West Ham United and Independent Supporters’ Committee create new path for supporter engagement
West Ham United is delighted to announce an enhanced approach to supporter consultation which, working closely with its supporter groups, includes the creation of an Independent Supporters’ Committee (ISC).
The ISC has been created following regular dialogue and meetings with the Club and the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA), and its structure and format has been created independently by several West Ham United supporters’ groups.
The ISC will form part of a wider structure for supporter consultation, working alongside the Club’s multiple channels of supporter engagement, including our dedicated Supporter Services team, 50-strong Matchday Supporter Liaison team, the Hammers Help twitter handle @westhamhelp, Hammers Help Centre, Disabled Supporters’ Board, Junior Supporters’ Board, and West Ham Women’s Supporters’ Board, as well as regular surveys, personal communication, points of contact, and the recent addition of the Hammers Hub, created in direct response to fan feedback.
The Club have listened to our supporters’ representative groups and there was a desire to evolve the approach to structured dialogue and consultation between the Club and supporter groups.
At the start of 2020, the Club approached the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) to establish dialogue between the Club, several West Ham United supporters’ groups and the FSA, with the aim of achieving regular and meaningful engagement between the Club and supporters’ groups. The ISC will now work together with the Club with all committed to driving forward a constructive agenda for the benefit of all Hammers supporters and their matchday experience.
Despite the challenges faced, commitment to evolving the model of engagement was maintained and discussions have continued throughout the pandemic, with the Club, supporters’ groups and the FSA meeting remotely to understand how everyone can help the relationship to grow constructively. We all share the belief that the model for engagement has to be led by the supporters and, following months of discussions, supporters group representatives met together to finalise a Memorandum of Understanding that was put forward to the Club, confirming how the supporters’ groups wanted their relationship with the Club to work going forward.
After several months of collaboration from all parties, a new independent and democratic supporter structure has been formed, which will replace the Club’s previous forms of structured dialogue, acting alongside the other methods of dialogue and existing groups as an official conduit between the Club and West Ham United supporters’ groups in matters of consultation. The ISC consists of eight West Ham United supporters groups created to represent a range of supporters including Any Old Irons, BAME Hammers, Bondholders, Disabled Supporters’ Board, Hammers United, the West Ham United Official Supporters’ Club, Pride of Irons and the West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association.
Commenting on the formation of the new Independent Supporters Committee, the groups shared the following:
Sue Watson, Chair of WHUISA
“West Ham Supporter groups, the FSA and the club have been working together to create a new supporter-led forum which will enable meaningful dialogue leading to improvements to supporter experience at our club. All parties recognise that the relationship between the Club and some of its supporter groups could be stronger and we feel that the new Independent Supporter Committee will enable these improvements, whilst ensuring supporters' voices will continue to be heard in how the Club is run. The Independent Supporter Committee is for supporters by supporters.”
Lee Vehit, Chair of BAME Hammers
“We look forward to working collaboratively with the respective supporters groups as part of the Independent Supporters Committee. The aim is to fully represent our entire fanbase and by working together for the benefit of all our supporters we can together, truly be West Ham UNITED.”
Ashley Brown, Head of Supporter Engagement and Governance at the FSA
“The FSA sees engagement between football clubs and supporters as an essential part of club business. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to work with enthusiastic and supportive representatives from both the club and the supporter groups to build the structure of the new ISC. We look forward to taking part in collaborative and progressive meetings in the coming months, and believe the ISC can help strengthen the bond between the club and its supporters.”
Vice-Chairman Karren Brady, West Ham United
“I am delighted that we have been able to make this important step in our approach to supporter consultation, which has been developed and created independently by supporter groups working together with the Club.
“On behalf of everyone at the Club, I would like to put on record my thanks to the Football Supporters’ Association, particularly Ashley Brown and all of the supporter groups and their representatives involved for their hard work, and the huge amount of commitment they have dedicated to enable us to reach this point. West Ham United are fortunate to have a loyal and passionate supporter base and we look forward to continue working together positively and constructively in the future, for the benefit of all West Ham United supporters. We can’t wait to regularly see supporters back at London Stadium once again, as soon as it is safe to do so.’’
Head of Supporter Services Jake Heath, West Ham United
“The Club knows just how important it is to consult with our supporters, especially during these challenging and uncertain times, not just in football but in our everyday lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The way in which supporters follow the Club will be different at the moment so our communication with fans is particularly crucial at this time.
“We have continued to meet with the ISC and FSA on matters that are important to our fans, including Club/supporter communications and, most topically, the return of supporters to matches. We will continue to liaise with the ISC on a regular basis, using their feedback in conjunction with the views and opinions received across our multiple forms of supporter engagement and hope this relationship will benefit the entire West Ham United fanbase.”
The first official meeting of the Club and ISC will take place via video conference call in early February 2021.
More information on consultation, including how supporters can share their views and input into this process, will be available via the new Hammers Hub in due course.
The Club welcomes and values feedback from across the entire fanbase, and our Ticketing and Supporter Services teams continue to be available for you to contact directly.
We take note of all the feedback supporters provide to us, using your calls, emails, letters, survey responses, tweets, and of course the discussions we have with supporters’ groups, to form a measured understanding on any views and suggestions relating to Club policy and services. Your feedback helps us to identify the matters that are most important to the fanbase, so please get in touch! We want to hear from you.
Both the Club and the Independent Supporters’ Committee hope that the new relationship will prove to be a unique and strong communication process between the Club and representative groups, for the benefit of all supporters across the fanbase. For the latest information on supporter consultation and the Club and ISC relationship, click here.