Over the course of last season, there was a worrying trend. It started as a small, unruly minority, but it slowly grew over a stretch of successive draws and defeats, both home and away. People who called themselves West Ham fans were booing. Journalists, managers, players, and fellow fans were dumbfounded. While one can argue that cagey long-ball performances are not the West Ham way, no one can argue that booing is the West Ham way.
No doubt, nil-nil draws at home to “inferior” teams is frustrating. So are 2-1 defeats. However, this is football. It’s a funny old game. Upsets happen, game plans go to shit, strikers misfire. It happens. Showing displeasure by booing the club you love not only doesn’t help, it hurts. Players hear it, pressure grows, and confidence can be damaged. Anyone that’s played the game knows that confidence is critical.
I don’t wish to call into question anyone’s love of the club. We all love the club, but some of us are very bad at expressing our love. Booing every time something doesn’t go the way we want doesn’t accomplish anything positive… like nagging. Nobody likes nagging.
As I’ve said, things happen. Sometimes very bad things happen, but staying behind the club and the players and the manager, despite the results, creates a palpable positive atmosphere around the club, and with that, good things happen. West Ham is known for its fans. Known to sing when 1-0 up, and just as loud at 3-0 down. Fans have the ability to turn any stadium into a fortress, and we will need that this season, as we’ll need all the help we can get.
Now, booing has its place for sure. If we are playing Tottenham, I expect some booing every time Jermaine Defoe touches the ball. If Mark Noble gives the ball up, however, I hope I don’t hear anything beyond a collective groan, followed by a deafening cheer when he tracks back and wins the ball back. There simply isn’t a reason to boo our own team. It accomplishes nothing good, has a definite negative impact, and reflects poorly on a truly historic club. Our boys will need the fans behind them 100% if things are to go well this season.
Remember, we are West Ham United. Prouder and louder than the rest. Bring on the Premier League.