The stark reality of the gulf that exists within the Premier League was on full display when West Ham visited Chelsea earlier this month.
Back in December, the Hammers had staged a sterling comeback at Upton Park, after falling behind 1-0 and winning the game 3-1. So on Sunday morning I was optimistic, especially since Chelsea had played back-to-back highly competitive games in both the FA Cup and Europa League. But the difference between the two squads was obvious, and there is no doubt money is a factor, but I believe that there has to be some responsibility for how money is spent on the squad.
There isn’t one player that started for West Ham that could crack the starting XI of Chelsea. The euphoria of being promoted has faded; the euphoria of being 6th earlier in the season has faded; the euphoria of signing Andy Carroll has faded.
Being dragged into the fringe of the relegation battle is now reality and is there anyone who thinks getting the much need six or seven points to secure Premier League status, is going to be easy? We are now part of a dog fight to stay up. The fire-storm surrounding the proposed move from Upton Park to the Olympic Stadium is obscuring the real problems; the lack of bona fide talent on this squad, and the pass that both Sam Allardyce and the board of directors are receiving.
West Ham spent £10 million on Jarvis, Chelsea spent £10 million on Ba – I know who I’d rather have. Cahill and Azpilicueta also cost £10m – again I know who I’d rather have. During the game, I was reminded of how “we” were once known for producing the midfield general type player; today’s squad boasts the likes of Collison, Noble and Diame. A pitiful joke when compared to Brooking, Devonshire, Parker and even a young Joe Cole.
The Premier League is now a cash cow. Domestic TV rights revenue over the next three years will exceed £5 billion, and that doesn’t include all the other deals throughout the world. No wonder clubs want to stay up, especially this year. Any team relegated next year will receive £60 million over four years as compensation for missing out on the cash cow! Obviously, staying up in 2014 is of the utmost importance with the rewards being astronomical.
The bottom line for West Ham is survival and moving to the Olympic stadium should provide the club with much needed funds to improve the squad, and improving the squad must be a priority. This club must adopt the mindset of wanting to become a major player in the Premier League.
If Gold and his regime are planning on replenishing their own “coffers”, then we are doomed to remain mediocre. Doomed to play a style of football that only attracts marginal talent and doomed to bounce up and down between the Premier League and the Championship. The fans of West Ham United Football Club deserve better. Much better.