Cottee: “We’ll survive BUT investment needed”




Here’s the good news: Tony Cottee has little doubt the Hammers will get out of their current problems.

Here’s the not so good news: the owners need to spend a small fortune on the club at grassroots level if we are ever going to move to the next level.

TC  – in a no punches pulled interview – told ClaretandHugh he believes once we get Andy Carroll up to speed and Winston Reid back, we’re a better team than most of the squads involved in the relegation battle.

But he snapped: “The excuses have to stop soon and the points have to be collected. February is absolutely crucial when we have Swansea, Norwich and Southampton at home and Aston Villa away – utterly crucial.

“If we can come out of those games with eight or nine points, as we should, I think we can get out of it because we have a better squad than the others around us.”

If he’s putting a brave face on things he’s doing particularly well because he does seriously sound convinced all will be well.

He said: “Already you can see that Andy is worrying defences. They back off him because in full flight he’s a scary proposition and he’s barely match fit at the moment.  As he gains more match fitness he’ll be fearsome.

“And in Winston we have one of the best defenders in the Premiership. He’s not far away and will make a huge difference when he returns. He’ll organise the back four and there will be a big difference.

“At the moment you have about eleven teams involved in the relegation battle and they are all much of a muchness but we will have our good little run – every team does and things will look a lot different.

“James Tomkins and Kevin Nolan are available again as well and although some would argue we haven’t been a great team all season,  I believe that can change as the battle hots up.

“I do genuinely believe that things will look up and we’ll get out of it – honestly!”

Long term however, TC believes there has to be big change at the club and that we need to re-organise at grass roots level.

He said: “We have a training ground we were using when Mooro and the lads were around. The only difference is that it has a few portakabins on it now.

“Look at this Lacina Traore situation: A player comes over from France takes a look and sees, for example, what’s available at Everton – where is he going to go…where would you go?  Everton!

“Having said all that it does look as though we have been witnessing the dark side of football doesn’t it.

Investment is needed at that level,  acadamy level and everywhere else. If we are going to stop our clubs constant yo-yoing between divisions we need to get the foundations of our club right.

“We are trying to put the roof on before the foundations are in place and that can’t happen. We have to push on in a logical and progressive manner. It’s the only way.”

Share this article

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


  • HammerWill says:

    TC is spot on regarding the training ground, its not a Premiership Training ground, they either need to develop the ground or move to a modern training facility which hopefully in turn help improve the clubs injury situation. Year in year out we seem to stumble from one crisis to another and have been left behind. Ok they are moving to a big stadium for matches but if we are not in the Premiership and are still training at a training ground from the 1960’s then the stadium would just end up being a white elephant. Investment is required to bring us in line with clubs of a similar size and also a restructuring policy is required, especially regarding recruitment of players. A footballing man on the board would be a start. Also the scouting whatever division we are in has to be looked at and improved. I know we still have debts in place from the mess the owners inherited however at some point we need to look forward in a positive proactive way. I don’t think we are in the mess a lot of people seem to think we are in but we do need to look at the basic fundamentals of what makes a club an attractive proposition to players and supporters alike. For me one of those has to be a playing style that I grew up watching and that’s a passing game with technical players of the ilk of Devonshire, Dickens, Brooking but with some grafters around them to compliment them. TC makes excellent points and hopefully the club can also see that things have to change.

  • Michael Miller says:

    TC does always seem to say the ‘bleeding obvious’ but I think he may be being a bit optimistic. I don’t see our squad being that much better than those around us – Winston Reid and James Tomkins or James Collins are a much better central defensive unit but now we’re struggling at full-back. Matt Taylor playing at right back on Saturday was absolutely ridiculous.

    Nolan’s return doesn’t fill me with hope – he’s been hopeless this year, he looks slow and unfit and has obviously missed Carroll but really has not justified his place.

    As far as the Training Ground is concerned I wonder what happened to the move to Rush Green? Wasn’t it the old Ford United ground or something like that – did that all come to nothing?

    It seems obvious there is something wrong with the Youth Development situation – Tony Carr always gets loads of praise about what he’s done over the years but nothing seems to be coming through at the moment. Maybe this comes from the top because BFS has never shown much interest in Youth Development.

    • Hugh5outhon1895 says:

      You may consider it obvious but sometimes the obvious needs stating and I haven’t heard anyone do so of late!

  • New606 says:

    TC does state the obvious, trouble is it’s sensible and not radical so people don’t listen, the mans a legend and should have better role at the club than ex match day greeter imo

  • GSDLADY says:

    Spot on-as always TC! The good thing is TC can say what many of us have been saying & thinking, but we don’t have the platform to reach ‘important ears’ as TC does! 😉
    We need a club we can be proud of again. We are VERY passionate about our club, but most of us know we need big changes to enable us to be proud of our time & future NOW-not in the past. I cannot be alone in wanting ‘The Academy’ to be THE youth centre for future England & West Ham players? Or want to be able to see West Ham play football in the way it should be, and in the way many of us remember watching!
    Maybe it’s time TC was brought a lot closer into the club so people start to take notice!

Comments are closed.