Fans' Forum Feedback

ANOTHER 26 supporters attended the Club's fourth Fans' Forum in the Castle Suite at Upton Park on Monday evening.

Managing Director Paul Aldridge and Financial Director Nick Igoe were again in attendance to answer fans' questions on a number of issues.

In response to supporters' comments about the Club's position Nick Igoe revealed at the Forum that West Ham United has the ability and ambition to re-establish itself among the top ten clubs in the Premiership.

Nick stated: "In the Club's last season in the Premiership it achieved the eighth highest overall income, excluding TV revenue, which proves that when West Ham United regains its Premiership status there is a lot of potential to move the Club forward."

Paul Aldridge added: "We have the ability and resources to become a top eight team in the Premiership, but the process takes time and our first aim is to get promoted."
Everything from ticket prices to transfer budgets was on the agenda, while the cost of pints and the possibility of a healthier half-time food menu were also discussed.

The proposed development of the East Stand was raised, and Paul Aldridge assured supporters that the Club's intention is to complete the Boleyn Ground re-development.

He said: "We continue to work on the plans to finish the redevelopment of the Boleyn Ground and when the time is right it will definitely happen.

"However, everything comes second to building a team that will take the Club back to the Premiership and it's not viable to complete work on the Stadium when money can be better spent on team strengthening."

Another area that often divides supporter opinion is the issue of smoking in football stadiums. While some grounds have moved to ban smoking in certain areas, Upton Park continues to allow smoking in its seats. However, Paul Aldridge admitted that legislation may soon force Upton Park to become a smoke-free zone.

"It's possible that legislation may soon enforce stadiums to become non-smoking," he said. "From a health point of view it is certainly something West Ham United would promote, however it can be a difficult situation to police when supporters have been used to smoking in the Stadium."

Events during the evening included a kit presentation with representatives from Reebok on hand to explain and take fans' questions on the new home and away kits for next season. Once again, model Samantha won unanimous approval, while the new designs were also well-received by supporters.

Lifelong supporter Carl Carey also praised the Open Day held at Upton Park last week, where young fans packed the Dr Martens Stand to watch the players train and to collect autographs.

He said: "I thought the Open Day was fantastic and a great opportunity for fans to interact openly with the players and coaches."

Meanwhile, David Hoskins added: "I think everyone benefited from what Paul and Nick had to say. The quality of debate was good and the evenings are important for supporters."

Due to the fact that the Fans' Forums so far have attracted many repeat questions from supporters keen to be reassured about major issues concerning West Ham United, a more detailed summary of the four Forums so far will appear here on the official website and in the HAMMERS matchday programme shortly.

The next two scheduled Fans' Forums will take place on Tuesday 22nd March and Monday 25th April, kicking-off at 7.00pm. There are limited spaces available so please apply quickly, either in writing to Fans' Forum c/o West Ham United, The Boleyn Ground, Green Street, Upton Park, London E13 9AZ or by email to [email protected]