The Official Supporters’ Board (OSB) is helping to improve the experience for West Ham fans across a wide range of issues, paving the way for more positive actions to come.
Currently made up of 17 supporter representatives and selected by an independent panel, the OSB offers the best possible representation for our wide and diverse fanbase. It provides OSB members with independent access and an opportunity to challenge and influence what happens at the Club. All of this has led to the OSB trying to drive a strategy of continuous improvement of the fan experience, with updates on the following areas below.
On 15 March, the OSB released a report on food and drink at London Stadium, with catering partners Delaware North (the matchday catering provider) addressing the feedback collated by the OSB direct from fans. Delaware North attended the recent OSB meeting in February 2019, answering questions from supporters, taking on and setting actions, and committing to work with the OSB going forward.
Following discussions at the meeting, Delaware North also agreed to trial £5 a pint for our last home match of the season versus Southampton. The offer will be available on pints of Amstel and will feature across all areas, both inside and outside of the Stadium. Read the report here.
The OSB then joined Delaware North and Supporter Services staff prior to the Everton match for a guided tour and review of facilities around the entire stadium. Kiosks were observed in operation and the supporter feedback that members of the OSB had received was raised with both Delaware North and Supporter Services. Following feedback from the OSB, additional beer, spirits and food units were placed in Block 114 from the Everton match onwards.
Two new Fan Zones have been introduced outside the Billy Bonds Stand and are open, pre-match, half-time and after the game. There, fans can find food, drink and matchday entertainment, from DJs to interviews with Hammer legends.
Ahead of the Fulham game, for example, supporters enjoyed an exclusive Q&A with Jack Collison, Carlton Cole and Marlon Harewood, with similar events scheduled for the final home matches of the season.
The Club was delighted to welcome OSB Vice-Chair Jim Dolan at the Fulham match, helping the Club to film parts of a new equality and diversity campaign video alongside DSB representatives Cathy Bayford and Trevor Bright and fellow OSB members Lee Vehit (representing BAME supporters) and Cecilia O’Herlihy (representing Women).
Lee is also working alongside the Club’s Equality Advisory Group to assist in formulating the equality strategy. Lee and Jim met with Head of HR and the Club’s Equality Lead Michele Gull and CEO of the West Ham United Foundation Joe Lyons, to discuss the formation of a BAME supporters group, with the next meeting scheduled for the end of May 2019, to be attended by BAME supporters and the Club. To contact Lee, email [email protected]
Joe Lyons said: “Equality and diversity are two of our core principles at West Ham United and we welcome the opportunity to work alongside Jim and Lee in the creation of the BAME supporters focus group.”
Michele Gull added: “It’s fantastic to have added the views and experiences of our supporters on the OSB to our agenda and to further support the aims and objectives of our Equality Advisory Group.”
In addition, Jim Dolan and Alastair Holmes of the Pride of Irons provided training on LGBT+ matters in the senior stewards briefing before the Fulham home match.
Jim and Alastair focused on issues such as discriminatory behaviour in the stands, the reporting and support mechanisms the Club has in place, and how stewards play a key role in helping to assist our fans.
London Stadium’s Safety Officer Phil Harris commented: “After it was raised at the OSB meeting, I invited Jim and Alastair Holmes from the Pride of Irons to our pre-match meeting, and they did a great job in helping us to raise awareness of the issues that matter most to LGBT supporters within the game.”
Provision of sanitary products
As part of the Club’s commitment to equality, the OSB requested that the Club consider providing free sanitary products in the women’s toilet facilities around the general admission concourse at London Stadium.
The Club and OSB are pleased to announce that, following this request, that sanitary products will be available on match day at the start of the 2019/2020 season with updates to follow on @WestHamHelp.
Sanitary products will also be available in a number of our accessible toilets which are gender neutral. For more information email [email protected]
The OSB raised discussions around the environment, waste management and London Stadium being a green stadium.
West Ham United and London Stadium are delighted to be working with Sky Ocean Rescue and the Premier League on a trial of reusable beer cups for the remaining home fixtures at the Stadium, which started with Huddersfield on 16 March.
The results of the trial will be analysed before any long-term decisions are made, in conjunction with the London Stadium.
Paper straws also replaced the previously used plastic ones from the Everton match.
Following a meeting of the ticketing subgroup on 21 March, the Season Ticket renewal deadline was extended until 31 May at the request of the OSB.
The OSB set the agenda for the meeting, with supporter representatives raising topics for discussion, such as the Ticket Exchange service, away supporters sitting in home areas, the seat relocation process and away match ticketing. Read more on the Ticketing subgroup here.
OSB Chair David Baker said; “The OSB have and are taking direct fan feedback on a wide range of issues to the Club on a regular basis and, in some cases, this has been tough feedback. We are pleased with the progress we’ve made to date.
“The Club, the Stadium and Delaware North have been receptive to our ideas, suggestions and input. This has encouraged healthy, honest and forthright discussions at OSB meetings and we look forward to continuing to push and challenge the Club, for the long term and for the benefit of all supporters.
“I continue constant dialogue with the Club to discuss the progress of the actions and how to take them forward together. There is lots to do and the whole of the OSB is working hard and well together to represent fans to the Club as effectively as possible.”
Kit Design subgroup
The OSB met with the Club and our kit manufacturer to provide ideas and suggestions for the Home, Away and Third kit designs for our 2020/21 campaign.
Feedback was collated by the OSB from the wider fanbase and shared with the Club to help inform the design process.
Agenda items covered the considerations made by the manufacturer in the design process, including technical specifications, Premier League regulations and performance requirements, before an open discussion was held on the most iconic kits in the Club’s history, as well as some of the favourite elements of past strips that supporters noted when submitting feedback to the OSB.
Members of the OSB and the Junior Supporters’ Board (JSB) attended the meeting to provide feedback on behalf of fellow supporters.
Follow @WestHamHelp for further updates.
The first of two Matchday subgroups will take place on Wednesday 5 June 2019 at London Stadium, focusing on Safety and Operations.
The meeting will be led by the OSB and the Club’s Head of Operations Ben Illingworth, with other senior Club and London Stadium staff also present.
The second Matchday subgroup, covering Matchday Entertainment, will be held at London Stadium on Wednesday 19 June 2019, led by the OSB and Club staff across a range of departments.
Ten supporters are invited to attend each meeting, including a mix of OSB and JSB members and also members of the wider fanbase.
The OSB will be collating feedback from supporters ahead of both meetings.
Follow @WestHamHelp for further updates.
Disabled Supporters’ Board (DSB) and Junior Supporters’ Board (JSB) updates
Meetings of the Club’s additional supporter consultation boards were held recently, with the DSB meeting for the third and final time of the 2018/19 season on Wednesday 16 January 2019. Minutes from the meeting can be read here.
The Junior Supporters’ Board (JSB) also held its inaugural meeting ahead of the Everton home match, with an action-packed day for the young Hammers who attended and their families. For more information on the first meeting of the JSB, click here.
To find out more about the OSB, visit our dedicated Official Supporters’ Board FAQ section on Hammers Help or email [email protected]