Our move to the Olympic Stadium has split fan opinion more dramatically than Carlton Cole.
It was always going to be a contentious decision, but the promise of “affordable football” appeared to dispel fans’ fears of being priced out of watching their beloved Hammers and leaving the much loved and historic Boleyn Ground.
But the club’s announcement of ‘The Boleyn’ – a supporters’ bar situated just seconds from seats on the half-way line in the Olympic Stadium – has had fans up in arms today, with season ticket holders being told it would cost them £500 + VAT on top of the price of their season ticket for the privilege to drink there. And if that wasn’t dear enough, the club are asking for an extra £140 a month on top.
The initial outrage centred around the fact prices like that simply aren’t affordable, but given it’s an ‘exclusive bar’ with just 1,000 places available (that includes a seat on the half-way line) it becomes a little bit more understandable.
Just think of it as an informal corporate area. Most of the top clubs will have something similar and given there will undoubtedly be 1,000 fans willing to pay a little extra for that kind of match day experience, it suddenly becomes a fairly acceptable thing to do.
The entire stadium was never going to be “affordable” for everyone – there isn’t a single ground at this level that has match day viewing experiences that everyone can afford, whether that’s in a corporate area or band four on the pricing ladder.
The simple fact is that while there are 1,000 corporate season tickets on offer at the Olympic Stadium, there’s still 39,000 up for grabs for a lot cheaper, most of which will be renewed at similar prices to what current ticket holders already pay. It’s no different to what happens at most other clubs.
But that didn’t stop the fans from venting their anger at the announcement on Twitter today. Here are just handful of tweets from fans shortly after the club announced the plans…
Imagine paying 140 quid a month to go in that new Boleyn bar at the Olympic stadium hahahaha
— TommySimpson (@tommysimspon) January 12, 2015
It all a money spinner for the owners we all no thay will sell the club after a year of being there as thay cant aford to keep it going…..
— Dale Smith (@TheHammerSmithy) January 12, 2015
Remember when it was just about the football. Ah good times.
— graham (@grahamwhu) January 12, 2015
I thought the OS was meant to be affordable football?
— Will (@WillTheDutchman) January 12, 2015
Who on earth would pay that much to be a 'member' for a bar? That's ridiculous.
— West Ham News (@WHUFC_News) January 12, 2015
i think the club are forgetting the majority of our fan base are working class and work normal jobs earning normal wages
— Sam Clack (@sam_whufc_1991) January 12, 2015
£700 just go to the Boleyn pub at the OS what a joke. All West Ham want is money and they definitely do not care about the fans one bit.
— Scott Davidson (@ScottDavidson26) January 12, 2015
— anthony bird (@anthonybird80) January 12, 2015
The prices I've seen floating around Twitter regarding the Olympic Stadium is an absolute joke. £500 for just a Bar membership?.. No thanks.
— Sam (@MrSamLawrence) January 12, 2015
No pubs around the olympic stadium and they make a bar in the stadium with a £500 joining fee and £140 monthly charge to drink in #WHU
— George (@SavvyBrodie) January 12, 2015