The relationship between the West Ham United supporters and the club’s hierarchy has been rather strained since the club moved into the London Stadium.
Leaving a historic ground filled with memories, passion and history for a new-build state-of-the-art stadium is a reality which supporters up and down the country have had to face and will face in the coming years.
While most supporters view it as a progressive step to take in the modern era, the opinion was rather different at West Ham due to the infrastructure of the London Stadium and the soulless feel of a ground which wasn’t designed with the interests of football supporters in mind.
The move has soured relations between fans and the club, but the summer spending spree which saw plenty of talented players arrive in east London has served to shift opinion somewhat – although the flat atmosphere within the stadium remains an issue for supporters to dwell on.
Manuel Pellegrini’s first victory of the season against Everton on Sunday suggests that West Ham can finally kick on and put their miserable start behind them.
One of the standout performers for the Hammers at Goodison Park was Declan Rice – a player who hadn’t featured in the league since coming off at half-time against Liverpool on the opening day of the season.
But he made no mistake on his return to action and he reminded Pellegrini of his class with a well-rounded display in holding midfield.
At just 19-years-of-age Rice (valued at £9 million by Transfermarkt) is an exceptional prospect for the future but with less than 1-year remaining on his current deal it’s a concerning time for the club.
Some of Europe’s heavyweights will certainly have taken note of his progress thus far and they will be waiting in the wings to offer him a contract if the Irons fail to tie him down to a new deal before the new year, although it must be noted that English clubs will have to wait until the summer to open negotiations.
Whilst the relationship between the West Ham supporters and the board remains fragile it’s absolutely imperative that Rice is offered generous terms over a new deal to ensure his future is secure by the turn of the year.
It’s a make or break situation for West Ham as not only does Rice have a huge role to play for the club in the future, but it would be financially foolish to allow him to leave on a free when the club are already in a position to command a hefty fee for his services.
Rice is a true fan-favourite and the supporters would be gutted to see him depart, so it’s time for the board to take another step towards mending the relationship with disgruntled supporters by agreeing terms over a new deal.
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