Newcastle United, West Ham, Sunderland – Similar problems but 3 very different fan responses
West Ham have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons on Saturday.
Pitch invasions from multiple fans, aggression towards each other and a scuffle between a player and a fan. Disgraceful scenes if you ask me and I would argue largely not very constructive (In the event West Ham lost 3-0 to Burnley. I’m not fussed in the least about that because for some reason I’ve never liked the Hammers – probably something to do with floppy chops ‘arry. I digress.).
The fan unrest and protests are a culmination of frustration against the owners. Lack of investment, poor choice of manager and a season’s campaign that has left them on the brink of relegation.
The parallels with NUFC are clear for everyone to behold but we have yet to descend into the chaos that the London Stadium saw yesterday.
Dont get me wrong, we have had protests, but by and large we have remained stoic in the face of adversity – especially inside our stadium where the team need our support (and there are no horses to punch).
Another club with whom we share a similar narrative is that of our beloved rivals down the road. Lack of investment, disinterested owner and poor results have led to the Mackems staring at an abyss they are unlikely to get out of.
We have not descended that far yet either and hopefully never will. The response from Sunderland’s supporters has been resignation. I don’t remember seeing them invade the pitch and media coverage has never shown me their fighting spirit in other forms of protest either. Aside, that is, from leaving the Stadium of Light less than half full for each home game.
With the impending closure of the upper tier it’s evident that the fans have had enough and voted with their feet. We, on the other hand, can boast 50, 000 fans every home game.
So, to my point.
Three clubs with very similar problems but with three different reactions.
As their form of protest, one set of fans decide to set about their team and each other.
Another set of fans protest by disappearing.
And finally, us. Our form of protest has been to shout and punch horses outside the ground, unfurl flags inside the ground, but in stark difference to the other two clubs mentioned here, to turn up and support the team on the pitch.
Despite the different responses of the fans though, the end result as far as ownership goes, will be the same.
Gold and Sullivan aren’t going anywhere soon, even after Saturday. There’s simply too much money to lose, especially if West Ham go down. The owners will stay in the hope of one day recouping their losses.
Ellis Short isn’t going anywhere for the same reasons as the West Ham owners. Too much money invested, too much to lose and the promises of a huge pay day if Premier League status can be attained in the future.
Mike Ashley isn’t going anywhere either, unless he gets a bumper offer that gives him a good profit on what he has invested.
Ultimately, fight, flight or whatever, makes no difference. The promise of the Premier League gravy train means that whether you like the current regime at your club or not, you are more than likely stuck with it.
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