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WEST HAM DISUNITED; WEST HAM V BURNLEY PREMIER LEAGUE LONDON STADIUM, KO 3PM; Hammers fans are at war with the board, the team and,worryingly, each other.

Byline: ADRIAN KAJUMBA

AT a time when they really need to be, with the threat of relegation lingering, West Ham are anything but United.

Division is nothing new at the East Enders, one of the Premier League's great soap opera clubs.

But things have taken a more sinister turn of late.

The fans who have more recently been united by a dislike of their new London Stadium, and ongoing frustrations with underinvestment in the squad, are now at war with each other.

Attempts to arrange an antiboard march ahead of today's clash with Burnley have been overshadowed by threats of violence - some seen by Mirror Sport - made by certain supporters to others.

The fact that among the driving influences for the march were founder members of the 1970s hooligan group known as the Inter City Firm, and that they met vicechairman Karren Brady ahead of the planned protest, also caused concern among the fan base.

For their part, the Hammers insist they were not fully aware of the backgrounds of some of the representatives put forward by the various fan groups they have met.

The march has now been cancelled with one of the groups behind it claiming they had made their point, and West Ham had taken on board ideas about how to give fans "a better matchday experience at the London Stadium".

But some remain keen to voice their frustration and the matter is believed to be far from over.

If it does rumble on, it could provide a toxic backdrop to the Hammers' bid to beat the drop. Boss David Moyes said: "It is great for the players and the management that they are not marching. The atmosphere in some of the games has been tremendous and we need that.

"There are grievances at any club. There are grievances against managers or owners, but all you want to make sure is that the club is in the right position.

"We just hope we have nearly 60,000 tomorrow and they are all getting behind the team."

As if he hasn't already got enough on his plate trying to steer West Ham to survival, the infighting is another element of Hammers politics Moyes has to deal with.

The manager, whose side are just three points above the drop zone, said: "We need everybody to be together. We want to try to challenge and get towards the top end and, to do that, you need everybody united.

"You will never have everyone agreeing with what the club does or the team the manager picks. But ultimately the people in charge make the decisions they think are right."

Some supporters confronted co-chairman David Gold, 81, after the 4-1 defeat at Swansea last week.

And Moyes said: "It's wrong. Supporters should have a right to voice their opinions - that's what football is - but you tend to get that chance during 90 minutes on a Saturday.

"It's not as though David is a young man, and I'm saying that with real respect. He is hurting as much as anybody when we don't win. He comes into see me a lot, ht he's so desperate for the team to do well.

"His heart is definitely in the right place every time I speak to him, that's for sure."

In a candid interview on The West Ham Way radio show this week, Gold admitted the season had been "dreadful" as they had budgeted for an, ted eighth-place finish.

If the disharmony off the pitch impacts matters on it, things could yet get even worse.

THE LOWDOWN

WEST HAM: Hart, Zabaleta, Collins, Ogbonna, Evra, Kouyate, Noble, Cresswell, Arnautovic, Hernandez, Lanzini BURNLEY: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Berg Gudmundsson, Wood, Barnes

REFEREE: Lee Mason HEAD2HEAD: West Ham 36 wins, Burnley 31 wins, draws 18 ODDS: West Ham 13/10, Burnley 13/5, draw 11/5

BUBBLES & TROUBLES IN THE EAST END WEST HAM'S 2018 Jan 2 West Ham 2-1 West Brom (Prem) Jan 4 Tottenham 1-1 West Ham (Prem) Jan 7 Shrewsbury 0-0 West Ham (FA Cup) Jan 13 Huddersfield 1-4 West Ham (Prem) Jan 16 West Ham 1-0 Shrewsbury (FA Cup) Jan 20 West Ham 1-1 Bournemouth (Prem) Jan 27 Wigan 2-0 West Ham (FA Cup) Jan 30 West Ham 1-1 C Palace (Prem) Feb 3 Brighton 3-1 West Ham (Prem) Feb 10 West Ham 2-0 Watford (Prem) Feb 24 Liverpool 4-1 West Ham (Prem) March 3 Swansea 4-1 West Ham (Prem) MATCHES TO COME Today West Ham v Burnley Mar 31 West Ham v Southampton Apr 8 Chelsea v West Ham Apr 16 West Ham v Stoke Apr 23 Arsenal v West Ham Apr 29 West Ham v Man City May 5 Leicester v West Ham May 13 West Ham v Everton TBA West Ham v Man Utd

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HOME.. NOT SO SWEET HOME West Ham fans have not been happy with life in their new stadium while the players have struggled to climb away from drop zone

fighting.. & infighting Boss Moyes is battling the drop while fans vent anger at board
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 10, 2018
Words:842
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