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West Ham Podcast: No football day 30

Episode thirty-seven of season nine of the popular West Ham podcast Moore Than Just A Podcast is now available to listen online or download.  Join Claret and Hugh Associate editor Sean Whetstone with fellow presenters Nigel Kahn, John and George Bucci.

With no football games for 30 days, the podcast crew discuss a variety of West Ham news stories covered on Claret and Hugh for the past week including the recent rights issue and the massive cash flow hole in the club’s finances. We also cover the subject of fake transfer news in the current climate before answering questions from social media in this one-hour and five-minute episode.

Download or listen online at https://play.acast.com/s/moorethanjustapodcast/

The podcast was recorded on Monday evening of the 6th April. It is available on all popular platforms to listen online or download including Acast, TunedIn, Player.FM and ITunes

Now also on Spotify too at MOORETHANJUSTAPODCAST

Join the discussion on the MTJAP Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/moorethanjustapodcast/

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Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs

The old English saying is ‘Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden eggs‘  and it is one Premier League players should consider and let sink in. While PFA talk about the government missing out of £200m of tax revenue, the players have discussed whether the money from their potential wage reduction should go to the NHS, charitable aims or lower league football.  The harsh reality is that even the richest clubs including West Ham do not have the cash reserves to carry on playing those players forever while no income comes in.

This might not palatable to some but the assumption that mega-rich clubs and billionaire owners can weather the storm is not necessarily true.  Much of the wealth of Premier League football owners is in property and shares which have taken a massive tumble, and few of them have unlimited access to cash.

West Ham will have a rights issue in May to raise £30m from the existing shareholders but this will not cover the £60-£80m cash flow shortfall and more must be done to ensure the Hammers are financially sustainable in the current crisis.

Players need to remember that it was the Premier League that created the amazing wealth and power they and their families now enjoy and they shouldn’t be getting all pretentious on demanding where the player wage reductions should go.

The top-flight clubs need to survive this financial crisis to keep the players in the manner they have become accustomised to, it is as simple as that!

My understanding is the wage proposal is most likely a deferment of 30% of the player’s annual wages and unlikely to be a permanent reduction. If the season is completed in full with crowds they will get their wages refunded.  This standoff needs to end and they need to get behind the football clubs who believed in them by giving them a chance.

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FIFA issues guiding principles to football authorities

FIFA has confirmed that all international matches in June will be cancelled.

Meeting on Monday 6th April released a set of guiding principles to resolve legal issues arising through end of contracts, new contracts, impossibility to perform agreements and extension of season periods.

Fifa say considering that employment and transfer agreements are generally tied to the registration periods, but also that several leagues will most likely be completed after the original end date of the season, FIFA has proposed the following principles:

  1. Where an agreement is due to expire at the original end date of a season, such expiry be extended until the new end date of the season.
  2. Where an agreement is due to commence at the original start date of a new season, such commencement be delayed until the new start date of a new season.
  3. In the case of overlapping seasons and/or registration periods, and unless all parties agree otherwise, priority be given to the former club to complete its season with its original squad, in order to safeguard the integrity of a domestic league and Member Association competition.

Furthermore, as far as transfer agreements are concerned, FIFA has proposed that any payment that contractually falls due prior to the new commencement date of an agreement should be delayed until the new start date of a new season or its first registration period.

While acknowledging that these issues should find an answer under national law, FIFA has called on clubs, players and coaches to show goodwill “in order to guarantee some form of salary payment to players and coaches, avoid litigation, protect contractual stability, and ensure clubs do not go bankrupt”.

Based on the above, the following recommendations have been made:

I. Encouraging discussions between clubs and employees (clubs and players) to reach collective agreement on a club or league basis addressing at least the following questions:

  • Remuneration and other benefits: salary deferrals and/or limitations, protection mechanisms;
  • Government aid programmes;
  • Conditions during contract extensions.

FIFA suggests that the discussions are held within a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or similar structures.

Unilateral decisions to modify agreements that would not be made in accordance with national laws or CBAs will in principle not be recognised unless deemed reasonable by FIFA’s deciding-bodies, which will consider, among other things, the following elements:

  • the economic situation of the club;
  • the proportionality of any salary amendment;
  • the net income of the employee after any salary amendment;
  • whether the decision applies to the entire squad or only specific employees; and
  • whether the club in good faith has attempted to reach a mutual agreement with its employee(s).

