Karren Brady

An open letter to supporters from Vice-Chair Karren Brady

Hello everyone, first of all, I hope you are well and enjoying your summer.

As we get ready to prepare for the 2024/25 Premier League season, I wanted to spend some time reflecting on another successful year for West Ham United, before turning our attention to a bright and exciting new future.

The 2023/24 season saw our men’s team put in some fantastic performances to finish in the top-half of the table, while we progressed to the quarter-final in the UEFA Europa League in what was an unprecedented third consecutive season in European competition.

Meanwhile, in their first full season under Rehanne Skinner, West Ham United’s Women’s team produced several strong performances to confirm their status as a Women's Super League side, giving everyone something to build on as the new season approaches. The memorable win over Arsenal at Dagenham was an encouraging reminder that we are moving in the right direction as we seek to challenge the top WSL clubs on a regular basis.

The Academy of Football again showcased its pedigree for producing world class talent. Following the FA Youth Cup victory of 2023, we saw the likes of George Earthy, Kaelan Casey and Lewis Orford continue to progress as the future stars that we have a global reputation for producing. Anyone who was at London Stadium for our final home game of last season against Luton Town will know just what an extra special feeling it was to see George score his first senior goal for the Club.

It would be remiss of me not to thank David Moyes once again for his role in bringing success to West Ham United on that magical night in Prague in June 2023 that gave an entire generation of Hammers fans their first taste of European glory and a memory that will last a lifetime. 

Jarrod Bowen celebrates with Mohammed Kudus

There is now a great feeling of excitement and optimism around the Club as we prepare for a fresh new start this summer. 

We are delighted to have appointed Julen Lopetegui as the Club’s new men’s Head Coach – he is someone with fantastic pedigree, experience, and success in his career. The former Spain, Porto, Real Madrid, and Sevilla coach joining us marks the next step in West Ham United’s new and growing football strategy, which gained pace in the summer of 2023 with the arrival of Tim Steidten as the Club’s Technical Director.

We believe Julen’s appointment will ensure a strong opportunity to build on the positive progress made in recent seasons, helping the Club to move forward in the direction that aligns with our ambitions.

All the success on the pitch has also taken place as we continue to see our players positively impact the lives of those in our local community, across east London and Essex. Through the Players’ Project, our players continue to volunteer their time, helping us directly reach over 60,000 people across the year.

Julen Lopetegui and Tim Steidten at Rush Green

We were involved in so many projects last season that delivered direct positive impact in our local community and our fanbase. I reflect with great pride on so many moments but some of the highlights across a multitude of exciting initiatives include:

  1. The ‘Cheers to’ campaign with our sponsor Heineken, which involved our star Mexican international midfielder Edson Álvarez; a great example of how we work with valued partners to bring benefit to our loyal fans.
  2. The hosting of our third Iftar event at Chadwell Heath, attended by men’s and women’s players, their friends and families, Academy players, Club staff, members of the Muslim community and Club Iman Shaykh Khalil, and supported by Lyca Mobile.
  3. The opening of our doors to our young supporters for our Junior Hammers Takeover Day at our final home fixture of the season, which gave young Hammers supporters the chance to shadow members of our matchday team.
  4. And finally, marking the class of 1964, West Ham’s FA Cup winning team of 60 years ago, in a special reunion at London Stadium.

Now, as we look ahead to an exciting new chapter at West Ham United, I wanted to address some of the key questions and themes that our fans have asked us about over the past season. Our Supporter Services team is now headed up by West Ham fan Cat Smith, our Head of Supporter Services & Fan Engagement, who – with 10+ years’ experience in the football industry – will be working with Tara Warren to grow the Supporter Services and Fan Engagement department, ensuring that our fans have as many ways as possible to connect with the Club. Cat and her team deal with thousands of individual questions across the year, and the main areas that have emerged as priority topics are: 

  1. Matchday experience and atmosphere
  2. Facilities, catering and security at the London Stadium
  3. Our commitment to affordable family football 
  4. The development of the Fan Advisory Board in consultation with our supporters

We are so grateful for all the feedback we receive and will continue to collect this in a more structured way so that we can ensure we are delivering the things our fans want to see. 

