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From squad to stadium the problems grow and grow


Two years of abject misery and we are three fateful games away from a season which could yet end in relegation!

I still don’t think it will come to that but am as deeply concerned as it’s possible to be regarding the summer ahead and our third year at the London Stadium beyond it.

It hurts to be entirely honest, to bare the  soul and admit it, but the truth is everything seems to be crumbling around us.

The squad is simply not good enough to survive another season in the Premier League and the only genuine PL players I see are Zaba, with probably on season left in him; Ogbonna (just), Lanzini (though even he has been sub standard and injury prone), Masuaku and Antonio (same) and of course Arnie.


Declan is rising fast but cannot be expected to play a full season at the tender age of 19.

For me the first thing this board has to do regardless of whether we stay up or go down is to ensure that David Moyes does not receive an automatic contract – he is not the man to lead us on as we saw today.

That is the most simple of a multitude of problems to solve. We have to find an alternative  and I understand there are some available and on a provisional list. It has to be done.

The squad is a serious worry where working on my assessment – and you will have your own – we need two new keepers; two central defenders; two new midfielders and a couple of strikers.

And that only brings us up to minimum strength. Throw a new manager into the summer mix who has to get these players in and mould them into a team in one pre-season and you are looking at a massive job.


The board will need to dig deeper than they ever have in their lives because if you go £20 million for two keepers £50 million for the defenders, same again for midfielders and same for strikers, you are looking at £170 million and that is working on pretty conservative figures for PL football 2018!

We might get £50 million in sales but we would still be around £60 million short on even the most humble of estimated costs!

Then there’s the cost of the new boss and backroom team. That we got Moyes on £15k a week plus a stay up bonus kinda speaks volumes.

Remember when all that has been spent we still have only the thinnest of squads, a couple of our normal injury issues even would create mega problems.


New owners? It’s not going to happen with those currently in charge making that abundantly clear and in any event, buyers these days tend to do so when the club is at a lower level and much easier to buy cheaply (see Wolves for example).


Should we stay up, this board – as far as I can see – need to make that sort of  investment. Otherwise I really don’t know what is going to happen to this great old club of ours.

Fan protests are one thing but 1,000 of them won’t solve these serious and growing problems which somehow has to be solved now.


West Ham is in a footballing hospital ward, not in critical or on life support condition but in need of some major surgery.

And beyond all that there’s also the stadium issue which heads into court this November after becoming a disgraceful political football since Mayor Khan put the robes over his shoulders.

God only knows where that political soap opera – which has become part of West Ham’s DNA  these last few years – will end  but one solution may be to remove a Tory Baroness as the sparring partner to a Labour Mayor.

It’s a mess and I see no answers in the short term so some very serious leadership and investment is needed from the top of this club or we have a recipe for disaster on our hands.

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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

18 comments on “From squad to stadium the problems grow and grow

  1. Certainly right that Moyes must go no matter what.Still think we will do enough to survive but the guy has publicly slated Rice,Lanzini and Carroll looks fed up.Add Hernandez and one or two others and its turning into a fractured dressing room.Limp over the line and rebuild with a new forward thinking progressive manager and a huge warchest.Well i can dream.

  2. I sympathise very much with you Hugh and you are not wrong in anything you are saying. I read a post somewhere today that a fan on his way to the match saw the team sheet and turned around and went back home again. That very fairly sums up Moyes ‘s cloth and the confidence we as fans have in him.

    Yes we need the right amount of financial support to bring in the right players but first and foremost, we need the right manager. Even if we did manage to get every player we needed on our wishlist, i think we would still be taken down by Moyes.

    The trouble is, i can only see the board listening to the fans if we have another shambolic display of the likes we saw at the stadium when we played Burnley. Fans running on the the pitch, surrounding the directors box and i for one certainly don’t want that again. No one does. It’ll only compound the problems we have already.

    Is there a sensible way to through to the board that we don’t want Moyes around next season? Can we convince them to look at another option such as Mancini, Rafa or Marco Silva?

    I think we will stay up this season but i fear the worst for next….

  3. Why you sympathising with Hugh? This goes does more u turns than a Tory Home Secretary. He was a very vocal Moyes champion. He proclaimed early on that he hoped Moyes would be here for a very long time.

    He’s continued to defend the owners throughout, peddling their propaganda instead of representing the actual feelings of fans.

    Don’t forget how they were championing Moyes here and in the general media before Bilic was even sacked. Every time radio or newspapers wanted a pro Moyes spin from “fans”, who did they always turn to for that?

    I said from day one that Moyes was the wrong choice. It’s only because the teams below are us are more woeful that we we won’t be relegated…nothing to do with Moyes…whose record for us is appalling. In fact, I don’t think we’re any better off than if we’d kept with Slav. The old beaten drum of better discipline under Moyes is questionable with Carroll’s behaviour. In fact, players are still being late for training…as per Arnies offer to start collecting the fines just a few weeks ago.

