The Irons board issue: be careful what you wish for!

Gold sullivan BradyBy Sean Whetstone

The West Ham board has come in for criticism for a poor season after the move to the London Stadium.

The recent LS survey showed that  32 percent thought the board were doing a Good or Excellent job, 40 percent thoughts their efforts were average while 28 percent thought they are doing a poor job.

Recent polls on the three main directors of West Ham show a vote of confidence for David Gold but less fan support for Karren Brady and David Sullivan.

In polls of over 2,000 people for each director by West Ham twitter account @WHUFC_News on 26th March the twitter polls show support for Gold, indifference for Sullivan and a dislike of Brady.

O Seventy three percent of fans want David Gold to stay at the club with the remaining 27% wanting him out. (2,292 votes cast)

O Forty five percent of fans want David Sullivan to stay at the club with the remaining 55% wanting him out (2,206 votes cast)

O Twenty seven percent of fans want Karren Brady to stay at the club with the remaining 73% wanting her out (2,157 votes cast)

David Gold recently said he would leave West Ham if 86% of fans did not want him but in reality what are the alternatives?

icelandGold and Sullivan took over from the bankrupt Icelandic consortium which left the Hammers in a financial ruin.

Remenber and speak out the names of Terry Brown and Cearns family before that and you recall a club which was not well run.

When Gold and Sullivan took over in 2010, there were two other serious bids – an American-backed financial consortium led by financial company Intermarket and the so-called West Ham self-styled fan Tony Fernandes.

He instead went to  QPR and completely ruined it.

The Canary Wharf-based Intermarket FX bid was largely based on a business case of borrowing over a brownhundred million or more from the International money markets. The take-over effort was led by their then CEO Jim Bowe who died during negotiations.

The bid had all the hallmarks of the Glazer family deal at Manchester United. The Red Devils may have the highest turnover in the world but they also have the largest net debt which now stands at £465m. Enough said!

The Intermarket bid was rejected by the Icelandic’s credit committee as they were are unable to show proof of funds. The Guardian later dismissed the bid as a publicity stunt to gain Intermarket free PR. Intermarket were later linked with a take-over of Notts County and Portsmouth but nothing became of those bids either. They went into administration in November 2010 owing £234,000 to their creditors but not before saying they wanted to bid to buy the Olympic Stadium.

The only other credible bid was Tony Fernandes but his record at QPR speaks for itself. The Telegraph named it as the second worst run club in the country after Blackpool.

FernandesThe Telegraph said: “It isn’t just the scale of QPR’s recent financial losses – £135m in the last two years – but the sensationally careless way they have wasted that money.

In 2013/14, when they successfully bounced back from the Championship, their wage bill was double their turnover and more than twice as much as fellow promotion-winners Leicester City. A hapless season in the Premier League in 2014/15 was punctuated by increasingly desperate rallying cries from chairman Tony Fernandes and QPR’s debt now stands at almost £200m.

Furthermore, they face a Football League fine of around £40m for contravening FFP regulations – although the club have mounted a legal challenge against a potentially critical blow to their hopes of yo-yo-ing back to the top flight. No matter how you look at the numbers, QPR’s dubious strategy in the transfer market is coming home to roost.”

FIFA2-300077Would we have been better with the now bankrupt finance company loaned up to hilt in massive debt or Tony Fernandes? Ermmm NO in a word.

Next question: Is there  a queue of investors waiting to invest or buy West Ham since 2010. Ermmmm sorry NO again.

The board publicly asked for rich investors to come forward to share their financial risk but only Terry Brown and the Harris family came forward with around £4m for 3.8% of the club and nothing since then.

Redbull2There have been rumours of a one billion pound takeover by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA)  which won the 2022 World Cup under now questionable circumstances.

Additionally, there emerged a fake news Red Bull bid at £650m. Red Bull came out publicly and made a statement that any interest was completely untrue with interest focused on a Premier League side – not just West Ham.

Gold and Sullivan have consistently said the club is not for sale and they want to pass it down to their children.

West Ham’s official site said last year: “We did have a tentative approach to buy the club for £650m from external investors in August this year but I want to reiterate that we, the current owners, have no desire to sell the club unless it is to somebody like the King of Saudi Arabia who can take it to a level we cannot ourselves hope to reach.”

As David Gold recently said be careful what you wish for!


About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

31 comments on “The Irons board issue: be careful what you wish for!

  1. I have to agree.We are mid table during a really difficult season on and off the pitch.Surely wait till this Summer and see what intentions the owners show in the transfer market to move us onwards and upwards.

  2. As usual I am totally in favor of all 3 of them, as they did without any doubt save us from extinction. People that critisize them unduley need to enter the real world.
    All this disappointment that we are not yet a top 4 club, even though we have had a new stadium for all of 6 months, is hideous. There is a real world you know. Or perhaps you don’t.
    I have never thought we would take on the world just because we swapped stadiums, but this just gives us the foudation to start improving. It was always going to take at least 5 years to develop the squad and the club on to the next level, so why is everyone crying. The answer is that we are not winning.
    That is of course worth critisizing, but even that can’t be lumped onto one person or another. It is hsared responsibility. Of course Bilic supporters blame it all on the board or the scouting team. Bilic haters will blame al of it on him. All of them are to blame for the deals of last summer, and that is where the present problems are rooted. One bad summer after 2 excellent summers, Now we need a goos summer to fix it.

