WHUISA Open Discussion Regarding Potential Protest Actions - 31/03/2018

Minutes of Meeting
31st March 2018
Open Discussion re Protest Actions

Mark Walker (MW), Chair of WHUISA, opened the discussion.

MW posed two questions to the meeting:

1.    Do the members of WHUISA, present at the meeting, want to make a formal protest this season?
2.    If yes, what form do the members of WHUSIA present, want the formal protest to be?

The decisions made would be followed by the committee through the correct/legal routes.

MW read out, with permission, the email from WHUISA member Paul Colbourne (Bubbles). 

The discussion was then opened to the members present.

There was a full and frank discussion with numerous points raised. These included:

•    Need for club to show a degree of intent to change with timelines. 
•    Importance of clarity in a central message to the board from WHUISA (fans)
•    Need clear reason/s for any protest actions.
•    Important to have a clear message to come out around what is wanted from the board.
•    Need to keep the board on course to deliver on the promises already made.
•    The protest under the director’s box was viewed as powerful by several members present, as was the email from Bubbles. A pre-match protest around the corporate area may be part of a long term strategy. 
•    SAB changes nothing as is consultation forum only and looks at ‘window dressing’ not providing opportunity for real change.
•    By campaigning for change this could add leverage to improving things for fans. Campaigning for change takes time to achieve and will be more successful if has focus and clarity. 
•    A march is often the end of a campaign not the start.
•    The possibility of lobbying in the House of Lords raised.
•    Short and long term objectives will need to be part of any campaign
•    West Ham United fans need to have better representation with the board/wider football community. There was some feeling this has never been the case. 
•    The fan base is struggling to come together, is fragmented. This fragmentation only suits the board not the fans.
•    The need to build a coalition of fan groups to increase the power of the fan voice.
•    A lack of confidence in the current leadership of the club may bring the groups together. This could be reviewed and refined in the summer at close of season. 
•    Need to think tactically and build the membership of WHUISA further.
•    WHUISA need to contact the club and arrange a follow up meeting with David Sullivan.
•    Need to secure timelines with the board and get them to stick to them.
•    Any protest actions must be transparently planned and agreed by all. 
•    Meeting with other Independent Supporter Associations and Trusts may give further advice/support (for example CARD at Charlton) 
•    WHUISA membership will increase if fans see us as credible.
•    World class stadium and a world class team- this hasn’t been delivered. 
•    No confidence in the board to lead the club OR make the changes needed. This feeling could gather momentum. 
•    The high impact of symbolic peaceful protest actions agreed. 
•    A fan representative on the board of the club is a channel in and will help provide meaningful dialogue with the fan base.
•    Need to ask members of WHUISA what key points/issues do they want the committee to take forward in any protest. 
•    Re the stadium the track around the pitch looks like it’s staying-SAB not moving on changing this. There is a court case regarding the stadium in November.

It was generally felt WHUISA should continue to support a campaign of change against the board as there is a lack of confidence in the direction and leadership of the club. 

MW asked the members of WHUISA present at the meeting to formally vote on no confidence in the board of West Ham United Football Club. 

This vote was carried unanimously by all present at the meeting.

Further it was agreed by all present at the meeting that a UNITED CAMPAIGN FOR CHANGE would be drawn up that could facilitate a series of targeted smaller campaigns.