This season has become more about the issues surrounding our move to London Stadium instead of performances on the pitch.
Problems with stewarding and the stadium’s surrounding areas have been high on the list of things fans have been moaning about most since the beginning of the season, and rightly so.
Fans have been demanding answers to their questions about decisions made by the club since the move from the Boleyn Ground was confirmed, and the club is now making real, positive steps to now only listen to fans’ concerns but also start putting some issues right.
So we were invited along to meet with vice chairman Karren Brady at London Stadium on Tuesday night, along with a number of other independently run West Ham blogs, YouTube channels and forums including the likes of The West Ham Way, Hammers Chat, West Ham Fan TV, Sex, Drugs & Carlton Cole and KUMB.
During the three hour meeting, Karren Brady spoken honestly about the issues the club has faced inside and outside of the stadium this season and listen carefully to the concerns we all raised and the questions we ask.
Before I go in to the main talking points covered during the meeting, it’s worth noting that Karren Brady took everything we said on board, was very honest with her answers and spoke with genuine passion about wanting to get things right for the fans.
She did go as far as saying the club has made mistakes with regards to the stadium move but that it is now committed to ensuring these mistakes are rectified as best they can and are now working hard to make London Stadium an enjoyable experience for all fans of all ages.
Here’s a brief run down of the big talking points from the meeting…
Karren Brady said that the club will make another attempt at luring former stewards from the Boleyn Ground to take up job offers at London Stadium.
She explained that this has been done before but that the club will do all they can to convince them to come back with the promise that they will earn the same wage they did at the Boleyn.
A letter has also been sent to LS185 to request all stewards be paid the London Living Wage.
Improvements have already been made in this respect and it’s fair to say the club have already done a good job in rectifying the early issues.
Season Ticket Prices
There have been some concerns about the pricing of season tickets/bands within London Stadium, and Karren Brady confirmed that the club intends to review this ahead of next season.
It’s not yet clear how or what they’ll do, but she did admit that there will be ‘open days’ which will allow season ticket buyers (current ones who are relocating or new) to visit the stadium and physically try their seat before they buy.
One of the biggest talking points since moving to the ground is the distance between the seats and the pitch at London Stadium. Unfortunately, due to vast costings involved and the way in which the stadium was initially built, it is currently impossible to have the seats moved to closer to the pitch while the club does not own the stadium.
It would take extensive building work and, from what I gather, the removal of the running track, for this to made possible.
Relocating Boleyn Ground vendors
Karren Brady explained that due to Westfield Shopping centre and the fact the club does not own the land surrounding the stadium, therefore meaning vendors would need to obtain specific licences to be able to operate around the stadium on matchdays, presumably at a much higher cost than than at the Boleyn Ground.
There have reportedly been incidents where fans have been told they are not allowed to hang up their own flags from within the stadium for various reasons.
Karren Brady has agreed to allow fans to send their flags directly to the club, who will then put them up and take them down before and after each home match, in an attempt to make the inside of the stadium feel more like home.
The above are just a few key talking points we felt needed relaying back to fans at the first instance, while others have gone in to much more detail on their sites or YouTube channels.
It has been agreed that this meeting will be held regularly (every three months) for each of us involved to raise any fresh issues fans may have and, of course, to review actions made by the club on the points raised in previous meetings.
We would like to extend our thanks to Karren Brady, Paul Cox, Max Fitzerald and Tara Warren for arranging the evening and inviting us along to be part of what was a very insightful and productive meeting.
Watch the guys from Hammers Chat discuss the meetings main talking points below..