  3. I think the board have done a good job regarding the clubs finances the only criticism I have is the way players are bought I think it may be a case of too many cooks Bilic must be kept informed & asked for his opinion but not have a veto after all most if not all of his choices have been very poor. Also the manager does not give the youngsters a chance we are constantly told he Is one for the future but this is now his second season & we have not seen many youth team players given a chance.

  4. Like the others and Hugh’s article, I understand what they have done for us and know that they want to be successful, I think even if it takes 10 years they will keep us edging closer. As I have said many times I think we have the strength in depth in most positions (not striker, left wing or right back) to compete at the top end of the table, we just need a change in focus to address they way we play without the ball.

  5. For some the grass is always greener on the other side.Its so funny reading the quotes from our fans who always refer to their time at Birminghm and how they were driven out.
    Who did the grass is always greener fans of Birmingham end up with Carson Yeung.Now he really took them on to the next level didnt he.

    I can see it now,a new owner comes in from abroad promising the earth then a year later all the moaners will be speaking about how although this board were a pain at least they were British and had some connection to the club.

  6. You have put forward a very convincing case Sean. You are preaching to the converted in my case. I have said several times on here that I don’t even want the owners to sell to a multi billionaire Middle East investor. I want us to retain some of our identity & an owner withDG’s links to the club is fine by me. I am also fine with DS & KB. They may not have a Hammer history but they show every sign of respecting the club’s heritage & of working bloody hard for its success.

    I am no financial expert but so far as I can tell the finances have improved & should improve further. I also think men with their wealth can get us to a reasonable level if everybody remains realistic. Which to me means no CL in the short or even medium term, but perhaps the odd trophy & PL stability.
    I remain unconvinced about the manager, but I accept a) he was not their first choice & b) a majority of my fellow fans love him.

    Be careful what you wish for indeed. Perhaps that needs to be in big letters on the Stadium somewhere!

  7. Are you paid to do the clubs PR mate? You are missing the point.

    Its not about whether the Dave’s were better than the alternatives at the time of our near bankruptcy 7 YEARS AGO. Yes they were and I thank them for that.

    Its about whether they can take us any further forward NOW.

    Also this line worries me:

    ‘Gold and Sullivan have consistently said the club is not for sale and they want to pass it down to their children.’

    No they didn’t, that’s a lie.
    At first they always said they would sell the club IF they thought any new owners could take us further than they could, and were in the best interests of the club. Now they saying they want to give it to their kids?! How is this Nepotism in the best interests of the club? How are their children best qualified to run?

    • Chedylan ive accumalated a few material things in my lifetime, a house, some nice watches, and stuff like that and guess what, when I pop my clogs I’ll leave them to whoever I want to, probably my kids, if that’s ok with you. How is it that you think you are qualified to tell the David’s who to leave their belongings to? Golds 2 girls, who attends all matches, are well qualified to run the club and I expect Sullivans 2 boys won’t be far behind in 10 years I don’t suppose. Hey and just imagine Ms Brady will probably assume the Daiel Levy role lmao. Sleep well :))))

    • Chedylan you are right about what they or at least DS said who really is the owner, the days of the Middle East Sheikh’s taking over and buying success is to an extent gone unless they can obtain spurious sponsorship deals to justify paying excessive wages FFP means a cap on what teams can spend, making it into the elite is a tough ask unless you hit the jackpot with your academy and have a conveyor belt of world class talent coming through. Imho its best to start a long term project with the right manager and coaches that will deliver success over a long period, for me the question is not about the owners, we have the owners that will stick by people as they are doing by Slav during this tough season and as they did with Sam when he hit some rocky ground, they even did it with Zola and unfortunately Avram. If we have the right manager and coaches we can go forward and challenge but it is unlikely to be overnight.

  8. this debate always makes me laugh, ‘sack the board’, ‘Sullivan out’ etc, erm they own the club if they do go it will on their timetable. West Ham fans are never happy with the owners, I remember the pitch invasions about the Bond scheme, I happen to think this lot have done ok.

  9. A really good article, that puts the important points into prospective.
    I really don’t understand the people that slag off the board no matter what. You do get the feeling that what ever they do, they will get criticised. They seized an opportunity to benefit the club and move forward, for which they should be commended. If they hadn’t they would have been accused of lacking ambition. The fact that they have seized a unbelievable opportunity they are accused of turning their back on tradition.
    I do get the feeling that those that slag off the board the most, have probably done sod all with their own lives. You cant do anything but admire both the David’s for what they have achieved in their lives and for taking the team that they support onto another level.
    The results of their efforts may take a year or two to come through but it will be a giant step forward. Just take a look at Chelsea, Spurs and Everton. All three are developing new grounds in excess of 60,000. We would have been left behind. Instead the two David’s have got West Ham United there first. I for one salute them.

