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West Ham owners welcome return of fans but PM's initial small-scale plans do not make financial sense
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West Ham owners welcome return of fans but PM's initial small-scale plans do not make financial sense

West Ham United co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold have welcomed the proposed return of fans next month even if it does not make financial sense.

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Sullivan and Gold have made it clear they are looking forward to the potential return of a minority of fans put forward by the Government.

Premier League football fans have not attended matches since March.

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PM announces return of football fans

PM Boris Johnson has announced that the second national lockdown will end next week on December 2nd.

Johnson – who played a key role in West Ham’s move to the London Stadium during his time as Mayor in the capital – also revealed up to 4,000 fans would be permitted to attend fixtures too.

That is entirely dependent on which tier London is placed in. If tier two, the number is 2,000. And if tier three then no fans will be permitted.

In the wake of the announcement, the club has issued a statement in which they welcome the prospect of fans returning to the London Stadium.

That’s despite the small-scale of the plans meaning clubs like West Ham will be operating at a loss on matchdays.

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Hammers owners welcome news but plans don’t make financial sense

“Fans have been greatly missed at Premier League matches and therefore we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today regarding the return of supporters for the first time since March, albeit at small numbers,” The Premier League said in a statement as published on West Ham’s official website.

“Our ambition remains to work with Government to increase attendance to more substantial levels.

“Until this can be done, many fans will be unable to attend games and our clubs will continue to operate matches at a financial loss… 

“Premier League clubs have a proven track record of achieving high-biosecurity standards and we believe we can play a significant role in the Government’s rapid turnaround testing initiative.”

In their own statement, West Ham reiterated they want to ensure the safe return of supporters ‘as soon as possible’ and reassured fans they are planning ‘in great detail’ for that outcome.

“West Ham United want the safe return of our supporters to London Stadium as soon as possible and the Club continues to plan and prepare in great detail, working with supporters, stadium partners and the Premier League, while following the guidance issued by the Government and the Sports Ground Safety Authority,” West Ham said in a statement.

“The Club is awaiting further information on the post-lockdown guidelines for London and will continue to keep supporters up to date as the situation develops here at and across the Club’s channels. Thank you for your ongoing support.”

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United FC via Getty Images

Bitter-sweet irony for much-improved West Ham

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, West Ham have been in their best shape for five years ON the pitch.

While fans are delighted to see the team progressing so well under David Moyes, they and the manager are frustrated supporters can’t be there to witness it.

When West Ham fans do return, they will finally be getting the kind of side promised to them when they left Upton Park for the London Stadium.

Depending on other results, the Hammers could go fifth in the table at the quarter-way stage if they beat Aston Villa on Monday night.

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