Dear Alan Pardew…

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Dear Alan,

You have said that you have appreciated the letters and messages that you have had from West Ham fans and so I thought that you might not mind another after our humiliation at your hands on Saturday. I would guess that writing this letter down the black-hole of the internet is less likely to have the zero impact on its intended recipient than the endless encouragement that I and my fellow fans have directed at West Ham players this season has had. The more we sing to them, the more annoyed it seems they all get, especially when Mervyn Day starts pushing them to come over and show some appreciation before scurrying of the pitch to their mutual excuse pact. I still like to think though that you care rather more about our impending relegation than the players wearing the shirt.

Now please understand, I do feel pretty mad at you. You should never have given the Ice Men the opportunity to sack you. I also begrudge the hours of my life (that I like to think is still fit for better purposes) that I have wasted wondering how you allowed the players’ egos to get out of control after 13 May, why you didn’t break up the clique, why you allowed the players to run up gambling debts with each other, and what persuaded you to keep Reo-Coker in the side and in the captaincy through September. You may have answers but I would not be easily persuadable on these points and as we catapult to relegation I remember them.

Nonetheless, it really does hurt that you are no longer our manager. From the moment you walked out at the Valley on Saturday it hurt. It hurt each time Charlton flowed forward with purpose and spirit, it hurt when you chose not to celebrate Charlton’s goals, and it hurt when I listened to your post-match interview and you refused to gloat whilst seeming more concerned about what you said about West Ham than about Charlton. There was one particular moment that stands out. The score was 3-0, the Charlton fans had gone quiet, and the West Ham fans were filling the Valley with a bellowing, intense chorus of ‘West Ham till I die’. With the play in the other half of the pitch, you looked over somewhat plaintively at the West Ham fans, and I like to think that just for a moment that inside you were singing along too. I bet you don’t believe that the Charlton fans will ever stand so defiant in such despair. I bet you think that they don’t really deserve a manager of your calibre. And I bet you think that our fans deserve to stay up more than yours. I think that you wish you were still our manager too.

I know that we can’t have you back and that we must move on, but perhaps one day you could bring yourself to explain to us your story of how the club we both love ended up in this shattering turmoil and say sorry.

Yours truly,

Middle of the Bobby Moore Lower