Nigel Kahn’s Column
NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Aston Villa on Monday is open HERE. Entries can be submitted until 6pm on Monday.
The government announcement that fans are finally to be allowed back into games has been broadly welcomed by many as a start to the return to what would be constituted as the “new normal”.
It’s been 10 months now since I last attended a game of football and I frankly I cant wait to get back into the stadium for the first time and finally watch a West Ham team that actually looks worth watching, but when we look at what the government have outlined as in numbers allowed, is it actually worth it and will it be a positive effect on the game that is being played? Also, the fact it relies on what tier you are in regards the number of fans allowed to attend how do they regulate the people attending and as some areas will be in higher tiers than others does competition fairness come into.
The government numbers are if the stadium is in a tier 1 area (lowest tier) then you can have 4,000 fans in attendance or half the capacity whichever is the lower.
Tier 2 area stadiums will only be 2,000 and tier 3 area stadiums will still be off-limits to anyone.
London as a whole prior to the current (so-called) lockdown was in tier 2 restrictions so that would restrict West Ham to 2,000 fans, but how do the club choose who attends? So we know the attendees will come from those fans that paid in full for their season tickets rather than the 30% deposit but should the club also have to factor where the season ticket holder lives. West Ham season ticket holders come not just from Newham or in fact just East London, (I know, was a shock to me as well) but from as from further afield. If a season ticket holder lives in Tier 3 but London is in tier 2 they are now discounted.
Newham’s own rate would put them into tier 2 but in Havering where many a Hammers season ticket now resides their infection rate is far higher. I get the government were buckling to the pressure from the Premier League clubs and other sports but this seems like an ill-thought out compromise. Just a couple of miles away in Leyton I’m sure the 2,000 fans will be a welcome addition at Orient but 2,000 fans hidden amongst the 66,000 seats the London stadium has is just nonsensical.
Saying that naturally if I was lucky enough in the ballot to get a ticket to one of the games played, I’d be at the game like a shot. Hopefully, the Boxing day game at home V Brighton, though if fans are allowed in the stadium my guess would be the game gets moved to the next day for TV.
Talking of TV, the clubs have now ditched the PPV model up until the end of December but that was when they thought no fans in the stadium until March, as was the government’s initial plan. Now with fans being let back into the stadium and money being paid by said fans to go to the game, should the status quo be retained and give every game for free to the masses (subscription still needed I know I know). That would surely be unfair on those going to the game.
The screening of every game should only remain while no fans in the stadium, once we have fans back then that has to stop and return to just the scheduled games on Sky & BT and the rest Kick-off on Saturday or Sunday if Europa league teams are playing.
Having 2,000 fans in a stadium does not cover anywhere near what it costs to put on the game so perhaps to recover some of those costs, they could agree to televise the game and charge those at home to watch it. It will be interesting to see what happens in that regard come to the January games, The 2,000 even 4,000, if any ground is lucky enough to be in a Tier 1 area, could be welcomed by the clubs so they can then justify the charging for the TV games outside of the packages. Once fans are back in stadiums they could point to it being the start of a return to normality that the fans have craved so the fans can’t have it both ways, we can’t have fans in the ground paying ticket prices and allowing the games to be shown on TV without extra costs to those at home.
I imagine the move will be unpopular with the masses who are now used to seeing as much Premier League football they want but fans need to realise that the clubs are losing money hand over fist. Ys the tv deal is the vast majority of their income but remember when they set their budgets, long before covid turned up, they still budgeted with the gate receipts being part of the income.
Fans being back is welcome but when I look at the bigger picture there are still more questions that need to be asked to see whether it’s a price worth paying for the small amount in the ground.
A group of West Ham content providers have been brought together by Nicky from West Ham TV to create content to promote local charities in Newham before Christmas.
We hope to help this year the Newham Recorder toy appeal by highlighting this great cause and pointing you, the West Ham fan base to their links to donate whatever you can to provide the thousands of children in the area that will be going without this Christmas.
For people wishing to choose a gift, or gifts, to purchase for a young person this Christmas, an Amazon Wishlist has been set up. This features an array of items – from hats and scarves to CDs and books – that the appeal organisers know would be suitable for those receiving presents and provides an easy way for people to purchase and donate directly.
You can do so here
Donations of items can be made in person to the Terence Brown Arc in the Park, in Bethell Avenue, Canning Town between 9 am and 1 pm Monday to Saturday
Of course, we are still promoting the Irons Supporting foodbanks campaign to supply advent calendars to as many children in Newham as possible. To donate to this cause you can either donate via the Just giving page
And make sure in the comment box you put Advent Calendars.
An advent calendar is only around £2 so any donation is welcome and will be put to good use.
Keep an eye out for your favourite content providers coming together to help raise money for these worthy causes.
Lastly, I and Canning Town Len have made a pilot episode of a new podcast, ‘Nigel & Len’s proper gander – a podcast where we invite a guest, whom we have so much in common with – but have a proper gander at what makes us all different’. Basically, we try to embrace what joins us together but also embrace what makes us all different, no matter where in the world we come from. You can listen here or wherever you get your podcasts from.
As it’s the pilot we are after feedback so if you like it let us know if you don’t go f…BEEEEEEEEEP
Oh no sorry, if you don’t we’d love to know why.
Until we meet on the other side