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Cards on the table – the West Ham crisis!

By Hugh Southon

Ok let’s put it out there, clear the decks and put some cards on the table!

There is only one show in town at West Ham United right now – fury against the board and the march organised by the Real West Ham Fans Action Group on March 10.

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Let’s make it clear! In a democratic society the right to protest is a total and absolute right and  such an ethic should receive total support.

It is also absolutely correct that when people are frustrated and angry the need to make their voices heard is essential – that is fine. No issue whatsoever.

And without any question  the West Ham board of directors perhaps need to be shocked into some kind of action which hopefully will help them correct several issues which have inflamed opinion against them.

They could have defused the need for a march some while ago by taking various actions and that is another error of thinking which can be added to a growing list.

I spoke to a good friend last night on another site who is furious at the board like many others and I can’t disagree with a number of the complaints he mentioned.

But like many others I have spoken to, when I asked him what solution he wanted, he was confused which surprised me as I thought it was simply about getting the board out. End of story!

He explained that some humility and an apology from the club would go a long way with many, which frankly left me open mouthed with amazement as I think the fans anger goes much deeper than that.

I am speaking totally from a personal point of view in this blog as others around CandH hold different views and it would therefore be wrong to include them in anything written here.

Personally I believe the vast majority of fans want the board out and I understand their frustration and anger but there’s a massive problem inherent in that.

For even if it were possible for them to just go – which I don’t think it is given they are the owners – what would happen should they just up and walk away taking their money and that loaned to the club with them?

All I can see from that course of action is that we would very quickly become Portsmouth – a position we were heading towards under the Icelandics.

Where do I stand? What do I want to happen?.. several things!

1 For David Sullivan to step back immediately as de facto director of football and appoint an experienced football person to do the job.

2 For David Gold to remove himself from Twitter

3 For the board to remain silent publicly with members of their families -‘seen but not heard’ are the words that spring to mind unless and until a situation arises that demands a statement.

4 For apologies to be issued for past errors – premium telephone lines, overselling the stadium to the point of absurdity, the constant reminders we are going to the next level by buying players we clearly can’t afford etc.

5 For Karren Brady to be thanked for her efforts and handed a P45 after a series of humongous gaffes in her puerile Sun column along along with her requirement to hold any number of jobs which dilute any worth she may have to West Ham.

6 A specific apology before she leaves over the ridiculous promises made over the stadium.

7 I would not be opposed either to the club being put on the market to test the regularly stated belief there is no one out there to pay the  price which may be required.

This has been an easy blog to write. Personal positions are easily defined… answers are much harder to find but for the good of this great club, they must be.

The club comes before anything and anybody!



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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

22 comments on “Cards on the table – the West Ham crisis!

  1. Hugh, your list is mainly focused on getting the board to step back from the press and social media. Whilst this is absolutely right and is something that’s achieved at the vast majority of clubs, I suspect that most fans are annoyed because their expectations were raised (by the board) with the move to the London Stadium and then nothing happened: where’s the obvious shift in transfer policy? Where’s the increase in spend? Where’s the rise up the table? Where’s the challenge for the cups?

  2. Couldn’t agree more. I believe the David’s do want the best for the club but are making a real hash of it. For me this could be resolved by an apology, drawing a line in the sand, realistic commitments going forward and employing people who know how to run a football club rather than trying to do everything themselves.
    Unlike SuGo I don’t see Brady ever winning anyone over and even less chance of an apology from her. Would be glad to see the back of her but don;t see that happening any time soon.

  3. I’m in total agreement with you. I believe S&G are inherently well-meaning, and want to take West Ham to the next level. I recognise and respect their endeavours to rescue us from what was an assured future in the lower leagues. My best mate is a Charlton fan, and when I hear what’s happened to them, it makes me cautious what I wish for…

    They need to back away from the limelight, employ the right people and stay quiet. Karen isn’t interested anymore, so she needs to go.

    I have no problem with them staying on, and having ambitions, but they need help to realise them.

