“I used to want to save the world, to end war and bring peace to mankind. But then, I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light and I learned that inside every one of them, there will always be both. A choice each must make for themselves. Something no hero will ever defeat and now I know that only love can truly save the world. So I stay, I fight and I give, for the world I know can be” – Wonder Woman
Is there disharmony within the higher echelons of West Ham United and are we seeing the first cracks that no amount of superhero wall paper can cover over? Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge CBE has succeeded in business, become an author, newspaper columnist and all around champion of charities and women in business…her credits seem endless but as the Vice-Chairman of West Ham United she may have sullied her reputation amongst the supporters as well as those within the corridors of Hammers power.
Just as the crime-fighting Amazonian who became weary and puzzled by mankind’s foibles…the fanbase has grown increasingly frustrated with many of her social media comments and column lines that would somewhat tarnish the name of West Ham and even its supporters…however, moreover there might be an appearance of favouritism towards other rivals. Whether the Tottenham gaff was intentional or not is largely irrelevant, however, what was relevant was how it was interpreted by many of the faithful and without even a clarification to ease tensions to boot, let alone an apology!
There has been an increasing discolour and disdain aimed in her direction from those with more vitriolic tendencies. Although such actions cannot be condoned, we cannot discount the discord from within a large section of the root support. Many would argue that her actions and demeanour do nothing to disperse any perceived arrogance nor does it convince anyone that West Ham…as a club with all of its traditions, is a priority for her.
We cannot disregard her acumen alongside David Sullivan and David Gold and she has taken much credit for taking West Ham to the Olympic Stadium. She has made her mark in business matters, has diversified herself into many other theatres and has even become somewhat of a television celebrity and a media darling for those who value those qualities.
However, those who have the strongest links to the club would question her loyalty and even if her other activities are being detrimental to the club. Most West Ham fans readily agree that she does not portray herself as a football fan and especially not as a West Ham fan, but rather a fan of business…hers primarily being in sports.
Of course there are many issues that may be pinned on her comments or actions, some successful but mostly a catalogue of errors where fans are concerned. However, it would be churlish to lay all blame at her feet and indeed whether she merits such vile abuse at times. That being said, she is made of formidable stuff and seems to brush these verbal abuses off and toss them aside.
Whilst she operates in lofty office space, she is not club owner but is employed in the Vice Chair capacity and in the executive role. She may indeed appear to lord…or rather lady over our club affairs but she is also a servant to higher masters. Whilst she is certainly not without blame for many of the ongoing issues surrounding the stadium and the fan experience at home matches, one may get the impression that she is the puppet on a string being controlled by manipulative puppeteers.
There are so many wrongs with the club at the moment, setting aside the almost weekly ‘scandal’ that grabs headlines and sells newspapers…like the Tony Henry ‘African Player Mayhem’ affair or the recent FA charge for the anti-doping breach. There are continuing poor relations with a growing number of the fanbase with little to demonstrate that the club are eager listeners.
Karren Brady may make all the right noises with her business patter, however she and the board members are failing to address the core concerns with any intent and show any kind of respect to the loyal support. That support that was there long before they took over and will still be there after we have all gone to the dogs. The club like to consider fans as ‘customers’ but they have no idea how disrespectful that is to the masses. However…even if the label is accepted for discussion purposes…then those customers are receiving very poor customer service indeed.
It matters not if there is a section of the fanbase that are happy with the stadium or our current dealings. It matters not whether the stadium is all shiny and brings greater revenues to the club. It matters not that there was a master coup to take over the stadium and pay next to nothing in rent. What matters is the false promises, unrealistic expectations and unrealised goals, a disenfranchised fanbase and disconnected community. It matters that the move to the stadium was supposed to be a new home with greater investment in players, ‘World Class’ this and ‘World Class’ that, but that hasn’t happened.
The problems and failings were raised almost immediately but Karren Brady and the owners have seemed lethargic to accept any wrongdoing or failures along the way. They have accepted there have been some errors, but little in the way of rectification or reconciliation either.
Monday last, a meeting was held with club representatives, including Karren Brady, with fans groups to ultimately attempt to address many of the issues, but still there are little answers and remedies, let alone any embarrassing admissions of guilt or incompetence. Many have assumed that the only reason the club, the owners and Brady agreed to the meeting was to attempt to prevent the protest march from going ahead.
For many fans, regardless of the promises made, the faltering transition and ongoing failings…it is the actions, demeanour and comments from Brady, Gold and Sullivan that is the cause of most anger. The refusal to accept any responsibility and to appease the dissenting fans with at minimum an ‘excellent customer service’
Behind the closed boardroom doors, one has to wonder what conversations are being held, what fingers are being pointed and whether she will end up being the scapegoat for all vices concerned. Many would question why this sacrifice has not occurred already? What skeletons lie in the West Ham closets and what hold…if any…does she have over the owners?
Of course this is mere absurd speculation but when we marry past performances, the public relations blunders, the poor customer service, the external activities that may negatively impact on the club and the ever-increasing discord amongst the fans…then, would any ramifications be a surprise to anyone?
Lady Karren Brady may indeed be a Wonder Woman of business but she has acted with controversy and reigned with an appearance of impunity. She may well be the pawn in a Machiavellian affair but we need to use her Lasso of Truth to reveal facts, appease angers and cure the malignancy within and surrounding the club before she is pushed to fall from grace.