Marlene Dietrich and the room full of sparrows! Published 12/04/18 on Irons United
Now call me the luddite if you will, but sometimes changing things for its own sake does not resonate with my sense of advancement. I am the same in life as I am with my regard to football and especially when it comes to West Ham United.
“The internet was supposed to liberate knowledge, but in fact it buried it, first under a vast sewer of ignorance, laziness, bigotry, superstition and filth and then beneath the cloak of political surveillance. Now…cyberspace exists exclusively to promote commerce, gossip and pornography.” – Ben Elton
So when I see bad decisions made in the name of the greater good then I tend to want to curl up in the foetal position and cry myself to sleep, but not before bashing my head against a brick wall whilst singing “Hallelujah” Now, these bad decisions could be those made by Moyes in his starting line ups, or substitutions…or not playing Hernandez to his strengths…but it has invariably been from within the club over the last few years and we’re all pretty aware of what they are.
However, what I tend to get disillusioned with is the commentary from so many of the so called experts on TV but also from the online masses who would make fiction…fact or opinion as an absolute truth. The beauty of football being that anyone can have an opinion, but rarely does it stipulate that it has to be an informed one.
I do not hide from the fact that I am not the finest exponent of any form of social media and my twitter posts are more likely to be advertising for my words…or opinions…about West Ham ownership or the team performances, however I cannot fathom how some people are allowed to get away with the nonsense they spout…and then they have the gaul to make vitriolic accusations about the players, manager, the board…or even other West Ham fans without consequence!
Fortunately I tend to not engage with the purveyors of drivel and tend to focus on what is proven and what is a balanced opinion, however even having a debate these days, one might as well run the gauntlet for all of the commotion it might generate, let alone the personal attacks anyone is likely to get.
Of course I’m not blaming Twitter or Facebook for the problems at West Ham, because they are without doubt self generated, however I do wonder whether the social platforms have turned normalised dissension into frenzied abuse without rhyme nor reason? If for example a fan site asks its followers to offer an opinion about a team selection…and you might offer yours, then you’re just as likely to have nods of approval along with others who would rather burn you at the stake. To top it off, their rationale is merely another opinion that they are claiming to be fact…and when challenged to prove it’s fact, then you’ll tend to get radio silence or more abuse.
Yes, we’ve all been at the wrong end of a keyboard warrior at some point, however what I thought I would never see was the divide it has created within the West Ham fanbase and how some people are taking this absurdity to another level…if only they had the courage to say this in person?
This is not so much a ‘Board in or Board Out’ debate anymore but more about which fan faction do you align yourself with, whether you want to protest, march or throw green eggs at anyone who has a different opinion, let alone the main antagonists of this saga, which are the owners themselves. Most fans sit in the middle ground now and it has nothing to do with their personal feelings towards the owners, the club or the players. Moreover they are bewildered by the debate, the anger and the differing factions…march – no march, protest now or later…or not at all, friend or foe…fight or hug fellow fan, loathe or love thy neighbour?
Of course, there is lots of good humour to be found on social media too, and for that we should all be thankful that some people can still see the light even in the darkest of places. However there are those who have unscrupulous motives who would upset the applecart, make random and false accusations with little to offer to substantiate any claims…even against fellow fans!
Karren Brady wrote about this in a recent column, and whilst I am by no means her number two, I did find myself agreeing with her sentiments. However, once again many people were launching into vile abuse and totally missing the point of what she had written, instead resorting to personal attacks and everything relating to her role at the club.
I understand the anger and frustration because I feel it too, however I would stop well short of any personal attacks simply because it is not in my nature to do so but also because most of the time we have not been made aware of all of the facts surrounding their decisions. This is not a defence, but merely another indictment of the poor communication from the club and the owners, especially over the last two years.
It appears that the fight should be outside, directed at the club and the owners but some sections of the fanbase have started to turn upon themselves too. Not only is this poor for fan morale and unity, it also makes it a lot easier for the owners to deflect any accusations volleyed their way. They maintain the high ground and the fans look like a rabble and unprofessional, when in truth they are anything but. They appear huddled in a darkened room, chirping away with increasing volume…but nobody is listening anymore.
So what is the solution and how can all attention be redirected towards the source of the issues? Well, first and foremost all focus should be on survivability and secondly it should be to hold the owners to account for the new actions they have said they would undertake in the 5000 word statement released recently. The next level of scrutiny must be during the summer and the level of investment they place on the table to reinforce the squad and when will the director of football be employed? Fans can only judge them now and protest accordingly, however if there are plans and promises in place now, then they have to be given a timeframe to execute them…before the fans launch to execute the owners in return.
West Ham has become the box office poison as were some Hollywood stars of yesteryear. Nothing they can do will be right and almost anything right they do will still be wrong. They need to stop playing with the frilly dresses and put on the big boy trousers…get the issues sorted and invest properly with ambition fit for the club and the fans…because regardless of how many personal online attacks they might get from fans, they will only leave the club when it ceases to be profitable for them. There is no room for the club to act as Marlene Dietrich…and we all need to empty the room full of sparrows.