West Ham fans have been making the headlines, especially in recent weeks.
However, with their team desperately fighting relegation, it would be difficult to argue that they are helping the situation.
Before Saturday’s matches there was an interesting discussion on BBC 5 Live, which no doubt wouldn’t have helped the mood of any West Ham fans listening.
The two guests were former Liverpool and Blackburn defender Stephen Warnock [now with Bradford] and one-time Birmingham, Hull and Leeds defender [and son of Steve], Alex Bruce [now with Wigan].
Ahead of Newcastle taking on Huddersfield, the two pundits were full of praise for Newcastle supporters.
Stephen Warnock saying that St James Park is a ‘tough,tough place to go’ to as an opposition player and that Newcastle supporters are ‘some of the best fans in the World’.
Alex Bruce was in total agreement and said that with Mike Ashley refusing to allow proper investment in players and the rest of the nonsense from the owner, Newcastle fans could easily have ‘kicked off’.
However, instead the NUFC support ‘They love their manager, got behind the team, it just shows what they [fans of a club] can do.’
High praise indeed.
However, lighting the fuse elsewhere, Alex Bruce then made a cutting comparison with our friends in East London… ‘It [Newcastle supporters] should be a lesson to West Ham really, Newcastle this year, their fans.’
Newcastle fans haven’t been shy of protesting over the years but as much as possible it has always been aimed at the owner(s), with at the same time trying to still back the team [and manager if it wasn’t an Ashley minion].
However, with West Ham fans there is a real over the top vicious edge to it and a feeling of being intent on self-destruction for many of them.
Like Newcastle in their previous home game, the Hammers were lucky to run into a pathetic Southampton outfit who look arguably the worst team in the Premier League at the moment.
So an easy 3-0 victory for David Moyes’ side but it was noticeable just how many thousands of seats were empty, which can’t be totally accounted for with the handful of West Ham fans banned so far.
On the other hand, as Alex Bruce also points out, it just shows how important it is to have a unifying figure such as Rafa Benitez, who everybody can rally behind despite Ashley’s ongoing malevolent presence.
Bringing in David Moyes was a bizarre move after his career since leaving Everton, especially how pathetic Sunderland were last season and the seeds he helped sow for the Mackems this season.
So West Ham fans are missing that leadership figure, with maybe just the odd player such as Mark Noble for them to have any respect for.
Talking on BBC 5 Live – Stephen Warnock:
“I think the [Newcastle] home fans will play a massive part, they have got behind the team in recent weeks.
“They are some of the best fans in the World when they get behind the team…it is a tough, tough place to go.
“Very difficult [as an away player] to play [at St James Park], very difficult fans to play in front of.
“I just feel they will have more than enough and with arguably one of the worst squads in the league.
“There are a lot of Championship players within that squad.”
“It [Newcastle supporters] should be a lesson to West Ham really, Newcastle this year, their fans.
“They could have really kicked off because of the lack of investment and all the rest of it.
“But I think they have appreciated the job that Rafa Benitez has done.
“Newcastle fans love their manager, got behind the team, it just shows what they [fans of a club] can do.”