  4. O For David Gold to remove himself from Twitter
    O For the board to remain silent publicly with members of their families

    That isn’t going to happen because we live in a free society not North Korea. How on earth can you ask for those things yet fans post all kinds of insults, rumours, lies, death wishes and slander on social media?

  5. I’d add a point about increased spending on players. 14th over the last 4 years is woefully inadequate

    • According to the stats Bear we have the 7th highest wage bill, not saying this year that is the case but in previous years we have not shown a profit, therein lies the problem.. where exactly is all this money going is the increased salary meaning we can’t spend on the players ? I am only playing devils advocate I want us to spend more on players like the everyone else 😀

      • We also have the 7th/8th highest income in the league, which means that we should be able to afford the wage bill. In other words it’s a red herring.

        Whether we’ve got value for money is probably more important.

  6. Yes I fully agree that is a start Hugh, but it goes deeper with the two owners, their families and Brady.

  7. OK lets get this straight. When the owners took West Ham out of Upton Park a piece of West Ham died to me, changed from being a local club I personally loved to a brand that would appeal to the masses and a promised new improved West Ham to top the PL and to compensate the loss. Since then most promises and expectations have failed to materialise and we as fans are feeling hurt and cheated. To me, to want them to leave would be a mistake, not many clubs have genuine supporters as owners and I do believe they have the clubs best intentions at heart, what must change is, as you mentioned, is the persistent interference in the footballing matters. The thought of being stuck in the Championship with a world class stadium is terrifying the fans and will continue to do so season after season if we are down the wrong end of the table. Do we want revenge for the owners for putting us in this predicament or just an outlet to vent our frustrations. If the latter then an effective demonstration outside the stadium is a good idea, if a vicious ‘board out’ demonstration inside the stadium, this can only have a diverse effect on the club and most importantly, the players. To sum it up, unfortunately, we have to have faith in the owners to fulfill their promises, faith in the Manager to get us out of this mess and faith in the fans to get behind the team and players. KEEP THE FAITH X

  8. Spend next level money or get out ! The lies as you say basil are deep in our memory’s now ! They are failing the club ! No more chances for me ! Roll on 10 march , I personally don’t believe a word from these people !! Either spend next level money and make a statement but that’s not going to happen, if ever, in the summer ! Its in the balance and things are moving and if they don’t sort it out then their fair game !! Its clear they can’t change their spots hence the predicament !! They either think next level or face the inevitable hounding out which would mean a takeover ! 800 mill they reckon ?? That tells me its all about money in their coffers ! Shame they can’t spend that kind of money to make that quote realistic ! I would put a valuation at present on the club of 300 million tops ! There’s a buyer out there and until its put up we will never know ! It seems everything about the club is in some sort of remortgage
    Debt ! Cash flows etc ! It appears they have a beneficial hold on the outcome of the club , after 7 years were still in debt ! To the same amount I’m right in saying ?? Clever little hobbit !
    This whole charade was about accumulating money IMHO and they need to be made aware they will not get away with anymore bull shyte ! 10 march is the beginning what comes after is down to them 📥📤😕

  9. Long time reader first time poster on here. Hugh, was glad to read your post as have felt that the blog was too pro-board i was very close to giving up on it. We have experienced too many broken promises and our club over the last 2 years has lurched from one shambles to another, yet the blog in my opinion never has tackled the running of the club enough. For example recently was really happy to see the poll on the owners but then surprised/disappointing there was no follow when 70% of respondents want them to leave. Obviously this is your right as the site is based around personal opinion but i believe many feel like i do*
    I think the owners had originally good intentions and that they care about the club, but money is or has become more important to them, and they don’t have the financial clout or willingness* to compete. A clear example being that most other owners in the league do not receive interest on loans but ours receive healthy rates, i believe for many years it was 6% but recently has dropped this down. Sullivan’s overall strategy is stuck back in the 1980s or 1990s and if we are to progress we need a complete overhaul of club strategy. Announcing of bids after a window does not appease fans but rather infuriates them. Many fans know whats going on with social media and site likes this and DS still thinks he can mug us off time and again in this manner is insulting.
    If they want the me back on board: The talk of family legacy has to stop, the only legacy should be West Ham’s success. Have a proper MD/Director of football who is modern forward thinking and stop undermining managers with leaks to the press. Actually make some decent signings early in July and Karen Brady to be removed from her post. If not sell up and let someone else try to take West Ham forward. I would prefer not to become a Chelsea/ Man City mega club based around foreign money. I am loathed to say it but Spurs are quite possibly the best ran club in the league and would love it if we were run like them! Rant over sorry for its length could keep going and going though