Alternatively, FIFA recommends that all employment agreements be suspended during any suspension of competitions (i.e. suspension of football activities), provided proper insurance coverage is maintained, and adequate alternative income support arrangements can be found for employees during the period in question.

Considering that the current situation is an exceptional circumstance, FIFA proposes the following principles for the registration periods:

  1. Approval of all requests for an extension of the current season end-date;
  2. Approval of all requests to extend, amend or postpone the registration periods provided that the duration complies with the maximum limit of 16 weeks;
  3. Authorisation for a player whose contract has expired or has been terminated as a result of COVID-19 to be registered by an association outside a registration period, regardless of the date of expiry or termination.

On Loans  FIFA says  the entry into force of the amendments of the RSTP regarding loans of players set to come into force on 1 July 2020 is postponed until further notice.

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Joker Snoddy’s Big Yin ambition

By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings


Every team has a joker in the pack – a player who can be relied upon to have a smile on his face, and put a smile on other faces around him – even when the going gets tough.

At West Ham skipper Mark Noble is well known for his practical jokes and impish sense of humour. But there appears to be another comedian at the club – and possibly a frustrated one at that – in the shape of Robert Snodgrass.

Snoddy is always up for a bit of banter with his team mates  but had his football talents    not taken him on that particular lifestyle path  we might well have been watching him on our TV screens in a completely different role.

Asked recently what would he have been if he hadn’t been a footballer, Snoddy’s answer was: “I think I would probably have gone into stand-up.”

Comedy’s loss has certainly been our gain in recent times. Snodgrass has become one of the most respected and appreciated West Ham players over the past two seasons. Never giving less than 100% every time he’s taken the field of play.

His experience has become invaluable and his encouragement to others around him priceless, particularly when things haven’t been going as well as hoped. Even at 32 years of age Robert still has a big part to play at our club.

Not sure if fellow Scot Billy Connolly was any kind of inspiration for Snoddy’s comedic aspirations  but here are a few of ‘The Big Yin’s’ top gags, with a Scottish flavour just for good measure, to help cheer us up.

There are two seasons in Scotland……June and winter!

Scotland has the only football team in the world that does a lap of disgrace!

Bonnie Prince Charlie was the only man ever named after three sheepdogs!

Ally MacLeod (then Scotland football manager) thinks tactics are a new kind of mint!

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Liverpool in U-turn and apology to fans

Carragher critical of earlier decision

Liverpool have reversed their decision to place some non-playing staff on temporary leave and apologised to fans.

The BBC reports that on Saturday, the club said they were going to apply to the government’s taxpayer-funded job retention scheme, sparking a fierce backlash.

They reveal that in a letter to their fans, chief executive Peter Moore said: “We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week and are truly sorry for that.”

He added that the Reds have “opted to find alternative means” to pay staff.

Liverpool had become the fifth Premier League team to furlough non-playing staff with the season suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff affected were to receive 80% of their salary through the scheme and the club would make up the difference, despite making a profit of more than £40m last year.

The decision was criticised by former Liverpool players Jamie Carragher and Stan Collymore.

Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth and Norwich City had already announced they will furlough some non-playing staff.


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German clubs back in training as hope rises

Pep Guardiola lost his mother

Bayern Munich were among a number of Bundesliga clubs to return to training for the first time since the campaign was halted .

The champions trained in groups of five but without any contact, as did Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg.

Bottom side Paderborn worked in small groups and coach Steffen Baumgart said it was important for players to “get the ball on their feet again”.

Germany’s top flight has been suspended since 13 March until at least 30 April.

The news follow that from China where players have been told by Government they can start training again and sends a much needed breath of hope to not only football but the world at large.

In the cases of both countries we are seeing an easing of restrictions within or on the 12 weeks which has appeared to be the figure put on a return to some kind normality .

And the German news follows a report in the United K that the government and Premier League are looking at plans to get our game underway in June but behind closed doors assuming the rate of improvement doesn’t equal that in Europe.

Meanwhile there was sad news for Pep Guardiola who learned that his mother Dolors Sala Carrio, has died aged 82 in Barcelona after contracting the disease.

“Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends,” said Manchester City on social media.


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FA agree pay cuts

The Football Association will reduce pay by 30% for some of its highest earners, including England manager Gareth Southgate, as it battles to plug a £150million hole in its finances caused by the suspension of football.

