West Ham United and their supporters are aiming to improve the fan experience at the London Stadium after allegations of continued intimidation and threats.
A protest march ahead of Saturday’s game against Burnley has been postponed following a meeting of representatives from 15 supporters’ groups, known as West Ham Groups United, last month.
After the meeting, vice-chair Karren Brady published a lengthy open letter to supporters seeking to address concerns about the club and the fans’ experience at the London Stadium.
According to the Independent, there have been numerous accounts of friction between supporters’ groups, including online threats directed at members.
David Gold, co-owner of West Ham with David Sullivan, said the move from Upton Park before the 2016-17 season had its challenges with segregation, seating and atmosphere issues.
“We have made mistakes but I don’t think the stadium move is a mistake,” Gold said on The West Ham Way podcast earlier this week. “It’s been difficult but it was the right thing to do. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we had to grasp.
“I wish I could turn the clock back. We would have done a much better job, but there are no regrets about moving.”
The West Ham United Independent Supporters Association wanted to continue the plan to march, but that “peaceful, lawful” protest has been postponed following a request by Newham Council over safety and disruption.
A West Ham spokesperson said the club hold regular meetings with their supporters’ advisory board, set up in 2011, and are determined to improve relations.
“In our talks, we agreed a number of action points and we are working to deliver them,” the spokesperson said. “All the groups chose their own representatives which we accepted in good faith.
“All of those who attended expressed a desire to achieve the same ambition. The meetings were cordial and constructive. Many of them had travelled long distances to meet with us. We will in future be working with the longstanding supporters advisory board to achieve those common aims on behalf of all supporters.”
West Ham are 14th, three points above the relegation places and seven points behind eighth-place Leicester City, with nine games remaining.
“We have had a dreadful season,” Gold said. “We thought the four players bought over the summer would propel us forward but sadly that has not worked out. We had budgeted for eighth place.”
Their survival chances took a hit when scans revealed defender Winston Reid sustained a season-ending knee injury in the 4-1 defeat away against Swansea City on Saturday.
“I assure everyone that I will do everything I can to be back better than before through hard work and dedication,” Reid wrote on his Instagram account. “Meanwhile, we have an important remainder [of] this season with the team and [it] is important we get the support needed.”