Wednesday, 26 August 2009
West Ham v Millwall. A Simple Question.
Before the game kicked off, I posted that the best result would be for the night to pass off without incident. Once the match was underway, I was upset when we went behind and, until I heard about the stabbing and before the pitch invasions, was desperate for us to equalize. Never mind the Carling Cup, never mind it was Millwall, losing to a Division 1 team at home would have been humiliating and might have undermined confidence for the Premiership campaign ahead.
However, as the game ticked into the last ten minutes, I began to dread an equalizer. It was so obvious that a late goal and extra time would simply stoke the wild fire that was beginning to rage out of control. As a West Ham fan, I found myself wanting West Ham to lose for the sake of the reputation of the club and the safety of innocent fans, local residents and members of the emergency services.
Now I have called for West Ham to resign from the competition and, predictably, West Ham fans have objected. What about the players? What about the innocent fans? Well, my question is simple, you choose. Would you have preferred a shock exit from the Cup (whilst fielding an understrength side) and no violence; or would you rather be in the hat and have the violence of last night? What is more important, the reputation of the club or a place in the second round of a cup that is so meaningless that the big 4 let Tottenham win it?
If you look at the bigger picture, the answer should be obvious. The odds are against us winning it anyway. We could go out in the next round.
As somebody has rightly posted, if you were considering buying West Ham, would you want to be associated with the club after last night's events? What sort of business could risk a link with us after those scenes have been beamed around the world? The idiots who spilled onto the pitch and engaged in street violence may well have driven a nail into the club's coffin.
And what about our bid to host the 2018 World Cup? How bitterly ironic that the mindless element were from the Bobby Moore stand - the guy must be turning in his grave this morning at the disgrace brought upon the club and country he represented with such pride.
Zola meanwhile looks and sounds shell-shocked. What if he decides, to hell with this, I don't want to be involved with a club supported by this scum? He is a man of honour, a good, proud, honest, sporting man; I would not be surprised if he is wondering if he has found the right club for his "project". "Seven years at Chelsea and 11 months at West Ham and I have never seen anything like that before". That has a slightly ominous ring.
What if a resignation headed off more draconian sanctions? What is more important, a place in the next round or playing Premiership games behind closed doors?
Think of how we would assume the moral high ground as a club by saying the following:
"We won on the pitch but we do not want to take our place in the next round because we want the football world to understand that we share the disgust at what happened. Millwall played well but could not beat us; we were defeated by a sick element within our own fan base, an element that we wish to disassociate ourselves from completely. We understand that the majority of our fans are good people and know that they will understand why this move is necessary. The Carling Cup is a great competition but the good name of football and of West Ham United are much more important. We leave the competition undefeated but not unbowed. Sadly, it was the enemy within that hurt us more than the opposition team. They do not represent West Ham in any way but we accept responsibility for their actions and apologise unreservedly on their behalf. We wish Millwall well in the competition."
Posted by Hammersfan at 15:04