Written by Alan Measom
So we have been locked down for over 10 weeks now and it got me to wondering have the custodians of our football club used this time wisely? Im neither pro or anti board and always try to have a balanced view on our club. I found a podcast called the “Football Fourcast” where they reviewed our season and looked at the board, the manager, the players and the stadium and below im gonna throw a few facts and opinions out there, would love to hear your thoughts.
The owners wont go unless they want to, we can hate on them all we want, slate them for not spending enough or buying the right players but we are stuck with them until they decide to go. They saved us from financial oblivion when they came in and saw the London Stadium as an opportunity not to be missed, they did promise us a dream and they have delivered us a nightmare. We haven’t gone from where we were at Upton Park to challenging for Europe and the stadium whilst great facility wise for accessibility for those less able and having more bars, loos and more comfortable seats it isn’t ideal for football, if we can buy it and make the changes we all want it will be better.
Recruitment hasn’t been great – do you know in the last 5 years we have spent 130m on strikers and we have spent another 309m in those 5 years on attacking players – you cant fault the board for investment there can you? We have had sporting directors such as Gianluca Nani, who was binned when the board came in, the owners associate Barry Silkman and then when Manuel Pellegrini came in Mario Husillios. I see faults on all sides here and this is the theme I started with, have we used the 10 week lockdown to do a root and branch review of our club? I doubt it. I know form the westhamway podcast with Dave and Ex that we have one scout, why haven’t we been looking at this and thinking right we need a director of football, we need a scouting network lets sort that out.
It doesn’t need to be a pr exercise until everything is in place and we can announce it giving confidence to supporters. We need to decide who the west ham manager will be next season, I know people will say we cant until we know which league we will be in but in my opinion David Moyes hasn’t been recruited for the short term, he has hinted in press conferences that his contract has clauses in to trigger extensions and a longer deal and has also spoken of wanting to play and manage following the Red Bull brand of football which is recruit young, hungry players, develop them playing the right way and then if the time is right let them move on for a healthy profit. In an ideal world we don’t want to sell our best players but take Liverpool when they sold Coutinho, for the money plus another £1m they bought Virgil Van Dijk, Alisson and Andy Robertson, that’s sensible business and real recruitment and development of players. If Moyes is here for the foreseeable lets get in a director of football to work with him and a scouting network as we all want to recruit the Jarod Bowens of this world.
Letting Pellegrini bring in his chosen director of football was wrong, but then if we hadn’t and then couldn’t bring in the manager because of that fans would have said typical west ham, penny pinching or not backing the manager which he was backed to the tune of 150m by the way. Another two stats I learned from that podcast is that since the owners came in we have a net spend of 260m which is the 6th highest in that time and also that in that time our collection of strikers have scored 203 goals in 957 so a strike rate of 1 in 5 games, worth knowing that in this period premier league veterans Troy Deeney and Glenn Murray have scored more goals.
We also have a weird approach of buying a player and then not playing them in their natural position or the formation that suits them, Haller played up front with Jovic at Frankfurt last year and was on fire, prompting us to buy him, then we play him upfront alone, when playing without Antonio who busts a gut to get forward he has gone on 2 goalless runs of 8 games each. Do we really think Felipe Anderson looked so uninterested this season prompted us to break our transfer record on him playing like that at Lazio? Pablo Fornals who is a massive favourite of mine and tore it up at the U21 Euro’s last summer has played every position across the midfield, hardly settling for him is it? Buy a player that fits the position we need to improve on not buy a player and change them into our system, both devaluing that player and ruining his confidence.
Lets be frank we don’t have the funds needed, especially after Covid 19 to go out and buy the Haller’s of the game again, it did not surprise me to hear Ex say the squad is up for sale, but we will resist offers for our best players (Rice) unless its an offer we cant turn down, why would this be a bad thing anyway? Anyone who wants to go can, weve had this issue with trying to beg so called stars to come and play for us before, Gomez, Batshuyai, Lacazette and Bacca to name a few, yes money talks but commitment to the cause is vital. Of the current squad my ideal list to retain would be Fabianski, Ogbonna, Diop, Johnson, Ngakia, Anderson, Fornals, Soucek, Antonio, Rice, Bowen and Haller. If we can keep Fredericks, Cresswell, Noble, Snodgrass and Randolph Id be happy with that too but everyone else from that first team squad can go, Wilshere, Lanzini, Yarmolenko etc.
That’s a decent spine to rebuild from and bring in players who want to earn their money not washed up has been’s like Sanchez on 100k a week, I wouldn’t be looking at anyone headlining gossip columns either, ive seen a lot of noise about Jovic on loan from real madrid (he’s now injured) lets go for someone who wants to come rather than someone who will use us to get a new deal or a better deal at their current club or elsewhere. There are players out there, look at teams like Brentford, they play the right way and a number of their players have gone onto play in the premier league, Sheffield United don’t have household names either. The normal we had wont be the same when we go back to playing this season and at least until 2021 so we need to accept, adapt and above all support the club we love, together.