Fireworks at London Stadium

Starting with the Matchday Experience, we are all fortunate to have experienced some unforgettable nights in Europe in recent years, as we faced off against some of the biggest teams on the continent. 

At our 62,500-seater Stadium, one of the largest in the Premier League, there is continued investment and improvement in the venue. Some aspects will be obvious to fans, including the post-match pitch side bar, the matchday DJ at selected games, fan mosaics and displays and increased entertainment outside the stadium. There will be more of this in the future. 

We have been enthused by the commitment of groups, such as the Ironworks Alliance, who want to galvanise our fans to create more noise and more atmosphere in our stadium. We will support them to deliver this shared objective.

Looking ahead, we will be working closely with our supporters on ways to enhance the matchday atmosphere even further because we need you with us all the way. It is so important to us that our players experience the atmosphere created by all 62,500 seats being filled for every single match, and we will be working with our supporters to achieve that objective.

Moving onto the next theme of facilities, catering and security – our utmost priority is ensuring that fans can access and enjoy our stadium in a safe environment. At every game, we continue to have 50 dedicated SLO matchday staff, alongside 30 DSAs for our fans with access needs. All staff are trained to help you with any queries you may have.

We’ve also increased our signage around the stadium, introducing an SMS service to make it even easier to report anti-social behaviour directly to our control room on a matchday. We have welcomed the Metropolitan Police’s Violence Against Women and Girls unit to speak to our supporters on matchdays –another way we worked hard to make our stadium a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all our supporters.

Meanwhile, on an ongoing basis, we work with the Stadium operator to ensure that fan experience is at the centre of all decisions. We will continue to work to support the best possible options for our fans and share your feedback regularly to improve your experience. 

The next topic you have asked us on is ticketing. I wanted to reiterate that our commitment to affordable family football remains a priority. Our small price uplift this season meant we can continue to invest in our playing squad as we strive for success and ensures that we still have some of the cheapest Season Tickets in the Premier League. 

We will continue to work with our fans next season to try to find the right balance between growing responsibly and sustainably and ensuring all our supporters have the opportunity to come and watch the team they love.  

Fans at London Stadium

Finally, and perhaps most importantly right now, you asked us what is next for our Club.

We’re continuing to seek ways to make it easier than ever before for like-minded fans to meet in their local communities wherever they are in the world. West Ham United is proud to have millions of passionate supporters across the globe, who all follow the Hammers in different ways. The brand-new Official Supporters’ Club portal, which will launch in the coming months, will allow our supporters to connect with like-minded fans, build local networks and access exclusive benefits and competitions – another way for us to talk to, and hear from our supporters.

We have been working with our supporter representative groups to develop West Ham United’s Fan Advisory Board. I would like to put on record my thanks to those fan representatives who have so generously given their own time and commitment as well as Ashley Brown from the FSA to ensure a robust and thorough process we could align behind. Representatives will meet three times a season with the Club, with the aim of constructively bringing benefit to everyone across our fanbase. We are all very much looking forward to working with them.

We have been working hard behind the scenes to continue shaping the right strategy for West Ham United’s future. Our ambition is to be back competing in Europe and we believe Julen will play a key role in accelerating the growth of the men’s team. We will continue to support and invest in our women’s team to ensure they remain strong contenders in the WSL and continue to inspire our community off the pitch.

Our Academy of Football will remain a leading light at West Ham United and something that we believe will create not only fantastic footballers, but also fantastic people who contribute positively to our community.

Throughout our long and illustrious history in east London, there is so much for us to be proud of as a Club, as well as excited for the future, and our continued success as an equity leader only serves to drive us to even greater heights.