The words to our club anthem have never been so apt, when I look at what Big Sam and the rest of the West Ham United Board did during this off season.
Here’s a list of the players arriving at Upton Park for this season’s campaign: Andy Carroll. We paid £17.5 million for a striker who has yet to prove that he can stay healthy for longer than a month, never mind an entire season. Razvan Rat. A free transfer for the captain of the Romanian national team, who is 32 years of age. There is no doubt that he will bring plenty of experience to the Hammers defence, however at 5’ 8”, he will not be dominating at set pieces.
Adrian. A goalkeeper who comes from Real Betis on a free transfer. think he will challenge Jaaskelainen for the starting spot, even though Jaaskelainen finished last season strongly, he let in some awful goals. Danny Whitehead. We signed him from Conference North side Stockport County after he was recommended by Dietmar Hamann. I think Big Sam best summed this up, when he said “Danny is very slight, which we’ll work on, but the question is can we create that potential into a Premier League player?”
Everyone was very happy when Carroll signed, and it seemed to be a really positive sign that the club was willing to spend money. Unfortunately, since then the cheque book has remained firmly closed. Here are just some players that have moved in the last couple of months and the reported fee involved:
Clint Dempsey £6 million Steven Caulker £8 million Jordi £2.5 million Erik Pieters £3 million Dejan Lovren £8.5 million Etienne Capoue £9 million Carlos Tevez £12 million Iago Aspas for £7 million
Now, I did not expect West Ham to spend the £50+ million to secure all these players, but let’s be extravagant and spend £20 to £25 million. Now pick and choose until you reach that number, and let’s see how much better the squad would be.
I understand that signing multiple means that weekly wages need to be negotiated. So, how much did West Ham receive from the Premier League for the 2013/14 season? That would be £48,746,943, yes close to £49 million. This amount is reached by combining revenue for the following (rounded up):
Equal Share £14 million Facilities Fees £6 million Merit Payment £10 million Overseas TV £19 million
And that overseas money will only continue to rise and rise and rise. I know for a fact that NBC here in the States recently agreed to pay $250 million, starting this year until the end of the 2016 season, which is a revenue record for football! This much is certain, the money given to teams by the Premier League will only increase. Even if I ignore the £49 million elephant in the corner, why have West Ham not even considered any of these players, that all received a free transfer, and at least four will be playing in the Premier League this season:
Forward Roque Santa Cruz Defender Marc Muniesa Forward Nicolas Anelka Defender Kolo Toure Midfielder Andrey Ashavin Midfielder Florent Malouda
I’m sure that the company line would be: “well we’re not sure that they would fit into our style or team concept” – never mind that all of these players are better than what we are starting the season with. The goal should be to improve and to compete for a spot in Europe, yet I feel that with the squad as it stands on August 8th, we will be battling to stay in the 12 to 17 position range. Our lack of team speed was very evident last season, and we have done nothing to improve this. When I look at other Premier League teams who we will be battling and fighting for points along with us, I see this:
Swansea brought in 8 players, spent £23 million, Sunderland brought in 8 players, spent £18 million Fulham brought in 7 players, spent £7 million Newcastle brought in 1 player, spent £2 million Norwich brought in 8 players, spent £29 million Stoke brought in 2 players, spent £4 million Aston Villa brought in 6 players, spent £13 million
As a West Ham fan, I live with the realisation that we cannot ever hope to compete with Arsenal,and Chelsea, but now I have to watch Norwich, Swansea and Sunderland, spend more money than us. To me that is embarrassment.