Football Without The Fans Is Nothing | West Ham United | The great Jock Stein played his part in changing the face of football. The legendary manager was famously quoted as saying, “football without the fans is nothing” how right he was! Here at 90 Minute Cynic, we want to reinforce the great mans words and give the games most important people, the fans, their say.
Today we speak to Aaron Thompson. Aaron is based in Grimsby and enjoys the occasional Guinness. Follow Aaron on twitter @officialthomps
What team do you support?
West Ham United
How often to you go to watch your team?
I go to watch them on average 1-2 times a month
What’s your first memory of “going to the football”?
My first ever memory of going to the football was in England game in 2001, where we needed to get a point against Greece to qualify. David Beckham scored a certain free kick and history was made. We was sat in the corner he came running up to in his celebration, I’ve never felt so much emotion at a football game
What do you think of entrance prices at football?
I think some clubs are charging the right amount but other clubs are taking the biscuit. I’d hate to be an Arsenal fan paying 50-60 quid per game. I think championship clubs have got it right I went to twice as many games last year when we were there then I have this year in the prem. Clubs like Barnsley, Notts Forest and Hull only charged 15-25 pound a ticket
What’s your average spend on match days?
I live in Grimsby so being a West Ham fan isn’t ideal for me, with petrol money and service station food stops by usual spend is between 50-100 pound, im usually potless afterwards but its well worth it
Do you buy club merchandise from official club outlets if not why not?
Usually I only buy the shirts from the club store, I don’t see the need for a West Ham ‘Dog Doorstop’ or a ‘David Gold Bobblehead’
Do you think your club could be doing more to “connect” with fans?
I think West Ham as a club are very involved with the fans, we always have been a family club. Just last year I met and had a chat with David Gold before a game and met Jussi Jaaskelainen before the 2-1 defeat to Wigan this season.
Are you in favour of reintroducing standing areas at stadiums?
I am very much in favour of standing areas. When we go away you only sit at half time! There were never any problems with standing in the championship but now were in the prem every steward seems to be against it. Sunderland was a prime example, an army of stewards would approach us every ten minutes to tell us all to sit down or we’ll be ejected, so we’d sit, they would leave, then we’d all stand up again. It was such a pointless exercise for everyone involved
Do you play at any level?
I only play 5-a-side as I work most weekends. I used to love playing Sunday league though
If so what do you think of the cost of playing?
Just your standard 2 quid subs, its how it’s always been for me so I don’t have a problem. Prices for pitches are going up though a couple of years back the pitch we play on was 18 quid, now it’s slowly risen to 28. which is too much if you ask me.
Do you or would you consider coaching at any level?
I don’t think I would have the patience to teach kids but 16+ I would love to. I’m very much a lover of beautiful football, the ball needs to stay on the floor (which begs to differ why I’m a West Ham fan this season haha) If I had a team it would be tiki-taka all the way
If you could implement one thing for the good of the game what would it be?
Ticket prices are the main thing I would change I’ve been priced out of so many away games this season its ridiculous. I don’t have a problem with paying 20 quid but when it becomes 50, 60 or even 70 I just cant do it. Clubs need to listen to their fans otherwise they’ll find they’re going to have empty stadiums.
Favourite moment following your team?
My favourite West Ham moment so far has got to be the play off final last season, somehow I managed to get my hands on a ticket and just hearing 50k+ West Ham fans singing bubbles at Wembley paid for the ticket alone. It truly was one of best days of my life and when Ricardo Vaz Te banged in that late winner I’ve never heard a roar like it!
Favourite football moment not featuring your team?
I would probably say it was the Champions League game between Manchester United and Real Madrid back in 2003. All you have to do is look at some of the players involved to know that this was going to be an instant classic, Zidane, Ronaldo (The real one), Figo, Beckham, Giggs, Van Nistlerooy, Solskjaer and Casillas just to name a few. The game ended 4-3 to United, Ronaldo scored a hat trick and Beckham scored a peach of free kick. The best game I’ve ever watched it had everything!
If you could have been at any game in history what would it be?
I think this one would be the same as any English football fan, the 1966 World Cup Final. It’s our history and something I would’ve loved to have been a part of not to mention it was West Ham that won it for us haha
The thing that annoys you most about football?
The thing that annoys me most about football is DIVING! This started abroad but it’s slowly worked its way over here and now even the British players are doing it (Bale and Young are prime examples) The worst culprit I’ve ever seen is Sergio Busquets for Barcelona, he will fall to the floor in agony peek through his hands to check the cards been given then get straight back up. He plays for Barca, if any team didn’t need to cheat to gain an advantage its them! The only people who can stop it is the managers, Sir Alex Ferguson has come out recently saying he will discipline divers and to be fair to him Ashley Young has slowly begun to find his sense of balance again,
What do you think of the transfer window? Should it stay or should clubs be allowed to buy at any point of the season?
The transfer window is perfect how it is, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love to sit and watch Jim White on deadline day just wished we would sign a few players on it every now and then
What do you think of a “Premiership International Series” with one league game a season being played overseas?
I don’t think it will work, maybe for the top 6 teams but are people in America going to sell out an arena just to see Wigan play Norwich I don’t think so.
Whats the best bit of “banter” you’ve heard or seen at a football game?
Best banter by far has got to be last season away at Notts Forest. Forest fans sang ‘You let your country down!’ to Robert Green to which we replied ‘So did your manager!’ to Steve McClaren who was the boss at the time. That soon shut them up
What makes your club so special?
The thing I love about West Ham United is the fact that we love to develop young players. All you have to do is look at our squad this season, during the 2-2 draw with Manchester United in the FA Cup we had 6 academy graduates on the pitch. That says it all.
Anything else you want to say?
Belgium are going to be a force to be reckoned with in 5 years time, Benteke, Lukaku, Hazard, Fellaini, Mirallas, Vertonghen, Vermaelan, Kompany. 2018 World Cup winners, watch this space