I said in my last blog, that I was on my way to a football game, to watch my beloved West Ham United!! And I said we would win 3-1, and that I would live to regret a bold statement, Oh, how wrong was I???
I have never been one to steer away from controversial topics, and there has been a lot said on Vlog’s & forums, as well as the Worlds Press. So as a West Ham fan, and a Season Ticket Holder, as well as someone who witnessed the scenes at the London Stadium on Saturday During the Burnley game.
I am going to upset some on both sides of the argument, but it is my hope that by the end of this blog, we may find some common ground? I am going to try to use a common sense argument, so outsiders may grasp some understanding!
Some background… Former Birmingham City owners, and alleged West Ham Fans! We willing to Sell their Current club in the hope of buying an in debt, West Ham. A Club which at the time had been in and out of the top flight, and debt was one of the reasons, for the clubs failings… These 3 David Sullivan, David Gold, & Karren Brady! Seemed like our Saviours.. Ok, they had made their money from the porn industry, but which 14-year-old West Ham fan, didn’t have a copy under their mattress, so we could over look where the cash came from.. As there was talk of the club being 100 Million in debt, and the wife has been known to frequent Ann Summers, so who am I to be casting stones.
We skip forward to around 5 years ago… Let’s put it this way, 40 points is the total every manager looks to reach every season.. and West Ham were managing to gain those point early on in the season, so for a couple of seasons, there was a possibility for the team to push on, and maybe, we could have an away game somewhere sunny.. You will soon find being a West Ham fan, comes with built-in hope! Long and short of it, it never happened!
There was a chance for us to move into the former Olympic Stadium in the heart of East London. We would sell our ground for redevelopment, make homes, which although well needed in the borough, would be unaffordable for anyone living in the area. But we can overlook that, as with the money we make, we reinvest it back into the club? The London Mayor Boris, (who still has copies of our directors magazines, under his mattress), and friend of Ms Brady (she has a title also), on the promise of a trolley dash round his local Ann Summers, signed off on the deal.
I am going to pause here for a second…. these 3 took on a club around a 100 million in debt, and were now going to move us into a state of the art stadium, which the tax payer is going to make football friendly. for next 100 years, and your going to have less that 8 million a year for the privilege. And not only that.. what we still owe on the 100 million from when they arrived would be wiped our, and we would have change left over to by a player or two, and not your normal Mexican road sweep either! the guy the warms the bench for Messi.
In a nutshell, those are the fact.. and the reality! I am going to say this now… I love Upton Park, I went to my first game there at 8, or 9. And I have love for the old place, and shared many a fond memory there, and share the last game there, with my wife, which was special night. But without knocking down the ground, and a great deal of the well needed homes around it to do so! Upton Park was never ripe for anything else but redevelopment, and some of the people living in those surrounding houses, have been living there for most of their lives, as most Eastenders do, we are not too keen on moving!
So looking at it as purely a piece of business, it was a dream!! Some fans were not happy, and as I said above, Eastenders are not keen on moving, even those it was a couple of miles up the road. Which for some, me included! made the journey on a Saturday far easier, and a quicker journey. There were a world of concerns, the fact that the new ground, was a former athletic stadium and the running track was to remain, we would be miles away from the pitch, it wouldn’t feel like West Ham it wouldn’t have the vibe, that feeling, as we were renting, how much could we really do to make it our home, etc..
I shall pause again… Now, thus far, everything the board said would happen, did in a way happen, and with any move their would be a few bumps on the way! The paint wasn’t dry on the new stadium before the building started on the former Upton Park site. Apart from our Marquee Signing, the board had almost done what they said they would.. And remember the club is now quids in.. I remember Highbury, and the fortune Arsenal made is what keep Mr Wenger firmly in that dugout, he has made them a fortune! So the model we know works. Along with the new stadium came a new Manager Slavan Bilic, a former West Ham legend, and a manager of proven statue, and one of our own!!
I want to say this, Slav was a good manager, and right for the job at the time. But much as I love him, he was never going to attract the marquee signing we were promised, and his head coach was a pensioner who qualified for a bus pass to training! but as I said earlier, we were a mid table side regardless who managed them, and there would be 55, 000 in the stadium on a Saturday, who could take us to safety, and maybe a cup! So there was in reality damage that they could do? and who still doesn’t love Slav!! But we have to agree, not the right man long-term. But there was no reason to sack him, as I said we are a mid table site, not matter how rocky things got, Slav would have got us out of it! and how much did we have to pay him compo? 2.5 million, for six months? Wherever Slav is right now, rest assured!! He’s making good use of his Ann Summers vouchers! But we are loaded as a club, so we can give a former manager a drink!
So the board have one more promise to fulfil.. That marquee signing… Enter Dimitri Payet… Who!!! This man I believe, is the catalyst for all of West Ham’s current problems. (JJ are you kidding me – ED). Yes, and I shall explain why! And He is going to be the downfall of this current board.
Lets be perfectly honest, we were happy to have this board, when we was in trouble, and we wanted them BECAUSE… They were a little bit shady!! They are ‘ducker’s’, and ‘divers’ like we are!!! While Dimitri was banging in those superb free kicks, they could nick as much as they wanted, and we never gave a tinkers cuss!! But they Promised Payet further Marquee signings, and a push for Europe, after all we now have a few quid! That was a Lie, to fans, and Payet, which was the beginning of the end! We agree that Slav was never going to attract them, We got Payet, as he had the hump elsewhere! And had always said, if the situation changed he would one day return.. Great for a West Ham fan, very loyal!! Not!! But those free kicks blinded us all to the truth, without further back up, even with Payet we were still a mid table squad.