    • But you miss the point Eug, according to lots of views of Hammers fans on here and other sites they don’t mind being left behind, because being an Iron isn’t about winning or to have any ambition, seems it’s ok to flirt with relegation every season, turn up, have a few pints and a good old East End sing song and go home. Utter rubbish of course but I read it often,

  10. No Chedylan, sadly I am not paid to say I think the owners are doing ok but you can put in a word for me if you like!

    Your memory may well be better than mine, but I don’t see any lie in their statements. Depends how you take it I guess. I thought they said they would welcome investment- not the same as selling. They said in the early days that they were in it for the long haul but, as you quoted, they would look at a mega offer that would transform the club. I think that’s still their position.

    My point was that I don’t want a sell out that ‘transforms’ the club into Man C or Chelsea. I am perhaps unambitious but I want growth that is steady but not reckless. I THINK (but I don’t know exactly the scale of their wealth or the state of the club finances) that they can do that. So that’s what makes me happy with them as it stands. As I said, no special axe to grind.

    Ok Mr G & Mr S – Payment of my usual fee is now due please, in used notes if you don’t mind. Kerching!

  11. Cheques in the post from DS Sean?
    Perhaps the fan base wouldn’t have been so split on them if they weree not so underhand in the way they conduct themselves.
    The move, the badge change, the constant undermining of managers as evident at the moment, The transfer claims that in some cases don’t come off just make them look stupid.
    They bought the club are were probably the best people in the running, but that does not mean they can behave the way they do.
    Owners should be seen and not heard, they should not undermine the manager or spout off to the press/media washing dirty washing in public.
    I don’t want west ham owned by some foreign oligarch or Arab, i just want them to behave in a manner that befits how a great club should be run.
    until then i will continue to show them up to be the fools i think they are

    • Hey Nigel I was reading the WHUISA site earlier and each of the 650 members are asked to attempt to recruit one West Ham supporting non member to swell the membership to 1,200 plus. That’s a good idea. You can do me if you like? I’ll start;

      F*ck off I’m not interested.

      Now you go…


      • Its all a bit like the x2 STs isnt it.So they are trying the tactics used by the board 😂
        Ok im only joking before a get a Nige lecture 😁

        • True Rads. They have modelled in on Bradys idea. Brilliant!!

          • I toyed with the idea of joining because contrary to belief elsewhere i am certainly not pro this lot but when i thought it through i came to the conclusion that i really just aint that obsessed.Ok obsessed aint the right word but i cant think what word i want to use.That stems from being an illiterate rabid dog 😁😁

          • No interest Rads? Did you know that you have no “reply” button on your posts?

            Right gotta go almost the witching hour here and wifi appalling!!

      • not really respectful there John,
        Wont report you though, as like a true east ender,
        Im no grass

        • Lmao Nigel. Good on yer! Nor me, was very surprised to see my post made into an article lol. Certainly wasn’t aimed at you btw.

  12. You have become a bit of a spitting image character Nigel.The man who never stops moaning about the owners while most other fans just laugh their c**** off at his latest OCD outburst.
    I mean of course you have your followers but in the main you have become nothing more than a court jester to amuse when others are bored.

    • you may find, if you pop tour head out of this ivory tower, many many many fans now feel the way i do, in fact many feel even more against them than i do.
      If I’m wrong there wouldn’t have been any need for yesterdays Joint statement on here and WHTID.
      I’m more than happy to play the court jester role though.

      • Lol Nige & you do it well.I got so used to seeing the picture they used on here of you looking mean,moody and magnificent at a desk then it all pear when i unfortunately saw a shot of you in HHs new cap holding his shopping.
        From The Godfather to Noramn Wisdom in one hit 😂😂

        • I can’t believe the badge is still held up as an example of board unrest. Does anyone seriously still have a problem with the badge? It’s so much better than the previous one.

          • If im honest John i preferred the other one.But i dont really give a shyte about a badge if im honest.F*ck me i have better things to do in my life than worry about a bloody football badge 😁

  13. I do think that further investors are required for the club to progress to the next level ideally investing alongside the present owners? The two Daves are rich men but they are mid table financially compared with those investing in the top six clubs. Whilst the Daves remain in post there will always be sufficient money spent each season to keep us as exactly where their funding sits i.e.mid table. Provided the fans except this then fine but we will never progress into a top six club under the present set up.

    • What amazes me is they never got in investment 4 years ago when they touted for it. Now seems a less good proposition because the Daves have taken it from £100m to £400m or whatever. I’m sure there is still growth there but I wish I had invested my £10M in 2013.

  14. I remember them asking for other investors to join them as well John. I’d imagine that door has now been firmly slammed shut particularly as the Daves want to pass the club onto their children like a piece of family silver rather than our club.

  15. Unfortunately it’s only ever been “our club” in our own minds. They and their predecessors own and have always owned it.

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