The FA has not ruled out furloughing some staff amid what chief executive Mark Bullingham describes as “extraordinary and challenging times”.

Top earners at the English game’s governing body have committed to pay cuts of up to 30% whilst senior management will reduce their salaries by 15%. Anyone paid over £50,000 a year will also take a temporary reduction of 7.5%.

While we want to do whatever we can as an organisation to help the national effort, we’re also doing what we can to protect jobs within our organisation,” Bullingham said.

“As a not-for-profit governing body, we’re responsible for promoting and developing every level of the game. All of our profits are invested back into English football to support and grow the game for all. The less money we generate, the less flows back into the game. For example, we will generate less for community pitches or Wildcat centres across England. It’s that simple”


Six Irons who Moyes may sell

It became increasingly clear during the last few games before the break which players David Moyes trusts and those which may be appearing on his mental ‘out’ list.

And it was the squad which travelled to the Emirates when ill advisedly he and Mikel Arteta shared a hug he lived to regret and which was a contributing factor in the close down, which looks to be where’s at.

But even within that squad there were a couple of faces who may not be here long term when we finally get the green light to start the serious action again.

So here’s my list of those that maybe Moyes could be looking to shift out should – as I expect – we remain a Premier League club club next term.

DAVID Martin: It’s possible, given the financial pressure on the club – not that David is expensive – that the son of Alvin could be on his way.

RYAN Fredericks: Injury prone and hit and miss form levels have seen question marks emerge over him. Moyes likes to see him get forward as is the case with Masuaku but with Jeremy Ngakia and Ben Johnson emerging the former Fulham’s man days could be numbered.

FELIPE Anderson: The manager has barely looked in the Brazilian’s direction since Anfield having gone with a much more aggressive and punchy line up. He looks the type of luxury player who doesn’t always fit the manager’s mindset.

MANU Lanzini: Not the same player since he came back from that devastating World Cup training injury. The manager declared we needed him back to his best soon after arriving but he has now slipped down the pecking order big time. What sort of fee we would get however has to be questionable given all that.

ANDRIY Yarmolenko: The arrival of Jarrod Bowen has already pushed the Ukranian into back-up right sided midfielder given that the former Hull man was very much a Moyes signing. Injuries have disfigured his £18 million arrival and as the club’s second highest paid player Yarmo could very easily be on his way.

ALBIAN Ajeti: Completely out with the washing. Should there be a bid Moyes will undoubtedly bite some club’s hand off.


Nonsense transfer rumours

We are at a period of the year when transfer stories are rife as we usually approach the end of the season but the current situation has scuppered all that. That has not stopped some of our more inventive colleagues in the media float ridiculous stories involving West Ham.

Sky’s suggestion that we have a £40m transfer budget was nonsense, our transfer budget is non-existant as we worry more about how we will pay next month’s payroll than buy players over the summer.

Ridiculous also is the report from Italy since repeated by many of the British tabloids that West Ham have approached Alexis Sanchez ‘s agent with a  view to signing the Manchester United flop on loan this summer despite his £500,000 per wages. Utter tripe!

Same too the suggestion from Team Talk over the weekend that Issa Diop had told the club he wanted out.  Untrue say club insiders to that story saying there have been no discussions, no enquires or bids for the Frenchman.

The truth of the matter is, transfers are far from any football clubs mind at the moment, finishing the season while staying solvent is there number one priority for now.


Moyes and other senior management agree to pay cuts

Claret and Hugh have been told that all senior management on playing and non-playing side at West Ham have agreed to pay cuts in line with the players’ proposal tabled last Friday.

This is said to include manager David Moyes who is thought to earn £2m per year and Vice-Chairman Karren Brady on £1.13m who confirmed she is willing to take the same pay cuts as the players.

How far down the Hammers management chain this will go and who is classed as senior management is unclear at this moment of time.

The Hammers monthly payroll is over £10m and there were serious doubts over the ability to carry on paying this from May without the injection of £30m through a rights issue as revealed yesterday. The club faces a cash flow shortfall of up to £80m.

West Ham has decided not to furlough staff in the same way Spurs and others have told but as the weeks’ tick by without income pressure will mount on the Hammers bank balance.

The club hopes a compromise can be reached with the players and the PFA to defer wages until the season is finished but that is far from agreed.

West Ham is no different from other clubs and businesses and they simply don’t have massive cash reserves to bankroll the payroll for months while there is no income streams.