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Sell Upson at your peril

Filed: Thursday, 24th December 2009
By: Staff Writer

Gianfranco Zola is in danger of falling foul of his employers after questioning the potential sale of Matthew Upson.

The 30-year-old centre half, who is currently lined up to be one of three West Ham players to feature for England at next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa has refused to sign an extension to his current contract which expires in 18 months' time.

The club's owners CB Holdings have apparently insisted that further player sales are made during next month's transfer window despite having previously claimed that the club is now self-sustaining. Favourite for the chop, almost by default, is club captain Upson.

Zola however understandably fails to agree with that assessment - and admits that should Upson, his only remaning top-class defender, become the latest victim of CB Holdings' year-long fire-sale that his team will have even less chance of avoiding the drop come May.

You know, we want to keep the best players," he told reporters assembled for the Portsmouth pre-match press conference. "I don't know what's going to happen next month.

"The only thing I know for sure is that before then we have three games coming up that are very, very important and I want to focus on them. That's the main thing, the rest is out of my control.

"The first step is to get through this game on Saturday, which is vital, and let's do it all together and then we'll see what happens."

Upson, who has been linked with Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool amongst others in recent weeks - has made it clear that he sees his future away from the Boleyn. However West Ham - or rather owners CB Holdings - could just as easily wait until the summer to sell, should Upson remain unmoved

Of course, any eventual transfer fee is likely to be far less in the summer which has presumably led to the notion that Upson is expendable - but relegation from the Premier League, a much more likely scenario without the club captain, would cost the club much, much more.

A fire sale by any other name: who's been flogged in 2009

Matthew Etherington: The first to go this year. Stoke coughed up around 3m to take him to the Brittania where he has impressed in an improving Stoke team.

Craig Bellamy: Sold to Man City for around 12m amidst rumours of him being a trouble maker. Rumours which were later refuted.

Hayden Mullins: Flogged to Portsmouth last January. Replaced by Radoslav Kovac who has been half the player Mullins was.

David Di Michele: Made 34 appearances for Zola last season but still moved on in the summer. Striker-less West Ham now set to recall Freddie Sears from Crystal Palace.

Lucas Neill: Offered a far inferior deal to that he was on and told the club to poke it. Now playing for Everton.

Lee Bowyer: released on a free transfer in June. Scored the winning goal against his old club in the recent defeat at Birmingham.

Savio Nsereko: Nani's very own Nigel Quashie. Nobody will ever know how much West Ham lost on this extremely questionable deal.

James Collins: Flogged to Aston Villa on summer transfer deadline day for 5m.

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by graham harris
10:35AM 1st Jan 2010
''The worst thing we did was to sell Collins, we always looked soild with him in the team. As the previous contributers have said we must hang on to Upson and Parker. I am pretty sure we will have a buy out soon then we can get some stability back in the club. Oh by the way, I hate Harry red. He is so worried that we will beat him soon, roll on the day.''

by Peter Richards
10:07PM 27th Dec 2009
''If the bottom line is that owners need money to service debts - who do we sell?
Our top assets are Parker and Collison, after that Green, Upson and Cole. If someone is prepared to pay 10m for a want-away injury prone 30+ defender we've probably got to take it, and hope that it will be enough to ensure no-one else goes.

I agree the biggest worry is then a domino effect and the loss of our remaining good players.''

by Paddy
07:17PM 27th Dec 2009
''I have to agree with Mike's comments; although you're a little hard on Mullins, Mike. He's a Championship player and played a major role in getting promotion - but it's laughable to suggest selling him was part of a fire sale.

The predicted fire sale in the last window when the press claimed the club would sell Upson, Green and Parker didn't happen. Let's just wait and see.''

by Mike
10:24PM 26th Dec 2009
''Not sure what your "Fire Sale" remarks are supposed to prove, except that you want to be very negative about our club.

Matty - Much as I liked him, hard as he worked, always erratic, 3 Mil was a bloody good price.

Bellamy - None of the Hammers I know ever wanted to see the little twerp at UP. Yes, he did well for us. Against many expectations! And we also, astonishingly, actually made a profit on the buy / sell. But for all his qualities as a footballer, he has been a destabilising influence in most, if not all, of the dressing rooms he's ever been in. AND WE MADE A PROFIT ON HIM!!!

Mullins - How can Kovac be half of nothing? Mullins couldn't control the ball or pass it, and was bugger all use as a midfield "enforcer" (which, presumably, was his alleged role in the side). I couldn't have been happier when he was sold. The best thing Mullins ever did for us was giving away today's penalty... Except that, apparently, it was Michael Brown who tripped Jiminez. Typical Mullins... Couldn't even get that right... ;-)

Di Michele - Moved on? Did he? You imply he *chose* to walk away from us. I thought we let go of him, either because we couldn't afford to keep him or didn't want to.

Neill - Was never worth what he was on in the first place. Who was sorry to see that merecenary leave? He should have been a Yank - over-paid & over here...

Bowyer - Another one, regardless of his qualities as a footballer (& they were not as great as Bellamy's), that should never have been allowed near our hallowed gates. A nasty little creature not fit to pull on our shirt, who failed to produce his best when he did, and who was too often not fit to play. What point are you trying to make?

Nsereko - That's right, YOU don't know, do you? So why try to score a cheap point... Oh, that's right, that'll be because that's all you've been doing from the start of the article...

Collins - I'll give you that one. But, then, he was the only bid we got that was anything like good value so, much as I disapproved of the sale, I guess he had to be sacrificed.

I DO agree that the No.1 priority should be staying up. If we lose a few million quid on Upson in the summer as a consequence of not selling him now, so be it. Relegation would cost us & Straumur far more. Nevertheless I strongly object to the unnecessarily underhandedly negative tone of your article, Mr Staff Writer. I don't expect entirely objective articles (it is a West Ham site, after all). I do expect a modicum of good sense & good judgement. Alas! Sadly lacking in this post... :-/''

by g portugal
02:44PM 24th Dec 2009
''The situation with Upson is an absolute disgrace. We are in the drop zone already, and recent fixtures showed that we cannot cope without Upson. It is UNDENIABLE: IF WE SELL UPSON WE GO DOWN.

If we go down the Icelandics lose EVERYTHING to the tune of over 100 million. What is the point of risking 100 million pounds for the sake of collecting 10 now? If the brain dead owners insist on selling Upson, then it should be done in the summer, even if that reduces the transfer fee. Jeopardizing our Premier League status, when supposedly CB Holdings are under "no pressure to sell" is something only morons would do.

Or total losers. Or both.''

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