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Brown's Verdict


Filed: Saturday, 10th February 2001
By: Staff Writer


Chairman Terry looks at the club's latest accounts...

The year under review was, in footballing terms, one of the most successful in West Ham United's history, consolidating on the achievements of the preceding two seasons.

By securing 9th place in the Premier League the club achieved a top ten finish for the third consecutive season, representing the club's best ever league performance.

The club also successfully completed its 36th season in the top flight of English football during the 42 seasons since 1958-59. Admission to the UEFA Cup, via the Intertoto Cup, was the club's first qualification for a major European tournament for nineteen years and its first through league performance.

The club's under 19 and under 17 teams achieved further cup and league success and our various youth teams have now won six major trophies in the last two seasons.

Operating Results

Turnover increased by 35% to a record £36 million.

£4 million of this increase can be attributed to the gate and broadcast revenue generated from our run in European competition while our retail operation, West Ham United Sportswear Limited, enjoyed a successful year with turnover up by almost £2 million.

In the light of this increase in turnover, the reported loss for the year of £2.1 million is disappointing, although largely attributable to a 42% rise in wages from £17.7 million in 1998/99 to £25.1 million in the year just ended.

Approximately £1 million of the increase represents bonuses paid as a result of the team's success in Europe but much of the balance relates both to securing key members of the playing squad on long term contracts and to the cost of further squad strengthening.

We continue to invest all available resources in our playing squad. In the five years since 1995/96, our annual wage bill has increased by 400% from £6.1 million to £25.1 million.

In that same period we have invested a net £21 million (£58 million gross) in transfer fees.

Such expenditure is evidence of our determination to build a squad capable of competing at the highest level and is reflected in the value of the current playing squad which, in the opinion of the directors and subject to a satisfactory outcome to the present uncertainty regarding the transfer system referred to below, has increased by 20% during the year to £84 million.

Transfer System Much has been written about the perceived threat to the system of transferring player registrations brought about by the European Commission's review.

We, in common with other clubs and the national football authorities, believe the present system works in the interests of all parties in football, and strongly support the campaign for its retention.

Football

The team once again achieved results in 25 of its 38 League matches and qualified for the UEFA Cup by winning the Intertoto Cup.

The last three seasons' final league positions of 8th, 5th and 9th represent the club's best league performance since its formation in 1895.

In total we have spent 45 seasons in either the old 1st Division or the Premier League - 9 between 1895 and 1958 and 36 since.

During those 45 seasons we have finished in the top half of the table on no more than 14 occasions. Four of those occasions have occurred during the last five seasons.

Older supporters often remind me of the golden days of Bobby Moore and wonder when the success of those days will return.

Golden days they most certainly were but during Bobby's 16 seasons with the club we finished in the top half of the old 1st Division on just 5 occasions and never in consecutive seasons.

Our average league finishing position during the remaining 11 seasons was 15th.

Such statistics put into perspective all the club has achieved under the management of Harry Redknapp at a time when funds have had to be carefully apportioned between the team, the stadium and revamping our famous "Academy".

We have every reason to be grateful to Harry, Frank Lampard and Roger Cross for all they have achieved on our behalf.

Whilst we have made good progress in The Premier League our success in the two major English cup competitions has been less impressive and we could ill afford to lose our place in last season's Worthington Cup semi-final because of an administrative error.

This was undoubtedly a bad mistake, which led to the resignation of two senior executives, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to both supporters and shareholders for an error which should not have happened.

On a brighter note, our youth development programme continues to thrive with four players being selected for the same England under 18 squad (a club record) and five 18 year olds making the transition from our Academy to the first team squad.

Our under 17s won their FA Premier Youth Academy group and our under 19s won their FA Premier Youth Academy League Championship having already won their group.

I would like to thank, once again, our Academy Director, Tony Carr, Director of Youth Development, Jimmy Hampson, Youth Team Coach, Peter Brabrook and all their colleagues for ensuring that our Academy remains at the forefront of English youth football.

Retail and Commercial Operations

Turnover for West Ham United Sportswear Limited increased by 65% to £4.5m following the opening of additional stores at Ilford, Beckton and Bluewater and the new four year merchandising agreement with Fila (UK) Limited.

The new product range offered by Fila has been extremely well received and, despite difficult high street trading conditions and the adverse impact on match day trading of the loss of the stadium forecourt shop due to the redevelopment, we expect income to remain stable next year with growth returning in 2001/2002.

West Ham United Hospitality Limited traded in line with expectations in its first operational year, focusing upon improvements in quality as the main priority. We believe this division is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the new West stand development.

Social Responsibility

"Football in the Community really means something to West Ham United. They're one of the most socially aware clubs in the country and I'm very proud of them".

Tony Banks MP


Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.







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