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So much dead wood – can we have a proper DOF please

Perhaps one of the greatest condemnations of the West Ham winter has passed under the radar.

Yes, the results have been awful, the League position is worse than unacceptable, the varying brands of football we have seen under Pellegrini and Moyes have been heavily criticised and the protests have grown and grown.

This time last year it was all a little different  but something went seriously wrong with player  recruitment under the Chilean and his mate Husillos.

At the time I recall a conversation with an agent who claimed that Pellegrini was nowhere near player signings at Manchester City and that Brian Marwood, as Football Administration Manager made all the major decisions.

At the time he predicted a disaster in the making as Pelle,  or his chosen director of football – an upside down decision if ever there was one – were not very good at player purchases or sales.

That’s  turned out to be so true sadly with the squad going backwards in the summer containing players for whom there was not a single offer or inquiry from anywhere.

The once much lauded Manu Lanzini is no longer an attraction to anyone, Declan Rice, could be gone in the summer if we drop but there was no winter interest, and the likes of Diop and Balbuena were not considered by other clubs.

There were others in the shape of Ajeti, Fornals even, Sanchez and Masuaku but there was no hint of interest from anywhere. Tells you everything.

Thankfully the biggest disaster of all Roberto was shipped out for now at least but the recruitment generally was a total disaster.

In the end we managed to bring in what looks like a fine midfielder in Toma Soucek and the exciting prospect of Jarrod Bowen.

But the dead wood in the squad is frightening and whatever happens this season ( I remain the eternal optimist) we are still looking AGAIN for a big clear out at the end if it.

This horribly awful approach to player recruitment has to end – can we have a PROPER Director of Football please.

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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

14 comments on “So much dead wood – can we have a proper DOF please

  1. I don’t see as much dead wood as you, Hugh. Last season Balbuena and Diop were shops partnership. Earlier this season Yarmolenko was playing well. Aside from Ajeti and a misfiring Lanzini I are we that full of dead wood? I’m not so sure…

    • Agree, also he wanted to sign Joao Felix, Gomez etc, the signings Ajeti, Roberto and Sanchez apart are all technically very good players which was his brief.

  2. Saul you not even mention Whilshere Sanchez and unfortunately Reid and Hugill and Roberto are still ours at the moment.
    No dead wood..really? ?

  3. Arguably, the “big money signings” are good players ,the only problem with some,like Haller and Fornals is that they are being played in an unfamilliar position or a duplicate of what we already had,imo.
    The real problem is and has been for a long time the cheap “squad fillers” and “back ups” are dreadful, with the very odd exception and begs the question – Why do we ,constantly, want to sign a “marquee” or “transfer record breaking” at the expense of the squad balance and depth?
    Mark Noble has been a great servant to the club, but,by his own admission, is on the wane – but weakness accepted, he is better than the alternatives!!
    It’s all about scouting more than ever and finding the next Kante or local youngsters before anyone else, not buying up old,injury ravaged “has beens” or skulking outside other PL Academy gates in a bid to attract their “cast offs” – Because it worked with Rice does not mean that’s all you have to do,imo.
    Two years ago, Sullivan trumpeted the massive new revamp in the way the club operates-
    ““I want to set something in, a procedure, a set up that will long term deliver better. Only the manager can sign players. Going forward, we are going to completely re-jig it.

    I am going to delegate the whole thing to a huge new analysis system and a new head of recruitment, massive video analysis department, increase the scouting, where every player will be looked at five or six times.

    “We we won’t be signing a player based on who the manager has never seen play.”
    That amounted to getting a good manager back from “early retirement” in China and letting him get on with sorting out a DOF and some scouts!!
    And,when the inevitable happens, here we are two years later back to square one!

  4. Balbuena is quite solid but a tad slower this season , but to his credit the games against Chelsea away Southampton away and Bournemouth home he was in the middle as Diop was banned for a couple of those games and the Hammers ran out winners of all three and all at 1nil 1nil and 4 nil respectively as you see NO goals were scored against us? And we held out to win all three? Diop’s concentration levels need to be stepped up? we can’t keep throwing away games from a leading position? And that quite simply is why we find ourselves in the bottom 3 more concentration is needed in defence especially in the last 15 minutes of a game?????

  5. Totally agree………. Deadwood galore!!!
    Pellegrini left us with so much rubbish that he effectively disabled this club. The players that he should have kept…. he sold, the players he should have ducked….he brought. He even extended the contract of Masuaku!!!
    This club needs a BLUEPRINT for the future, which has to include the supporter’s view of the West Ham way. A DOF is long overdue and his successor/shadowing person has to be included. Drawn up by The BEST and our very own Sir Trevor Brooking. What he doesn’t know about the game and this club isn’t worth knowing.
    This is an Opportunity for the owners to dig themselves out of a hole, get back onside and put a legacy in place for this club going forward.

  6. Deadwood…… Reid , , Noble , Sanchez,Roberto ,Snodgrass,,, Masuaku,Wilshire,Hugill. None of them good enough or coveted by other clubs above 2nd division .

  7. Peter, you forgot Yarmolenko, Ajeti and David Martin bless him.. so much dead wood in one club it’s almost unbelievable.

  8. I agree that Pelle’s legacy will be remembered as Roberto, Jack Wilshire, Sanchez and Perez, but sub-standard recruitment is nothing new – what did for Slav was probably his second season – Nordveidt, Zaza, Goklan Tore, Feghoulli, Arbeola, Masuaku, Andre Ayew- while Moyes bought Hugill. Let us hope that we survive relegation this season and then we can begin a slow and sensible rebuild

    • Sanchez is out of contract in the summer. Wilshere can’t help being injured. No-one can say he doesn’t want to play. 3 year contract was excessive but no-one could have predicted exactly what would happen. Reid has been trying to get a move abroad so looks to be on his way, likewise Roberto. Martin n is a good number 3, made a mistake which every keeper did but kept us in the game against Chelsea which we won. Masuaku has always been weak sours, deadwood for sure.

      I’m all for opinions on players but facts are important.

  9. Requests for a Director of Football have appeared in this blog repeatedly for months for anybody paying attention.

    The second problem is money. A minimum of £340 million of annual revenue (Deloitte study) is needed in a club to even start being competitive. More here:


  10. That would be nice wouldn’t it. The fact that the board just accepted pellegrinis man is just another example of being out of their depth at this level today.

    As for the deadwood its true and pointed our above the squad fillers have been far below par. Trouble is we have been carrying dead wood / injury ravaged players for years now and the snowball effect of not replacing where and when truely needed has caught us up. Despite a big outlay in 2018.
    Back to the proper dof point it is then, and the complete lack of a solid long term strategy.

  11. Che, I agree with you 100%. What I mean when I refer to dead wood are the players on our books that are not Premiership standard or able to play to that standard on a consistent basis. It’s easier to list the few that can: Fabianski, Rice, Anderson,, Antonio, Ogbonna. Others touch that level once in five game : Diop, Cresswell. Fredericks and Fornals.
    The rest , basically, forget.

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