Dear WHUISA members.
First of all, thanks to all of you that took part in the #WHUISA matchday social media event on Saturday, it went brilliantly. It mainly took off on Twitter and we put together some highlights of what we saw here.
We really couldn’t have done it without you, it’s a great first step to establish a presence.
The video of WHUISA member Mark Gower talking about what it’s like being a disabled fan has been picked up the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) and hopefully we can do some work on this at the SAB next week
We’re in the early stages of establishing contacts with the club and to be fair we think Jake Heath, the official Supporters’ Liaison Officer (SLO), has been very supportive of the new organisation. He has been available to speak to and has engaged with us from an initial meeting In October last year at the FSF organised debrief following the Chelsea league cup match.
You may have seen a series of tweets on Saturday about a situation where Mark Gervaux, AKA “the Ribman” was talking about overhearing “a steward” saying he was aiming to kick out 250 fans for standing to make a point. The club saw some of the tweets on our @WHU_ISA timeline and looked into it. Jake Heath called us on Sunday to say the problem was caused not by a steward but by one of their new Supporter’s Liaison Office (SLO) volunteers, a proper West Ham fan, who was stepped out of his remit and said something he shouldn’t have.
He also said that the club wanted to emphasise that the new SLO’s had no jurisdiction over safety and enforcing ground regulations but were there solely to assist and advise fans on any problems they may encounter while in the ground. We were happy to help put the record straight. Further the SLO concerned will not be returning to his role. We’re aiming to understand more about SLO’s at the forthcoming SAB
Going forward we are planning to meet with Jake and other representatives of West Ham United ahead of next Tuesday’s SAB meeting.
We’ve also seen a few tweets and remarks on websites about bans being handed out by letter without warning.
If this has happened to any of you please contact us and we’ll try to bring it to the club’s attention / get to the bottom of it. Remember if you feel you need help with police or stewarding issues the mighty Amanda Jacks from the FSF is there to help. Her details are on here: https://twitter.com/FSF_FairCop
The WHUISA membership is probably over 500 properly now – we’re just waiting for our computer guru to weed out those who we have contacted and were found to have registered accidentally twice.
We have over 1200 members of the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/WHUISA/
And over 400 followers on twitter https://twitter.com/WHU_ISA
Those figures aren’t too shabby considering we’ve only been up and running for 17 days. If you’re on social media and haven’t joined our accounts, please do so, it matters.
If you know anyone who hasn’t joined WHUISA yet, send them this link and give ‘em a nudge! http://www.whuisa.org/join-whuisa/
So what happens now?
The next big event is the SAB and we are looking at trying to hold a meeting to report back on this and get some sense of how you think things are going so far. We were thinking about doing something on a non matchday? What do you think about that? Possibly the 28thFebruary at the Old Supporters Club? Let us know what you think about that idea.
We’re also looking at getting more people involved. We would like to have on board representatives of sections of our fanbase such as the ladies, younger fans, disabled supporters, UK & overseas Hammers clubs, LGBT amongst others so please get in touch – you are welcome at the top table.
Anyway, we hope you all enjoyed a fabulous win on Saturday, good luck to anyone travelling to Middlesbrough and keep talking to us – we are only as strong as our members.
The WHUISA Interim Committee (we are aware we need to elect a full committee at some point too….)