Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

Oh, come on, you lot, I'm not that old. It's a lyric from a Fleetwood Mac song, circa 1987. And it could almost be our theme tune... as well as a chance to use a picture of Stevie Nicks (sorry).

Sadly, many could claim, it's also a bitter indictment of ten years of SGB rule, with our owners fast approaching a decade of control; 19 January 2010, I believe.


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Did they save us or did they spend the ?80m they got for selling Birmingham City to a Hong Kong crook, on buying the Hammers? Were we days from going broke or days from administration? Or was all that just hot air to appease the masses?

I have always doubted that version of events. Back then we owned our ground (yes, I know, hard to believe), owned two training grounds and had a squad that included Mark Noble, Robert Green, Scott Parker, James Tomkins, Matthew Upson and Jack Collison, all saleable items.

So how much in debt were we and was it terminal?

Even our owners have since admitted we were not as bad as it was painted. If it wasn't David Sullivan and David Gold someone would have bought us, a Premier League club with all that Sky money sloshing about.

So how far have we come since? Some might say (come on, sing-a-long if you can) that we have sold our ground, sold our soul, even sold our history, moved to the once poisonous wastelands on the banks of the Lea, and what for?

Some football financial experts say we are making no more than ?2m extra a season than we did at the Boleyn.

Our beloved owners must have dreaded this anniversary, because it lays wide open the opportunity to forensically examine their reign. And boy, is that happening right now, just when we are going through a shocking run.

The dissatisfaction, open anger at where we are and what we were promised. Bare-faced lies, some believe. It's all come to a painful, furious head this week with 'next level' manager Manuel Pellegrini under horrendous pressure.

This always happens, I was told this week, when we go two months without winning. It was supposed to be a joke, but it's not really that funny now!

The seething resentment of the old school fans, who loved the Boleyn, is never far from the surface. We moved to progress, to be top six and play in Europe, we were told. We are still waiting.


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There has to be a plus side, there are always two sides to the argument. Let's be fair. The stadium move has given the opportunity for around 30,000 more fans to see the Hammers. They may be decried as the popcorn brigade, but they now have the chance of a seat that they would never have got at Upton Park.

Apart from that? Well, I struggled.

To the modern fan, the London Stadium is a modern arena. More user friendly than the old gaff where you could stand in rivers of urine any time you wanted to. Do not decry the needs and requirements of the modern generation.

But the lies. A world-class stadium, a world-class team, Champions League football in five or so years. Give it a rest. No chance.

Those 'lies 'still enrage the old guard, the fans who feel they are being cast aside in Karren Brady's race to the top of the corporate ladder. They feel their heritage, their history, has been stolen from them.

And we have had this argument from day one of the move to Stratford, and there is no chance that the noise from the old brigade will diminish... only with age. Two million of the folk who voted for Brexit are dead. Maybe the club are waiting for the day they can say that about the annoyingly troublesome old boys?

Of course none of this has been helped this week by the horribly transparent interventions by a couple of, shall we say, fringe members of the club establisment. Maybe folk who have a level of dependence on the club not to rock the boat, maybe.

We have had a guy moaning that the board do not get enough thanks for 'what they have done for the club.' Then there was the suggestion that the board reckons it was the fans' fault, they wanted Pellegrini in the first place.

Now this has caused uproar, not surprisingly, and better comedians than me have had a field day with this. My, view is that Pellegrini's appointment has precious little to do with fans' unrest. It was all wrapped up bar the shouting before Sullivan got the ICF old boys involved, before the RWHFAG was even formed.

People forget things that are said, the little lies somehow become accepted. These days lies are the new truth... just look at our wonderful politicians. Say something enough and people start believing it.

But it has been accepted now that the club were romancing Pellegrini from the second he left Manchester City. He has admitted to watching DVDs of West Ham games while he was in China. The deal was all but completed before David Moyes' first game in charge against Watford in November 2017.


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Sullivan was already looking for the upgrade, but it has become folklore that the fans forced him into it, made him spend all that money. The Burnley uproar wasn't until the following March.

But it is that level of anger and unrest that will be the hallmark of Sullivan and Gold's decade. And because of the anniversary of their control coming up, we are seeing plenty of statistics to underline maybe why we are not doing what we were told we would be doing - that is, challenging for the top six.

Sorry, words come back to haunt people. Karren Brady's videos about the stadium move are priceless. David Gold said at the time: "I would be disappointed if we don't join the so-called top six within the next five years.

"We know the fan base is there, and it will grow when we move to the Olympic Stadium. This isn't blind optimism, I can see everything coming together culminating in us becoming a top club, challenging at the highest level with top players in an amazing stadium supported by amazing fans."

Meanwhile Sullivan said: "I'd like to see us win the Premier League and then the Champions League. Yes, I know it's unlikely, but again not impossible. Look at Atletico Madrid, we can all dream". And we all fell for this level of codswallop.

With those sort of dreams and aspirations has to come the money. West Ham is run as a business, all the experts agree. As a company it's a tight ship, the owners know how to run businesses.

But the money on the field has not matched those promises, these little lies. The last five windows has seen the Board spend just ?83m net. In ten years they have spent just ?72m on defenders, 19 players in all, the majority free transfers or loans.

In nine years of accounts (2019 is due shortly, we are led to believe) the debt has been below ?70m six times, the net transfer spending has been ?140m in the decade, and this at a club that has seen over ?1billion of TV cash and revenue go through the books.

The owners have let us money - with interest - and will say that we are living within our means. So why did they promise Europe and top six in the first place? It was never on, the gap - I hate to say it but I wrote this years ago - is virtually impossible to bridge.

So hear we are again. Large sections of the fan base at odds with the ownership, a squad that has been cut back to leave it perilously weak in certain areas. We have two free transfer 'keepers, one of whom is the worst I have seen in a West Ham shirt - and I saw Allen McKnight!


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The manager will claim he was unable to bring in a decent holding midfielder, if you recall the budget was reached in two recent windows. We let five strikers leave and bought in one-and-a-half to replace them. Albian Ajeti looks out of his depth.

Jack Wilshere has been a disaster, the left back situation has not been addressed. I am sure we could all go on and on.

Ten years down the line and we are still fighting relegation battles, and someone somewhere decides to have a pop at the fans. Tell us some more little lies gents, or maybe you have taken us as far as you can.

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