    I also said that when Moyes was appointed that if it didn’t work out then buck stopped with the board, there could be no hiding place. So it’s no surprise that the pro Moyes voices on here are going into reverse quicker than an Italian tank.

    This club will continue to be a shambles with our current owners. We will eventually be relegated under them. And then maybe other buyers will step in. Part of me thinks it’d actually be a quick hit of pain to be relegated this season and get it done, rather than go through a few more years of this pantomime of a club.

    The owners have used this blog as an unofficial club voice. So I suspect Hugh’s recent u-turn is actually the owners laying the groundwork for getting shot of Moyes. It follows the same pattern as when they were looking to get rid of Bilic.

    • Ok, you have had your say on sufficient occasions and I have no reason to defend myself because your assumption about my relationship with the board could not be more wrong and therefore a lie. I don’t know why you are here other than to scream at me and my point of view on things. Given you disagree and loathe my position so violently despite it being 100 pc wrong I have few alternatives or interest in bothering with you thus this is our final exchange. To compare my abilities and attitudes to Amber Rudd is the final straw given she and her mistress are responsible for one of the most immoral acts in history – you are too as far as this site is concerned. I am not here to serve as your verbal punchbag – goodbye! You have been here far too long.

  4. chances of spending 170m = 0

    even if they had it I imagine the FFP rules would prevent

    and even if they didn’t the wage bill ones almost certainly would

  5. Hugh – You do mean you will ignore Raystewartsrightpeg postings rather than blocking him from using the site don’t you? Yes his comment comparing you to Ms Rudd was OTT but blocking those whose views don’t mirror your own is a dangerous path and one you are big enough not to take.

    • Sorry Jimbo.I have been a local, provincial and national journo for over 50 years. To be called a propaganda merchant when I have spent four years often unpaid to bring news on this site for fans benefit is the worst abuse I could have thrown at me. He’s been at me for around two years and today with that and the Amber Rudd thing (me a lifelong Socialist) he crossed the line. I am neither big enough or want to be, to ignore that. He’s gone. Sorry to disappoint. He will no doubt return under some pseudonym or other.I have no problem whatsover with people disagreeing with me but I will not accept that level of abuse against my professionalism.

  6. The problems have most definitely grown , Hugh ; I couldn’t agree more on that score .
    I have always said we must give Moyes a chance although I am currently going through a kind of moment of indecision . This indecision is Bourne out of yesterday’s game where I saw some questionable decisions being made . Yes City are quality from top to bottom and any club in the Premiership would endorse that same opinion . We all have our thoughts on the issues and like to express them . ( I draw the line though at personal attacks by writers on here upon any other writer ) it would have been nice to see us put up more fight with say , the introduction of Carroll who would have surely given City a bit to think about . The own goals were unfortunate but that happens in games up and down the country every week .
    We still have three games to play and it’s never over untill the fat lady sings . On that premise I will continue to support Moyes up to the last minute . And as I and others have said on numerous occasions he must be given a chance to build a squad ( albeit a small one depending on investment ) and show us what he can do . We could still get relegated and then the Moyes issue will just go away , but if that doesn’t happen ( and please god it won’t ) he needs his chance . Now that I’ve said all that I have to admit my confidence in Moyes is dwindling somewhat . If we don’t come out with all guns blazing over the next three games we could be done for . ….. I know I am fence sitting , but hey , something needs to happen and right now . We need a change in ownership in reality but our price would have to be low and the only way that will happen is if we are a second tier club .
    Rather struggle in the Premiership than see that happen .

  7. Completely agree Hugh. We won’t get new owners so no point speculating about that. Moyes selections have been bizarre as have his substitutions and many times my spirits have sunk when the lineup has been announced. I think there may be unrest if Moyes I see offered a new contract – he may just keep us up but will be just the same next year. There has been no real progress under Moyes. Let’s hope Fulham don’t get promoted and we can snaffle Jokanovic – suspect he might not want to come to West Ham but we can dream. We need a manager with a plan who can do what Pochettino at Spurs. Squad revamp required all round as we appear to have a team of individuals plugged randomly into positions. It a shame that players like of Kouyate have really gone off the boil this year as he has played well in the past. Hopefully a fully fit and refreshed Antonio back to his best. And let’s see what some of the youngsters have to offer.

  8. As I was walking up a steep hill to work this morning I did some menatl calculations – it seems that in the last 11 games we have 9 point (W2, D3, L6) – which was Slav’s record before he was fired

    So Moyes has 3 games to keep us up and also to save his mangerial career (whether with us or with someone else) – what I mean by that is I can’t see Pardew getting many job offers in the summer.

    While much has been made of Hugill’s 22 minutes on the pitch, I am also surprised at the lack of action for Josh Cullen – perhaps he could bring energy and bite to the midfield – otherwise why did we recall him from his loan spell?

