This league's too big for you

West Ham's ownership sit in their gated mansions in varying parts of the Home Counties knowing the club's supporters believe they have failed them.

Frequently fans' forums ask whether David Sullivan and David Gold have taken us as far as they can. Maybe the question should be, is the Premier League too big for them with billions washing around and does that mean that West Ham, potentially, are too big for them?


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The recently-published accounts can be interpreted any way people want, but they show West Ham are stretched to breaking point financially and there doesn't seem much prospect of things changing any time soon.

This is what we are and where we are. They can talk of transfer spending over the past four years, of the glossy new stadium that so many fans dislike, but the reality is that the Premier League, awash with foreign investment, is leaving them behind..

They are unable with their resources it seems, vast to our eyes, to really compete in the market place any more. Now that looks like another snide dig at owners who have enraged vast sways of West Ham's support, but that is not the point.

It doesn't matter who they are, love them or loathe them, is not the issue. Combined wealth of around ?1.5billion is just not enough. Their stewardship of West Ham, a club that has seen well over ?1billion flood through its coffers from TV revenue alone in the ten years of their tenure, has not produced the success we crave.

In this current climate of litigation, let's point out that this is a general observation of how the football industry has progressed, what money is needed to compete seriously, and where that money these days comes from. The ownership has tried to take us to the next level, but it hasn't happened and is not going to any time soon.

Last week financial expert Kieran Maguire spelt it out on KUMB. We don't generate enough money from the London Stadium. Match day revenue is not much different to what it was in the last days of Upton Park.

Off-field revenues have improved, but not by enough to generate the cash needed. We are, in effect, trapped in a situation that sees us unable to maximise the 60,000 plus capacity stadium. We don't own it, so we cannot benefit from events staged there other than football, in the way that Spurs are doing at their new stadium with NFL.

Putting up ticket prices would be the only way, but that clearly would go down like a black balloon!


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We are over-dependant on TV revenue, borrowing large amounts from posh pay day loan companies,. One for ?40million, it seems from viewing the accounts, has to be paid back soon. We still owe around the same amount to other clubs over transfer fees and are now paying out more than 70 per cent of our income on wages.

The owners have loaned the club money that has accrued ?18million of interest over the years - big club owners around the league from Brighton to Newcastle don't do that - and they have just overseen a transfer window that has highlighted one thing. We still need more players, better players.

Right through the Premier League, foreign money is now king. Only ourselves, Spurs, Norwich and Newcastle do not have substantial foreign cash. And Spurs are funded by vast amounts of offshore money. Arsenal and Aston Villa's owners are worth ?9billion each.

Wolves, Leicester, Palace, Sheffield United, Southampton, Everton, even Bournemouth have ownership that boasts many billions more than our owners have. Of course Manchester City and Chelsea are in a different league we will never reach.

West Ham's owners want investment, but don't want to give up ownership. Without their money and loans, the club have just ?10million cash loan from Albert 'Tripp' Smith to help them pay their way. The most recent accounts show they are ?27million in debt. It shows they spent around ?100million in the year to April 2019, and clawed back little over ?15million from sales.

Their policy of buying ageing, injury prone players with little or no sell on value, the use of loans, and loan to buy deals, is a business plan that just does not seem to work any longer in the Premier League.

There have been constant rumours from the City these past months of potential buyers for the club sounding out the owners. This gets denied instantly, the club is not for sale we are told, but those rumours won't go away.

And they underline that what we are missing is proper, outside investment. But that would mean allowing foreign money to take control of the club, and the owners do not want to tolerate that, it seems. It is providing them with a nice living, their children too will benefit. But it is not providing a strong financial, basis for them to compete in the Premier League, where outside investment is booming.


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It used to be that they couldn't match the big six, now they are struggling to compete. Palace - now the fourth club in London they think, have US cash. West Ham are struggling against foreign investment at Aston Villa and Sheffield United - who have spent over ?60million alone in this window to cement their return to the Premier League.

The list goes on. Leicester and Wolves, clubs who are considered our contempories, both have foreign muscle.

If we were sold to seriously rich US or Middle East ownership, we could soar. You could almost say the current ownership is holding us back.

We have been caught and overtaken by a new breed of football club, one that is bolstered by US, Chinese, Thai, Middle Eastern, Russian, Ukrainian and Swiss money. Sullivan and Gold have frequently highlighted that they are British owners who pay their taxes here.

But are they out of their depth? Not only in the Premier League but also as a club. We are the 18th-richest club in the world but European football, sustained growth and competing at least in the cups, is beyond us. Leicester are about to qualify for the Champions League for the third time in recent years; that's worth around 100million per season from UEFA.

Our wages percentage is now over 70 per cent of our income, the threshhold at which alarm bells being to ring. It took a while for these accounts to be released. The debate raged, the transfer window finally ended with the arrival of two bright young players. But there was not enough money to bolster a porous defence. Then we produce kamikazi football and threw away victory against Brighton.

Since then the criticism has raged. Our owners have run into a perfect storm. Deep analysis of their ten years of control, growing and articulate independent supporters' groups finding their voices and a transfer window that has seen Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek and Darren Randolph arrive but with the squad needing vastly more spent on it.

So the question is, are we going anywhere with the current ownership? Are they holding us back? If we survive this season, how much longer will it be before the same thing happens again?

West Ham needs genuine outside finance and that's a risk, because foreign owners have not always been good for clubs. But at the moment we are going nowhere fast, nowhere near European football and with all due respect to David Moyes, without a manager or ownership that can take us there.

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