Fair play to @baz1980whu who has put his money where his mouth is, refusing to attend home games. Was at the Brighton game and that result was nothing more than symptomatic of the ‘bigger issue’ with our club. Having run a self started business for over 13years we know the ins and outs on the good and bad sides of business. What we are seeing at West Ham presently is the systematic deconstruction and asset stripping of an institution for one purpose: To put money in the pockets of Sullivan, Gold and Brady.
Let’s go through some facts.
1. We are the only premier league club who began this season without their full squad quota. That was a conscious decision having sold more than we bought in. The 1 in 1 out policy was a lie. The 22 players we had included the likes of Henry, Makasi and Sakho who couldn’t start a game due to his bonus structure.
2. We are the only premier league club to finish this transfer window with less players than we started with. Despite Moyes saying on the 26th December he needed a DM and Obiang, Lanzini and Arnie all getting injured before the deadline, as well as selling our top scorer at the time to a relegation rival. The squad has no depth. We have played a 33yr old fullback in DM the last two games.
3. We sold our ground for around 40m and presently have practically zero overheads when it comes to operational stadium costs saving millions in the process
4. Our chairmen bought the ‘100m club debt’ and are the only ones in the league who have charged their own club 7.5% interest on the loans every year. The club are still 100m in debt and millions has entered the chairmen’s pockets in the process.
5. We still take out payday loans using our training ground as security to do so?! One can only deduce that this is to cover overheads for playing staff as the chairmen don’t want to dip their hands in their pockets and again saddles the club with more interest payments and more debt which the owners charge interest on.
6. Let’s be clear. The owners have purchased the debt. Fair play to them. However this was done based solely on the ‘business opportunity’ that West Ham presented and is virtually 100% risk free and full proof on return. The money in football is astronomical. The ‘asset’ of West Ham being a premier league club outweighs multiple times the risk on the debt. Season ticket sales, TV revenue, player assets, merchandise etc. At any point they can recall the full loan amount and walk away. One season TV money alone will pay it off.
7. This does not even touch upon the fact that the owners are quite clearly sitting on their golden nest egg until the covenant expires that forces them to share the profits on any sale of the club with Newham and the LLDC. When that expires they will look to get out. Having reduced their expenditure to the bare minimum required to maintain premier league status by stripping out the playing staff and stadium costs they will then pocket all profit from the new owners as well as being paid back in full on the loans to handle the debt.
It is no different to Philip green and the BHS affair and the only people being taken for a ride and having their intelligence insulted at the same time are the supporters. The same people who pay £500-1200 and more on season tickets based on repeated and habitual empty ‘next level’ promises and gestures that never have and never will come true. Without the lies the supporters would not have sanctioned the move or been so passive in their response and their business plan would have fallen at the first hurdle.
They continue to need the fans to buy into the idea of moving onwards and upwards because without the supporters to fill the stadium ‘West Ham’ is no longer a viable saleable asset.
So we can all carry on letting ourselves be ripped off or we can do something about it. Once again let’s remind ourselves of the position we are in:
1. We don’t have a stadium that we own or can in any conceivable nature call ‘home’.
2. We don’t have a permanent manager. Moyes is on a 6month contract, on peanuts attempting to restore his reputation.
3. Our squad is smaller than any other club in the league. So small that we don’t have any cover of sufficient ability when a handful of players are injured. The Brighton result bears this out.
You cannot blame the players. You cannot blame Moyes. Culture starts from the top down and the culture at West Ham is of a club on its knees being dismantled from within.
All disappointment comes as a result of expectation. When you continue to spin webs of lies and deceit based on unrealistic expectation there is only one outcome. Where is the transparency? Where is the accountability? It’s about time we ALL called them out on it