    We have to get something at Leicester – the worst case scenario is to go into the final Everton game with our status not secured and we go a goal down …


  9. Hugh- I have not been in total agreement with you on the manager issue in the last few weeks, but I think that is a pretty accurate, if rather chilling (in the old sense of the word), assessment. Agree on the playing side & what is needed but cannot see the owners being willing to plough in the amount needed. I am not sure they are able to anyway.

    Chances of new owners? I have no idea, but in the long run that is probably the only answer. After 60 years I am finding my loyalty to the club stretched to breaking point. Sorry to everybody to bring up the ground again – youngsters look away now ( old git alert!!!). I am a third generation Hammer & leaving UP has been more of a wrench than I thought it would be at the time. I cannot forget those promises made at the time to shut us up. What they should have done was plough in the money then to show their commitment-not base the policy of moving on the money that they assured us would come in later. To make things worse what now looks like a bad business decision has meant the money hasn’t even come in later. This is causing a massive mental block for me. I just can’t forgive or forget that I have been made a mug of by the owners.

    • 64: Your thoughts are always appreciated. I have no problem whatsoever with people disagreeing with me but I will not stand, after 50 years in this game as a journo, to be accused of spreading board propaganda and the like by such as the bloke I’ve binned today. I won’t take that level of abuse, nor would I expect anyone else to, and have kicked some out who have done it to others on here. WE can all change our minds. It’s allowed and Moyes – after a reasonably promising period down , is not the man for me but I’m not going start abusing the bloke. He just needs to go.

  10. Somebody was once ridiculed for changing his mind. His answer-‘Well sir, I look at the facts & if they have changed I change my mind. Tell me what you do..’ So I have never believed there is any shame in admitting you were wrong & changing your mind. Anybody who has lived to our advanced ages ( with all due respect to you!)& never changed their mind would have to be an almighty dingbat!

    I have to say that it looks as if the build up of poor results & performances is causing quite a few of us to think again about Moyes. I notice Kevin is wavering & so am I to be honest. But the last three games may provide the ‘facts’ for a final decision. Euroclubindex still predicting 38 for us, finishing above Saints 34, Huddersfield 36 & Swansea (can’t remember points). I think they are wrong but let’s hope not!! They obviously had us down for a defeat to City but expect a point at Leicester & three on the final day. Not sure how much those things take into account ‘spirit in the squad’ (how could they?) & I think that will do for us in the end as it has all season. Would you put money on a real fighting spirit showing if we go into that one needing a win?

  11. I too agree that Moyes has to go. He is a dinosaur in terms of modern management and if he is left in charge we will be dragged through the Stone Age. I’m not sure if the squad is poor or not but one thing I am pretty sure of is there are a fair few players who have not only not improved their ability over the last year or so, they have actually gone backwards. Kouyate, Antonio and Cresswell spring to mind. Shearer’s comments are spot on except for his refusal to place any blame on Moyes, that is ridiculous in my opinion, he is the manager and bears ultimate responsibility.
    The way we set up yesterday was depressing. It was a freebie, a chance to have a go at Ciity, within reason of course. It’s not often that I would say this but I actually wanted Carroll to start with Arnie and Lanzini in behind him. Once we were behind in the second half then Chicharito should have been brought in to play off Carroll. Mario was a wasted sub, he is poor.
    Overall I too feel that the next 3 weeks and the summer after could define our club for the next decade or so. If we survive, which will be based on having 3 teams actually worse than us rather than us being good enough to beat the drop, we need to say bye to Moyes and bring in a modern manager, preferably young and progressive, spend at least 100 million, revamp player recruitment and start bloddong some of this young talent.
    Hugh, do you ever get the opportunity to feedback to the club? They need to know that the tide has turned on Moyes. You would hope that they can see clearly for themselves that Moyes has run out of talent. A poor win percentage and hammering after hammering. Do we have faith in this board to see that and actually get the right man in? Time to take a risk in my opinion and get the right man in

    • Yeah I do mate and have just made my own feelings very well known. Both the owners read this site regularly according to people inside the club, have seen the various polls and this piece. They know where we stand at the moment – very unhappy. I agree with you. If he is on charge we are in trouble

  12. Big Sam may be available 🤔🤔
    Thinks…..glad none of them have got my address lol

  13. The worst football matches I watched were under BFS – I remember a victory at Cardiff where AC neatly put Nobes away to seal a 2-0 win – but watching the match was excrutiating

    However one thing I’ll say for BFS – he went in to SUnderland – January no messing ariound he bought Kerchoff as a defensive midfielder

    He went to Palace – he bought Sako (on loan) from Liverpool and Van Aarnholt

    Moyes – “the January window is very difficult to find players who make a difference” – Mario on loan and the 22 minute man

  14. Amazed that you think Ogbanna is only just good enough for the PL when he is improving and came from a CL finalist team in Juventus, even if only a sub for that final

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