David Sullivan & David GoldDavid Sullivan and David Gold pose after purchasing West Ham United

It’s not been much fun supporting West Ham London over the past few months, a torrid run of poor results starting against Oxford in the Carabao Cup saw the hammers lose 9 games from 13, drawing 2 and winning only 2. It’s fair to say Manuel Pellegrini’s reign as manager always looked like it was on borrowed time. A surprise to myself, I honestly never thought we’d be worrying about relegation during his time in charge. Our poor performance this season feels worse as we look on with envy at Leicester’s progress, sitting in 2nd place and looking impressive in almost every game. It was in fact a loss to the foxes that would be the final nail in Manuel Pellegrini’s coffin. On face value, losing by one goal against a team flying high wouldn’t be such a bad result were it not for the fact that Leicester played a second string 11 without the likes of James Maddison, Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo Pereira . Talisman Jamie Vardy wasn’t even on the bench such was Brendan Rodgers confidence in beating a West Ham side who have taken just 7 points at the London Stadium this season and only 1 point since the defeat against Oxford.

It’s true that the Premier League has been uncharacteristically strange this season, looking more like the Championship with several teams pulling away and everybody else looking just about as good (or as bad) as each other. Several other teams have also parted ways with their managers this season, most have not spent so long coming to what was unfortunately an obvious conclusion. In an ideal world, I think we’d all love to be able to give the manager time to turn the club around, but this isn’t an ideal world and football in its current form is far from ideal. Such are the riches of the Premier League, virtuous traits like trust, belief and faith are a thing of the past. The level of noise seeping from supposedly silent platforms like Twitter and Facebook make it almost impossible for clubs to remain faithful to a manager who isn’t picking up points. Football has changed, fans see everything, poor performances and poor attitudes cannot be hidden in two minutes of Match of the Day highlights.



On Sunday 29th December 2019, David Moyes was reappointed as West Ham manager, some nineteen months after he was told by David Sullivan that he wasn’t the man to take us to the ‘next level’, a buzz phrase I’ll bet the board wish they had never uttered. They’ve tried to redefine it over the years, last season they tried to push it as ‘consistently finishing with no threat of relegation’, however we all know full well that the next level was supposed to be European football, maybe not the Champions League, but certainly the Europa League. That looks like nothing more than a pipe dream now and indeed even if the next level is having no fear of relegation, we haven’t even achieved that!! So what next? Well it seems from the last few days activities, the board now plans to suggest that their ambitious plans were born more from hope than expectation. More spin of course. First, they reappoint a manager with one of the worst win percentages in our history and task him with the job of getting us out of trouble. Something he should achieve with the squad we have, something Pellegrini probably also would have achieved. Appointing Moyes is not just an admission of defeat in terms of our goals, it’s also an admission that the so-called ‘West Ham Way’ is not achievable under their leadership. Moyes himself even mentioned in his first Press Conference that after studying modern footballing philosophies, he came to the conclusion that possession isn’t important and long balls are. I’m paraphrasing of course, but that was the message. He also spun a rather ‘tall’ tale declaring how much class David Sullivan has. I didn’t hear the rest of the Press Conference because I was too busy laughing. Today (31/12) I read a message from our captain Mark Noble which was published on the clubs official website and it was the spark that prompted this article. Obviously the club are spinning everything at the moment to try to dampen the level of anger from the fan base, but this article got me increasingly irritated the more I read on. If it’s nothing but club spin then that’s one thing, but if Mark actually believes what he’s written, then I question whether he should be our captain at all. After talking about how great David Moyes is and how wonderful all the lads thought he was last time he took charge, he then went on to dismiss our chances of being a next level club and talked about more realistic ambitions. Regarding our ambitions, he said:


We hoped that would happen with Manuel because he is such a great guy and had a proven managerial pedigree, but we now need to get back to what we are as West Ham United and achieve realistic targets before aiming higher. When Manuel was appointed, I was really hoping it would be that way, but it didn’t work out”.


I enjoyed some fantastic football under him and learned so much from him and his staff and I know they were genuinely gutted that it didn’t work out, but I do feel like we need to walk before we can run and build something”.


