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Was next level football just a pipe dream?


In 2017 I asked West Ham Joint-Chairman David Gold to define the next level of football promised at the London Stadium.

Speaking to me on Moore Than Just A Podcast he told me: “To me it is growth, to me, it is forever improving, we are going forward and the best and easy way to do that is to say where did we finish up in the league or did we win or how far did we get in the cup. What we mean by the next level is that we want to be challenging at the highest level, nobody knows where that is, it is a moving item, we want to do better, we want to challenge at the highest level. West Ham United has been the fourth largest football club in London and it has been like that since I was a boy, go back 50 years, I remember when we had a lengthy period in the fifties in the old second division, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, they were much bigger clubs than us, they were all in the so-called first division which is now the Premier League.”

In the recent London Stadium Survey, only 3% believe West Ham will become a regular top six club within the next five years as a result of the move to the London Stadium and 4% think West Ham will kick on to the next level and become a top-four team within ten years as a result of the move to the London Stadium.

In reality, we have gone backwards in terms of revenue and success on the pitch since the move.

In our last season at the Boleyn Ground, we finished seventh in the Premier League qualifying for the Europa League and were knocked out of the FA Cup quarter-final by Manchester United in a replay.

In our first season in London Stadium, we finished 11th in the Premier League and were dumped off 5-0 in the FA Cup third round at home to Manchester City.

We were dumped out of the Europa Playoff round to a part-time team called Astra Giurgiu

Last season was another backwards step finishing 13th place in the Premier League and was dumped out of the fourth round of the FA Cup by Wigan.

This season we have dropped down to 11th place after the defeat against Everton on Saturday and we were dumped out of the FA Cup fourth round by AFC Wimbledon.

When compared to our last season at the Boleyn Ground it doesn’t feel like the promised land of next level for West Ham at the London Stadium.

Revenue also reduced last season by over £8m from the previous season mostly because from a lower league position and  £2m less in ticket sales than our last season at the Boleyn Ground.

It all seems like a pipe dream now and perhaps should manage our expectations that that top six football place is out of reach.

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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 A Blogger on a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at,

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


  • Hammerkip says:

    I remember Sullivan saying in. 2015 that he wanted to be playing champions league football in 3\4 years ,they say they these things every few years and us mugs believe them ,it’s normally when they want something i.e the o.s move ,, I think we all thought we would be better of by now ,also were is all this money Brady promised to get us on board with the o.s ……as you say Hugh our last season at the Boleyn was good ,how I wish we were back there at least we knew who we were and didn’t have big expectations that they have given us now which havnt come to fruition and probably never Will..IMO

  • Clive says:

    we can call finishing 13th a backward step last season but people forget when Moyes took over from bilic we was in the relegation zone and looking like we were going to get relegated. So could have been a whole lot worse.

    • hammers64 says:

      It would be fair to say we have hit the glass ceiling and only a huge takeover will move the club further.We are at our limit now with a raft of high earners who need to be shifted this Summer.

  • nickh says:

    I think it should be clear to everyone as we approach ten years of ownership by Sullivan and Gold that they and Brady have taken us as far as they can. Brady’s only interest is in her personal brand, and Sullivan and Gold have achieved what they wanted in terms of relocating to the Olympic Stadium and building the value of their initial investment.

    On and off the pitch, the Club will not progress all the time they remain in charge!

    • Hammerkip says:

      I have to agree with you there nickh…this is as far as we go with these owners..don’t get me wrong they have steadied the ship for sure and sorted some good things but they won’t spend the money needed to push us on because for one they haven’t got it ,so we will stand still

  • NorthDevHammer says:

    It would be interesting to know how and where the top 6 clubs source their income and how it breaks down into money available for buying players. Is it mainly from being in European competition year after year in which case it’s a bit of a closed shop to the rest of the Premier league clubs. Man U aside, surely the top 6 clubs turnover from ticket and merchandise sales can’t be vastly superior to our club. Is it investment from the owners? If so then we really can’t compete with the wealth of the clubs above us and Sullivan, Gold and Brady really have taken us as far as they can and should be seeking new owners with access to far greater wealth. How does financial fair play apply? How can a small club like Fulham with 20,000 gates, a tiny fan base and low turnover compared with most clubs in the Premier league spend £100 million under FFP rules? Surely only once the answers to such fundamental questions as these are analysed will we understand the direction the club needs to go in to rise to the next level.

  • Innocuous Sparrow says:

    It was never going to happen without a quantum leap in the budget,

  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    Once the deal that means G &S can’t take all the profit from selling the club runs out it will be interesting to see what happens; I think they have done a solid job in general. Would rather have them than many others. If they continue to allow MP to shape the squad I think in another couple of seasons we will be in better shape. We are not ready for Europe, Dimitri Payet was the only reason we finished 7th and it was the last season at the Boleyn which added to the atmosphere so compare that with this is unfair. I blame the non MP signings for most of the problems.

  • Stephentheking says:

    Everyone saying the same thing. It’s always about money at West Ham not glory. Been following since 1960. We now need proper investor/business development owners to buy the ‘glory’ we want and deserve. COYI!!

  • Hammer64 says:

    The link in Sean’s post is very interesting-although the stats are for 2016/17. I am sure I remember Sullivan selling the line back in their early days here that revenues from a bigger stadium would pay for the class players who would move us to ‘the next level’. Those stats show that revenues haven’t changed much. And as the league position stats in the article above show, nor has our PL standing.

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