By the Coach (who has an allegiance to West Ham)
There is a very strong paradox in English football. It is called West Ham United.
Over the years the famous East London club is providing some of the best talent in English football and yet its performance is one of mediocrity, to say the least.
Why is this paradox? Why is it that the club that produces so much talent hardly achieved anything significant over the years (with the exception of winning a few Cups and a European Cup Winners Cup)?
Some West Ham supporters will also argue that West Ham has won the World Cup. I disagree; England won the World Cup, not West Ham.
West Ham players were used to win the World Cup in 1966 just as they are today (and through the years) by other clubs to win trophies.
What generates this acute paradox then?
The answer is almost a total lack of ambition by the owners and low expectations by the supporters. The two combined together create a ground which is fertile for promoting personal gain.
And over the years, owners, agents, lawyers, even financiers and other intermediaries have taken advantage to make private fortunes.
And history repeats itself. Since it is almost impossible to alienate the loyal fans of West Ham United it is easy to use the club to make deals that create personal wealth rather than building an infrastructure and a team that can make West Ham great.
West Ham United fans are just so easy to fool. They are passionately in love with a dream team which in reality doesn’t exist.
So many supporters travel all over the country despite the fact that their team more often than not will disappoint them.
They spend so much money out of their limited income because they live and breathe West Ham United.
And unlike Fulham and some other London clubs, West Ham has a very strong supporter base which could easily fill a 50,000+ capacity stadium (such as the Olympic Stadium).
Moreover, West Ham fans are so understanding and forgiving. It is like they have been conditioned to accept their fate. Survival is everything, anything else is just a bonus.
But it shouln't be so...
So, lack of ambition and low expectations are the roots of the problem. Attitudes need to change before a real change takes place. This is easier said than done. It takes many years and sometimes generations for attitudes to change.
In the meantime, the owners and other people close to or associated with the Club who are proficient in promoting their self interest will always take advantage.
They will know that they can get away with anything as long as they package it properly so as to be palatable to the ever understanding, passionate and forgiving West Ham fan.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, in north London, there is Arsenal and a totally different story.
Arsenal, like West Ham has a huge support base. But that’s where the similarity ends.
Arsenal is a club that even before the era of Arsene Wenger and George Graham showed enough ambition both by the owners and management to build a team that competes and entertains and one which always aims for the top.
Unlike West Ham United fans, Arsenal fans are more demanding and less forgiving. They expect their team to compete for everything and do stay home if the entertainment and success level of team falls below par.
Some West Ham fans may say that Arsenal fans are spoiled and that they are not true fans. But I disagree. Fans should not give their support to the team unconditionally. Loyal fans deserve something in return for parting with their hard earned money.
The owners of the club should never become as comfortable as traditionally West Ham owners have been so as to take for granted the supporters and thus be tempted to abuse their position for short term personal gain.