Cost cutting or just a lack of respect?
The board of West Ham United, lead by co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan, have angered their supporters by removing the Upton Park privileges enjoyed by the families of John Lyall and Ron Greenwood without notice.
Lyall and Greenwood are legends at the East End club, having been responsible for the only major trophies that the club have won in their 115-year history – Greenwood claiming the FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1964 and 1965, and Lyall having won the FA Cup ten years’ later in 1975.
Last year the late pairing were recognised by the club, when the main gates to Upton Park were renamed in Lyall’s honour and Greenwood and Lyall Lounges was opened within the ground.
Furthermore, both families received complimentary directors’ box tickets, however, following the takeover from Sullivan and Gold – both self-proclaimed West Ham United fans – last season, the privilege was subsequently downgraded to a pair of season tickets.
However, now the families of both men have learned that the tickets have now also been withdrawn, but only when they called the club in August to enquire about the arrangements for the upcoming season.
“I fully appreciate the financial plight of the club and can understand the reasoning why the season tickets have been withdrawn,” said Lyall’s son, Murray, to The Guardian.
“But what I do find unacceptable is that no one in authority had the decency to contact us and explain in person.”
The widow of Lyall, Yvonne said: “After my husband’s 34 years’ loyal service to the club in a playing, coaching and managerial capacity, I feel my family should have been shown greater respect and understanding given our tragic loss four years ago and the legacy he left behind.”
The apparent lack of respect towards two of the club’s genuine legends will not go down well with supporters and has appalled a number of fans.
“West Ham trade as a family club but no supporter would treat their family this way,” said Amanda Jacks, a lifelong West Ham supporter.
“The strength of feeling from the West Ham support will only demonstrate what an ill-considered decision this is.”