It doesn’t rain, it pours for West Ham. Relegated to the Championship, the jokes about the Olympic Stadium and tickets have been flying around Twitter for the past few days, and now a big bust up at their annual end of season dinner.
Why on earth a club puts themselves in that position God only knows. It’s just asking for trouble, whether you’re likely to get relegated or not. Overpaid footballers + pissed die hard fans = carnage. The terraces are bad enough, so here at Football Rascal we weren’t surprised to hear that the end of season West Ham ‘do’ turned nasty.
Late Monday night, police were called to a Central London hotel after violent scenes erupted following Ba’s exchange with a guest. All sorts of stories have been flying around about why, but the official line is the French-born Senegal striker was racially abused by a fan before he was removed by security guards.
“I signed his autograph, then he asked me, nicely, how I was feeling,” Ba said in an interview with Talksport. “I said I was tired from the Wigan game because it was a tough game. He said he was tired of watching us play every week.
“I was surprised, and explained it to [Manuel] Da Costa, pointing out who had said it. But when the guy saw me talking to Da Costa he was screaming, all over the place.
“All of a sudden he starts screaming at me, like crazy. He kept on screaming and some players dragged me away and tried to calm him down.
“He was smashing some tables, it was crazy. He started insulting me, and my team mates came between us. [Danny] Gabbidon came and said ‘Demba, sit down’.”
Ba then claimed that the fan racially abused him.
“To tell you the truth, with his accent I didn’t understand everything he said, you can hear I’m not speaking English perfectly, but the people next to me said he was saying racist stuff.
“Gabbidon heard what he was saying and came over, and he started abusing Gabbidon as well.
“I was surprised because if you ask anybody they will tell you I’m a calm guy. I won’t fight, I will always find a way to talk to people. When I saw it in the newspaper I didn’t realise a story could be changed like that.”
Whatever the reason, the players and fans should never have been put in that position. The reason for the annual dinner is to raise money for the academy, and of course I applaud any kind of fundraiser, but to be honest if they have enough cash to buy some of the Olympic Stadium they should have enough cash to fund their academy. And there are better ways to do it.
As a huge football fan I’d give anything to be in the same room as the players I follow week in and week out, but is a dinner piss up the best way? I get lairy enough when I see exes in the pub, let alone a squad of players who two days earlier broke my heart by getting relegated from the Premier League. No wonder none of the team wanted to go, it had massive fan abuse written all over it.
The truth is players do what they are told. Who was dishing out the orders? Sullivan, Gold and Brady obviously. This incident really highlights the stupidity of these ‘successful’ business people and shows that they cannot run a club or organise a piss up in brewery. In the case of Sullivan and Gold they are apparently fans of the club, but made some shocking decisions this year that no fan would have made.
They stuck with a nice guy manager for a relegation battle when you need a man motivator. A large amount of time and effort went in to securing the Olympic stadium rather than securing the clubs future in the Premier League. They signed a left back on £95,000 a week, (another Barry Silkman special) undermining the manager at the time very publically. Reports from Avram Grant’s camp are now saying up to 6 managers were offered his job in January.
It is a complete sham at West Ham.
For West Ham fans, this end of season ‘do’ maybe a wakeup call for what is going on. It just highlight’s the complete lack of understanding the board have. I mean I don’t know how many other teams have an annual end of season do with fans? From a business perspective it’s like having a work Christmas party with clients. It just doesn’t happen – it has P45 written all over it.
I suppose the good news for West Ham is that no-one will want to go to next year’s party, so they can legitimately cancel it without admitting they were wrong. This was a small incident that highlighted a lot of problems in a negative way. Unfortunately for Hammers fans, the future for looks bleak.