Blue Pill or Red Pill? Time to Choose!

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Blue Pill or Red Pill? Time to Choose! Published 13/03/18 on Moore Than Just A Club

There are horrors that lurk behind every closed door and secrets that should be uncovered but fear may prevent our inquisition! The offenders have defected, the dissenters have become isolated and the prized assets are losing worth with every passing embattlement.

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more” – Morpheus – The Matrix

Any trial of note will bleed the will to carry on and submission reigns supreme in those of less than determined purpose. It is perfectly acceptable to turn away from the horror show from both on and off the field, but many will lament and yet continue to offer placid support, which has been maligned and belittled on more than one occasion.

There are realities that football fans may accept or may wish to deny however there are truths that cannot be hidden behind a veil of misinformation, weapons of mass distraction and promises of mountain summits yet scaled. The West Ham faithful has been force fed a poultry show from those who may have better intentions but the message and manner of delivery has been less than masterful and much more mutant from down under.

Whilst the footballing critics, handsomely paid pundits and media savvy humorists would look upon the West Ham fans as the rabble who would not quieten down, they would also tar the same as fickle, impatient and misguided. “What would they know? They’re only Fans!”

Whether fans choose to look upon situations with wry smiles and much rolling of tired eyes, there still lies the expectation that the team can make good their application and deliver safety before the last bell rings out. Is this unrealistic? Do the hammers’ fans need a course alarm to wake them from their deepest slumber? Do they need to take their medicine to make them see the truth performing before them?

There is much to hope for but yet still little to wager upon. The fans would assume that Moyes would have gathered the wilting daisies this week and give them the hydration and nutrients they needed to perk up and shine, at least enough for the next game. The assumption would also be that players would be feverishly training, rallying and any joy wiped from their faces but instead replaced by warrior like expressions…akin to a Maori Haka so religiously performed by Kiwi union mountain men.

So why am I not convinced? Why do I feel uncertain and uneasy when photographs are released of players apparently joking around and having fun during training drills? This is not the battle cry I was expecting to witness…or perhaps I am mistaken and the players were saving it all for a jolly Saturday afternoon stroll in the park.

Last week David Gold approached the lads from The West Ham Way podcast in order to directly address some of the concerns and accusations that have been volleyed around the bizarres. Much to his credit, he did not appear to shy away from testing questions and as much as I considered his responses sincere, I also felt that his answers were that of a seasoned businessman, which indeed he is.

The financial question was addressed to a certain degree but the transfer apathy was less clear. Still, the past and present managers were said to be in charge of transfer decisions and the funds available to spend were only determined by the level of debt that the club would be able to manage. That club debt is being held by Gold and Sullivan, upon which they gain a return on their investment.

Of course it is welcome that the return they receive is less than the club would have to pay to banks as was under previous administrations, but nonetheless it is still a return on an investment, which may or may not sit well with much of the fanbase. Many would look upon this situation with dubious eyes and ask whether the debt is perpetually maintained in order to secure future investment revenues? However, what is clear is that the level of debt ultimately determines the amount available in the transfer war chest, which still is not what most fans would expect it to be…especially after all the rhetoric before and after the move to the London Stadium.

As much as was addressed, there were more unanswered questions that should be directed towards David Sullivan, and especially since the financial accounts were released soon afterwards. However, whilst fundamentally the fans may appreciate the business model, they were also sold a ‘package’ in which a lot more money would be available to compete with the bigger clubs…and that just hasn’t happened and most likely never will with the current level of expenditure and under the current regime.

Whilst there are apparent plans in place to address many other issues at the stadium, these are not exactly new promises to make rectifications and build bridges with disgruntled fans who are being driven to despair and possibly many to not renew their season tickets next year. Is this the true indictment of the current malaise around the club? Is this a reflection of how poorly the team have been performing and how under resourced the squad has been? Possibly so, but what cannot be ignored is the ill regard that many fans have towards the ownership and the fan’s perception of lies, spin and ‘failed ambitions’ from the club and board. In short…the perception is that the owners have simply failed this club and its fans!

I remain hopeful that Moyes can rally the team to deliver even greater performances for the rest of the season. For Noble and Collins to be the mighty leaders we need them to be. For Lanzini, Mario, Arnautovic and Masuaku to bring flair, style and penetrate the defences and blast past the setting portieres to bulge the nets and send the fans into joyous hysteria. I remain hopefully deluded!

Unfortunately, many fans will yet feel comfortable with the club leaders, the declarations of intent and the statements of ambition! I am not convinced that they have the financial bulk to lead the club away from debt and push on to higher purpose as was so proclaimed…regardless of how much they attempt to convince me with sincere or otherwise words. The burden upon owners to deliver results and upon promises become more challenging each season. The required level of investment apparently rises almost exponentially without reason…and only to keep in league with the Joneses but hardly with those of profound wealth and global acclaim.

Many fans have delayed verdict upon the club owners until the summer transfer window is complete…only then will the thumb be turned up or permanently down! My fear is that whilst funds will undoubtedly be made available for the transfers, it will be acrimoniously short of what most fans think it should be. You think £100million? Think again!

The fans have an impossible choice ahead of them. To continue to disbelieve, be disenfranchised and not set foot into stadia to watch their team or to continue loyalty supporting the club and team but seek the truths or be content with whatever is given. Many are already being forced to make that decision. Many are turning away from the club that has formed the fabric of their lives. This is indeed a travesty, yet understandable considering the anguish suffered for so long. Fans will have a choice to make…to dig deeper, to loyally support for longer but also to demand answers and rectifications. One wonders if the club are taking note and if they really care when they claim nearly 50,000 are waiting for season ticket. The time is upon us all to decide…blue pill or red pill? You decide!

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