West Ham United legend Trevor Brooking has implored fans of the east London side to get behind their team this weekend, as the club face Southampton is what could be a pivotal moment in the fiercely contested relegation scrap.
Writing for the Evening Standard, England's director of football development expressed his desperation for Hammers fans to put their aggregations with the club to one side, and to pool all their energy into supporting the club in their fight to stay in the Premier League. Brooking said: "If you are a genuine West Ham fan, then any grievance or issue has to be put to one side while the team are trying to battle clear of the bottom three.
"The players, of course, have a responsibility, too. They will be aware that their performances need to improve and, of course, that does put pressure on them. But adding to that pressure by creating negative vibes in the stadium certainly cannot help. I have heard suggestions that some supporters would welcome relegation as an opportunity for wholesale change. Frankly, that is nonsense.
"Dropping out of the Premier League means that the big improvements which many fans are demanding simply won’t be able to happen. Relegation for a club the size of West Ham, with the seventh highest wage bill in the division, could be hugely damaging to our long-term future."
The Hammers hierarchy will be hopeful that the club's fans will get behind their team on Saturday against the Saints, but conceding an early goal at the London Stadium could well cause further unrest at HQ. The club's last home game to Burnley was stopped on a number of occasions, as fans repeatedly ran on to the pitch to disrupt play.