David Sullivan’s and David Gold’s eight-year anniversary went largely unnoticed towards the end of January but it was the evening of January 18, 2010 that Sullivan and Gold announced their take over of the club they say they love.
‘We have a seven-year plan to get them into the Champions League and turn them into a big club and over the seven-year period we do plan to spend a lot of money,’ Sullivan said at the initial press conference before adding: ‘The short-term plan is all about survival and getting behind the team.’
It was May before they published the infamous 10 point plan. Eight years on from that I see how well they have done on their ten point plan.
1. Appoint the right manager Grant was absolutely the wrong manager! Allardyce was boring and arrogant, Bilic was too nice and got found out and now admits he should have quit after two seasons. The jury is out on Moyes.
2. Sign new players Average net spend of £20m per year is not enough. Negative net spend of £1m in 2017/2018 season and £80m net spend over four years is not enough to reach the next promised level – whatever that is.
3. More investment in the Academy Pensioned off Tony Carr and brought in Terry Wesley and invested £9m in Rush Green. Declan Rice could be the first success in years but we need to invest more in the Academy facilities. We don’t compete with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal or Spurs when it comes to the Academy.
4. Continue to clear the debt External bank debt was cleared when we moved to the London Stadium but has mainly between replaced by internal debt. The owners have loaned the club £52.5m. Interest has been accruing at between six to seven per cent and has now reached over £13m. £4.2m was paid back to the owners in 2016 and they later reduced the interest to 4 per cent. The owners have not injected any capital into West Ham since 2014.
5. Freeze season ticket prices for renewals Mostly frozen! I will give them this one. I was paying £600 around the time of takeover in 2010 for my band 4 ticket and it is still £600 now for a Band 3 seat in the London Stadium. Season tickets have been frozen again for 2018/2019 so they’ve delivered on this one without argument.
6. Build the status and image of the club Massive epic fail! We are a laughing stock in the media and to other fans around the country. One calamity after another! Need I explain?
7. Make it enjoyable to come and watch Maybe the first season under Slaven Bilic only. The Allardyce years were mostly uneventful despite a day at Wembley and a few wins against Spurs. The rest has been painful and often going to watch West Ham has felt like a bit of a chore.
8. Get closer to the community So they have done great things for the community through the West Ham Foundation and I applaud them for that, but the Newham free tickets are often given out to locals who support Man City! What’s wrong with West Ham?
9. Go for the Olympic Stadium Slam dunk for that one but you have to ask at what cost? We all knew it would take time to feel like home but it is one PR disaster after another on top of taxpayer subsidy. The issue continues to split the fans and some may never accept it as home. All water under the bridge and we need to work together to make it the best we can is my personal view as we can’t return to Upton Park.
10. Listen to supporters Stage-managed Supporters Advisory Board (SAB) meetings and bloggers meetings plus other special interest groups. Now West Ham Groups United are on the scene. Maybe they listen to fans too much. Some would argue that a lot of feedback falls on deaf ears and they do what they want to do. Maybe there are too many voices. Perhaps they should adopt the Arsenal model where the board keep quiet but do what they like without consulting fans. At least this way fans would know where they stand in the pecking order.
Overall score 4/10. Could do much better!