    • The site is based on news treaders and as such we attempt to remain as neutral as possible. It is not a TRADITIONAL fan site – there are enough of those. Sometimes because of the intensity of an issue it is necessary to opine as I have done here. The board were also advised of the result of the poll – the rest of you saw it. WE do not write 2k to 3k pieces which would have been necessary to cover the running of the club. I hope there is sufficient detail here to form an opinion on how I feel.2k to 3k pieces lose me and I reckon many others so I won’t inflict them on followrs. This merely puts where I personally stand. WE all get your criticisms of the way the board members behave which is what places like ‘Leave a Comment’ are for.. So long as we stop short of insulting each other on here all views are allowable and thank you very much for yours.

      • Thanks for the explanation Hugh, – i was glad to read your opinion on this issue. Let’s hope the owners do take heed of the growing sentiment and that times will change

  10. It’s a tough one. I personally don’t want some billionaire owner using this club as some fancy new toy but at the same time things have to change. The 3 main board members need to start acting like people in charge of a premier league team. Giving interviews in papers criticizing your own players is beyond stupid. There was also the comments about bilic not being first choice for the job when at the time we were in the middle of the best season in our recent history, how does that help us!?
    Doing columns in national newspapers, criticizing how other clubs run causing them to refuse to do business with us, again how is that helpful.
    Fobbing us off with comments like we’ll we bid 25 million for a player isn’t going to wash as every fan knows there wasn’t a hope in hell that we would get him because other clubs seem to have common sense and don’t sell good players to relegation rivals. If you had 25 million to spend why didn’t you just buy the guy from Anderlecht instead of putting in a stupidly low offer on the last day that was never ever going to be accepted. Sorry but it just doesn’t make sense to me. How is this a way to run a big football club.
    I’m ranting now so to sum it up what I want from all of this is for our owners to finally start acting professionally and start trying to move this club forward like you said you would. STOP TALKING AND START ACTING.

  11. I think if the poll showed a 70 30 difference of opinion that is fairly accurate, there is something annoying about both DS and KB they are not people that come across well in the media yet they bluster along irregardless which may be the secret of their success. They talk and sell a good game but the table doesn’t lie and that is why we are still struggling, I actually believe that after signing Payet we had the platform, we were getting next level results, the board did not buy next level players though and it wasn’t helped by a diabolical training regime with the players running the show behind Uncle Slav and his mottley crew. It is all well and good saying that we should employ someone to take over as a CEO / MD but who ? If you want someone to run a successful business then you would probably go outside of football, then you have the football side, I think Moyes can get us to our genuine next level which is Europa League but he might need two or three seasons maybe even 4 seasons, we need continuity in coaching and a different approach to transfer dealings, philosophically the management team have to change. We have to invest like Everton did in a few very high quality players and also get our academy right, I might be wrong but am not as convinced as some are by Westley most of the best quality players we have bought in from other clubs academies, Samuelson, Declan Rice, Martinez, Holland etc I don’t disagree with that by the way it is good for our development but we should be creating more first team players like Southampton do for example, something has to change to enable that and the coaching should be of the highest possible quality. I have been around numerous clubs as well as independant academy training grounds and watched coaching and I haven’t been impressed by many british coaches, they are usually ex players for a start, jobs for the boys rather than people that are true coaches that can improve players, I also think that is why we have been so unsuccessful as a nation football wise. The best coaches I have seen mostly (not always) either had no significant history as a player or had to quit their careers early because of injury they are career coaches and are passionate about it, not like several I have seen hanging onto their careers because they have nothing else to do with their time. Anyway have gone well off topic with that, my philosophy is better the devil you know, they are not the best or not the worst directors we could have.

