THERE can be no denying the past few weeks have been a difficult time for everyone connected with West Ham.
A quarter of a century in football has ensured my chairmen, David Gold and David Sullivan, and I have developed a thick skin for criticism.
But I cannot say it doesn’t impact on us, particularly given my chairmen’s genuine love for the club and how utterly committed we all are to the long-term success on behalf of our supporters.
Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of the players, but I hope the criticism won’t affect them too much.
It’s simple human nature to want your fans to cheer you on, but we do all understand the current frustrations of our passionate fanbase, who we know share our desire to see our great club reach the heights we all aspire to.
Although we understand the frustrations and accept they are borne from their love of the club and a willingness for it to flourish, there is one thing I feel I must clarify.
I have seen a lot of people this week say we ‘don’t care’ and that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
David Sullivan and David Gold have given eight years of blood, sweat and tears to help West Ham escape a very perilous situation upon our arrival, make the club financially sustainable and realise an ambitious stadium move, all of which have come with great challenges and sacrifice.
Both are boyhood supporters of the club who want nothing more than to see West Ham United succeed — and will give it their everything to make that happen.
Their families barely see them they are so consumed by the club, so I can promise you they really do care and I know there are plenty of supporters out there who David Sullivan may have emailed at 3am who will verify that!
They, like me, feel every chance missed, every goal conceded and every point dropped. Some people might not believe it, but it’s the truth.
I completely understand the frustrations of our fanbase. After all, we are all frustrated at the moment because West Ham are not where we want to be. Not where we should be.
At West Ham, none of us ever begin a season preparing ourselves for a tough one.
We all start the season brimming with optimism, excited for what might lie ahead and the good times it may bring.
We are all guilty of that and that’s why it hurts us all so much to be in the position we currently find ourselves.
But that is when West Ham supporters are historically at their best — and that is when David Sullivan, David Gold and I are at our best.
We are not quitters and we are here to honour our commitment and cement the long-term future of West Ham United FC.
We are here to see the children who became season-ticket holders last year, grow up and bring their children to watch their first match at London Stadium.
But just one message for those who made their feelings known as loudly as possible at Watford last week . . .
We understand the frustration, we hear your complaints and we really do care. However, for 90 minutes tonight let’s all pull in the same direction and be West Ham. United.