I know some of the neutrals, are thinking where’s the money going to come from! far question. The wife is the accountant, but I will give it a go! I watch the news, and read newspapers, and am not just online downloading porn ( I have an Ann Summers voucher, wink-wink). I digress! the simple math. The Board said we would be debt free when we entered the new stadium! Cool, let make that a starting point for this example. so the last 2 years. each year before a ball is kicked we get £90 million from TV, Sponsor’s etc add another £20 million, Lets make this easy… lets call our running costs that £20 million! That includes wages etc, we should still have change for a nice team holiday in there too.. So just from TV there is 180 million floating around…. But we bought a few players… Yes we did… Let have a look at those signings…. in fact lets not… as not one has played where he is supposed to or made the team consistently, and I believe we broke almost even with signing over the last two years.. But to be fair I will chuck in £20 million in fees.. £160 Million floating around somewhere! and I haven’t chucked in the couple of million from season tickets, and the shop! Now in this day and age £160 million could buy just one player, but for a team like West Ham £160 million, makes us contenders for Europe.
From that 160 Million purchasing two further marquee signing to appease both fans, and our Dimitri, would be all it would have taken to abate the current issues, and keep everyone happy, and who knows in the process, may of won a trophy along the way. But the Board have chosen not to. and that is and was the failing of this Board, and will be their downfall.
Want to hear something really funny.. next year they get double that from TV, so they could have spent, and had very little risk involved! But they have chosen to do nothing.. Slav was replaced with Moyes, and let’s be honest, apart from the Team being fitter, there is very little he can do with a 6 month contract, and sizeable budget. No we are not going to attract a Jose, or a Fergie to manage our club. But we are a mid table team without little management, so with the right budget, and wages, we can attract marquee players to our stunning state of the art stadium.
Finally, Back to Saturday. I sit in the 1966 seating area in the Stadium, and have a view of all areas. Saturday was about celebrating Former West Ham Legend Sir Bobby Moore, and after a first half where West Ham could easily been 3/4 ahead at half time… Then the madness began.. I don’t care what your issues are with the board! and I agree with a lot of them, but protest the car park, even I know where to find the board on a Saturday afternoon.. And it’s not on the centre circle? I go to the games, and although I find most of the chants amusing, and it helps charge the atmosphere, there are kids around me, and I fear for their ears sometimes, and laugh that they know all the words! But the behaviour on Saturday wasn’t on, and there is no excuse, and I support fully banning them for LIFE as they are mug’s, and I saw one of them take a beating from fellow West Ham supporters who were equally aggrieved by the situation, but sorry fella, but you got some Eastend justice, and I sympathise very little for you soreness on Sunday, when you was in the cells!! Did you really think you was going to get away with it? All of you?
Your actions on Saturday insured us a hefty fine, and possible point deduction at a time when we need every point! And you show West Ham, around the world as a bunch of Muppets, as I was watch this unfold in the Stadium, my friend in Tenerife who was watching live was doing like wise, and others worldwide! You got something to say to the Board, go and find them.. email them, stand in the car park, go to their local, pop into a shop… lol
I know you don’t feel heard, but face it you’re not! Because they know what you want to say, THEY KNOW!!! They pick up a paper, read the forums, for christ sake they contribute to a few…
But… and hear me, when I say this.. THEY ARE GOING NOWHERE FOR NOW.. Protest all you want!! THEY ARE NOT LEAVING!! WHY.. I WILL TELL YOU!!
They own 25 players.. nothing else! The ground isn’t our, we kind of own Rush Green, but we own 25 players and a car park!! They need to own the stadium!! Then they have a football Club, and we can see things shifting in a way, where it is cheaper for the current Mayor of London to offload the ground to the Club, to save him a fortune each year, and in effect we get the stadium dirt cheap, if not for nothing!!! Then you have something which you can sell!! So we are stuck with them for the foreseeable! And as I said at the beginning of this very long blog, you may not agree with everything I have said, but I have tried to keep it real, for myself, and hopefully for other fans alike!!
But I will finish as I began, the optimistic West Ham fan, my hope is that we survive this Season, which I don’t doubt, but you know me for predictions? Baroness Brady has a word with the Mayor in the Summer!! And get us the ground, without it we are lumbered!! She may have to offer something more than the Ann Summer’s Vouchers, or free subscriptions, this guy is a Muslim!! He can have 7 wives!! and she is partial to a wedding (ouch!!), so who knows. When we have the ground they will gladly sell… And hopefully to an Oil Rich Sheik who has got bored with horse’s!! And want to buy a team to play with!! Yes please!!
But Southampton at Home is a crucial fixture! If it’s not played behind closed doors?? I will be there, and I hope all those who have something to say to the board, are outside the ground bright and early on Saturday in time for the boards arrive, shout, scream, wave your banners, and if it’s snowing, I think this is a time to ignore the yellow snow warnings! and aim high!! But leaving outside the ground, the world is watching?
You know what to do?
Holla at Me!!