    • Good post 32 except you fall for the old crap stories when you say but who would buy our club from this disastrous bunch of clowns lies that are continually given out. Trust me there will be no shortage of offers and as a club and fan base being one of the best in UK and if winning things would also become one of the best in the world .They started peddling the first lie when still trying to do that by saying they saved our club from going under when six bids were being looked at by the banks involved after the unfortunate crash in Icelands banking system. Maybe they turned out the better one of the lot in the end but now like Birmingham supporters warned us it’s time to sell up as they obviously although very rich don’t want to buy quality players prices in the market even with the millions invested by sky’s obscene money into tv rights. Imo

      • Cheers, Razor, I think a lot of people would be interested Razor at £400m, the rouble is our chairmen don’t want that they value the club at £850m and no one in their right mind would pay that for us, they have demonstrated they aren’t willing to sustain putting significant funds in regulary for high quality aquisitions, to make it to next level we have to make marquee signings every season for a period to let up and coming players see us as a club that is upwardly mobile. On the flip side next level has never been more expensive, the Neymar transfer has changed the goal posts on that one hasn’t it. I still believe we are better off not jumping out of a frying pan into the fire just to get rid of the annoying little twit in charge. There are so many clubs in a much worse position than us and we could easilly follow suit.

  12. Hugh good post my son we old school have seen this time and again over the decades of following and spending thousands on our team all over the world. We have always had crap boards and bringing back Brown onto this crap board shows how yet another lot doesn’t get it. Thought cearns and Brown bad and this lot in modern times now show they must sell up asp. Take their profits and go. There will be with sensible buying offers accepted from this mob of liars no shortage believe me of buyers. As for Brady maybe clever on apprentice but way over her head here should stick to Tory practices that are totally anti working class. Until they sell up great opinion of getting in someone who understands about football club running it’s affairs and working with moyes to get in quality players that actually cost more than a four mill loan deal and getting deals done without embarrassing our club. Imo.

  13. just sell up will u u took us as far as u could so get out ans let someone else take us on

  14. ok lets get this out the way first ‘thank you for saving our club’
    Unfortunately you have, lied might be to strong, misled maybe… us supporters ever since. The first thing you said was you aim to take us into the OS. Then you put Grant in charge & promtly got us relegated. In came SA & we clawed ourselves back into the the PL. So well done there.
    We were then sold the biggest load of BS in the history of football.
    Lovely artist pictures of our fabulous new home
    World class stadium with no seats any further away than at wembley
    World class players
    Next level football.. CL in X many years

    You gave us..
    A vast souless bowl with some bolted on ‘Westhamification’ scattered around the stadium that needs to taken down each summer.
    Sightlines that are beyond a joke
    Players that aren’t fit to wear the shirt or even want to wear it.
    A new badge with ‘London’ on it…. why why why why??
    A new manager but not the one you wanted 1st choice or 2nd, 3rd or 4th & then told the media.
    As much as i enjoyed the last season at the BG, we finished 7TH & only qualified for europe because of other teams success. That went well didn’t it?
    Keep failing to sign any targets & then swear blind that you put in record breaking deals to sign so-&-so the day after deadline day. Why wait to the last minute when you have had a month & also sell the only strikers left at the club?
    What you do sign is players who are not PL standard (cheap) players past their best or others on stupid expensive loans.
    A director of the club printing garbage every week in the paper.

    Start delivering on your promises if you can or hold your hands up & tell us the truth.
    Just by telling us not to protest & get behind the team is taking the pi$$

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