It’s been a long time since we were re-branded as West Ham London and told that by leaving everything behind, we would be a happier, healthier and more successful club, and yet now the realistic ambition is to just be a stable Premier League club? If that’s the board speaking, it’s pretty disgusting but not surprising. If however, that is our captains ambitions, why is he leading our team? If he has no greater ambition than to sit in mid table, having a laugh with Robert Snodgrass and not having to worry about the pressures of achieving something more, then what is the point? I mentioned Leicester earlier and it’s not unreasonable to compare ourselves with them, after all, we finished next to each other in the table last season. The similarities end there however because from the top to the bottom of that club, the owners, the management, the players and the fans believe in what they can achieve together and they are hungry for it. We all know Gold, Sullivan and Brady aren’t hungry for anything other than a tidy profit. Today’s article from our captain worries me even more however, because it seems he’s not hungry for anything more than what we already are, a rank average Premier League team. What kind of example is that to set?


Submitted on 31st December 2019


By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

2 thought on “Gold & Sullivan Admit Defeat… And So Does Mark Noble!”
  1. The first part of this reads really well, the second seems to descend into a rant about the owners. We all ( you included, I’m sure) were excited with the ‘ next level’ chat and backing themselves up by hiring a winning manager and paying him enormous wages. We asked for ambition, didn’t they try to give it in that instance? I don’t agree with the appointment of moyes particularly, who would you have gone for? If we had to pay MP contract out, millions, can’t poach anyone and guardiola is busy. The way we’ve been playing, do you seriously think we would’ve stayed up under MP? Even the gillingham manager took the piss and said they would’ve done us with him in charge. I think so too.
    As for what noble said, I think you’re taking it a bit to heart. Given where we are in the table, thats a standard response from any footballer and a captain statement to the rest of the players to sort it out consistently before looking upwards. I hope to read more, but please without an agenda

    1. Thanks for the reply Adam, it’s nice to have a bit of discussion on the blog. I’m new to blogging, so if at least the first part reads well, I’m happy!

      Firstly, I think it’s easy to insolate that instance when they were ambitious and looking to the ‘next level’ in 2018, but where was the ambition after finishing 7th during the final Boleyn season? We had a platform to move in to the London Stadium building on a successful season and stating our intent to kick on. The ambition seemed lacking to me as we bought in a lot of mediocre players for not a lot of money. I wonder had Bilic been backed then, what would the club look like now? It didn’t happen however and we went backwards. Moyes was an acceptable stop gap and the appointment of Pellegrini and investment in the transfer market was more a reaction to the incident against Burnley in my opinion. That said, while Pellegrini wasn’t my first choice, I was happy with the appointment and very happy with his first transfer window. But for me, it was only ever half a job done. We were starting the season as a side that had only just avoided relegation in the last few weeks of the season and the squad was pretty weak and certainly lacking in depth. I think that first window made a real difference and I believe it needed a similar investment in the summer of 2019 to complete the squad. The majority of us believed we were weak at full back and lacked a strong athletic midfielder, that wasn’t addressed. Our strong forward line was depleted. We saved an awful lot on wages and I think there was a lot of cost cutting. I’m not sure it was the right time to do so. Of course, I am certainly no financial expert, far from it.

      I do think we probably would have just done enough to attain safety under Pellegrini but I couldn’t say that with total confidence, I don’t know what was the mood around the club, so I’m basing it on Pellegrini’s managerial ability alone. My feelings towards Mark Noble like anybody else’s come from second or third hand information so it’s all thoughts and theories. I heard he had begun to question Pellegrini in training and I’m not sure that is healthy in front of the squad. I think he has a lot of influence and has done for a long time now. A number of different groups of players have seemingly switched off and stopped trying and he is the leader of the team so question marks over his influence I think are justified. His comments on New Years Eve just read to me like a guy who was comfortable achieving little more than staying in the Premier League. I wanted to read something a little more resilient and not, ‘We tried… but perhaps we just need to stay where we are’. That opportunity passed when we left Upton Park.

      Thanks again for commenting.

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