going any better now?

“Pitch invasions” is British for “fans running on the field,” and “players scuffle with fans” is British for this:

This is truly the worst for everyone concerned — taxpayers, fans, players — especially with West Ham currently only three points above the relegation zone, which is British for “if they lose one more game than one of the teams below them in the standings the rest of the way, they could be sent to play in a lower-level league.” And now Eurosport sportswriter Desmond Kane says the building should just be demolished, or at least redesigned (again) for soccer:

It should be knocked to the ground and rebuilt as a football stadium as soon as possible. Juventus and Bayern Munich have left stadiums built for athletics for stadia suitable to host football. Sevilla and Real Betis opted out of a move to an athletics stadium in Seville because of such dangers.

You’ll get no argument from me here, though there is the little problem that the Boleyn Ground currently looks like this, en route to being redeveloped as housing:

So, in short: The city of London is losing money, the team is losing money, fans are miserable, the team sucks, and there’s no going back. There are lose-lose scenarios, and then there is West Ham. At least everybody loves some soccer schadenfreude.

6 comments on “West Ham fans run onto field to protest team’s disastrous move to Olympic Stadium

  1. You missed an important point/ West Ham supporters groups are the worst football holligans in England. The “Green Street Firm” is so notoriously famous for violence, they even made a movie about them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Street_(film)

  2. I don’t think they invaded the pitch to protest the move. They did it because the team got smacked and has been playing terribly of late.

    If they were protesting the move, they’d have done that from the get-go.

  3. ” The city of London is losing money, the team is losing money, fans are miserable, the team sucks, and there’s no going back.” Threatening to move to Vegas can’t be far away.

  4. This goes back quite some way… certainly the move away from Upton Park has angered a segment of the supporters groups (and the all out war between different supporters groups is a major subplot in the current situation – the Guardian has an article on that very thing if anyone is interested in looking it up), but the anger at ownership has many sources.

    The groups were told the club needed to move to generate more revenue in order to invest in the playing squad. Well, they’ve moved, they’ve negotiated a sweetheart lease at the non-football stadium (so I don’t see how they can be losing money…PL tv payments alone should keep them afloat), they have increased capacity…. but they aren’t spending the money on players.

    One of the owners has been seriously ill of late and his 18yr old child has been making public comments about playing staff (you’d think there would be an emphatic lesson re: nepotism being broadcast to the world from Washington, wouldn’t you?). Supporters have legitimate questions about where the money that West Ham earns is going. It doesn’t seem to be reinvested into the club itself (though the owners are not duty bound to operate WHU as a break even proposition, of course).

    Also, like many other clubs, the money they are spending on players is often wasted (see Carrol, A.). They also have injury problems to key players… and are still just above the relegation zone.

    It’s a bad situation, but it’s emphatically not all down to the team circling the PL drain. That is what is so worrying… even if the club escapes relegation (and given the quality of the clubs below and around them, they could easily stay up) this battle is likely to continue for years yet.

  5. … also:

    “The London Stadium, even the unnecessarily grotesque title of it, is a repulsive monument to the past.”

    So…. 2012 is so far back that we have monuments to it now?

  6. The team is not losing money. They’ve never been more profitable. It’s just that West Ham have never been exactly been a model franchise. They’re a classic yo yo team, but this stadium deal makes them one of the most profitable teams in the Premier League. If they can just manage to run the club even moderately competently, they’ll be the 3rd biggest club in London (at least).

    They’ve built 4 modern large football stadiums in London in the last dozen years, clearly overkill. Tottenham, an actually well run club, will be broke in a few years due to the debt on their privately financed stadium.

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