You know whose job I don’t envy? The poor member of the West Ham communications staff that has to write the emails to members after games. You know the ones. The messages that pretend to be from Big Sam, or one of the squad, but are actually written by an underling who has a way with words. The emails that try to give an explanation, a justification or some sort of insight into why, what or how on earth a decision was made.
Based on recent performances I can just picture them now, head in hands, puking into a bucket under the desk. ‘How on earth am I going to spin this one? What happens if my mates find out that I’m responsible for these? How am I going to sleep tonight trying to put a brave face on this? Is it possible to go through so much turd polish in one season?’ I can imagine them watching Big Sam’s post-match interviews, shouting and throwing things at the screen. ‘You said what? I now have to turn that into something I can send to the fans! The fans, you know, the people who make this club what it is!’
So with that in mind, I turn to the email many of us received after the Man City game. The one from BS himself, titled ‘Hannah, I come out fighting as a manager and my staff and players are the same’, (yours wouldn’t say Hannah, unless of course that is your name). Well hold on a minute, you’re coming out fighting Sam? Are you fighting to keep your job or to avoid relegation? Isn’t this something you should have been doing all season? And I’m not sure you can speak with such certainty on behalf of your players who have lacked any fire or fight for a good few games now.
Before we get into the actual body of the bullshit, I want to take a second to wonder how many other titles they went through before they agreed that this was a good one? Other discarded suggestions might have included ‘Not sure what went wrong on this one’, ‘Replacing like for like is tactics idiots’ or ‘My agent is $uperb, $ack me if you want to’. I digress.
It starts with the Board thanking the fans who travelled to Manchester for their unwavering support. That’s a nice touch. Scared of another petition demanding reimbursements are you? At least an acknowledgment of the support is a step up from BS telling us we are deluded. The message from our illustrious leader begins defensively (which is more than I can say for Wednesday’s team, boom boom) saying how amazing a team Man City are. We know, we follow the same results and tables as you do.
It then praises Adrian for his contribution. Again, we know. We watch the same games as you do. Here the communications sap has used a clever little writing tactic, to go from talking about the opposing team to the player who gave the best performance. It’s supposed to unite us as West Ham, against a common enemy and then in pride for one of our own. All designed to distract us from the fact that Big Sam isn’t actually telling us anything in this email.
The final sentence was the straw the broke the camel’s back for me. “We’ve got to get out there, face the music and use it to anger us, if you like, make us mad, and win football matches.” Use our current situation to get angry? If we like? Well thanks for the permission Sammy but there’s plenty of us who are angry enough at the moment as it is. And no-one is looking for a nod from you to express this.
Here’s my advice for the West Ham communications team. Friends, I know it’s rough at the moment but can you please try and have a little bit more respect for your fans? I know it’s hard to stomach some of these lines you’re having to spin, but treating us like idiots is not a good starting place to get us to swallow them. A little bit of humility wouldn’t kill any of you. Neither would some honesty, some transparency or some credit where it’s due. Unless your aim is to really upset the fans. If so, carry on, you’re getting it spot on.