West Ham reaping winds of strategic error


Blind Hammer suspects Moyes is in a no win situation

West Ham’s current transfer struggles were telegraphed months ago. It was clear then that selling clubs would raise their prices in an attempt to share the Rice largesse.

The only way that West Ham could have achieved value would be if they had invested early, before the Rice sale. Alternatively they can wait until late in the window, when selling clubs may blink first.

West Ham wait on David Moyes for a decision on his future

West Ham took a cautious approach, not recruiting early. We are reaping the winds of this strategic error now.

Sullivan deserves huge credit for the negotiations around Rice but must reflect on the decision not to take an anticipatory approach. We should have nailed down at least one or two targets before the Rice deal.

To be fair, Sullivan was in a difficult position. If Arsenal had detected West Ham were investing Rice money early, this would have strengthened their negotiating hand.

Arsenal needed to have the insecurity that West Ham could have feasibly withdrawn from the Rice sale. Despite this, my belief is that Sullivan could have sanctioned one or two early recruits, hinting at a Kretinsky  investment or sale of alternative players to comply with FFP.

So West Ham are now desperately looking for value in the market with the season only days, not weeks away. This is complicated by an entirely predictable systemic impasse between the strategic aims of the financial perogatives of the club and manager.

The suggestion made here and in other posts is that there are magical low cost recruits from inferior leagues across Europe who will burst into the West Ham team and march them towards success. This is the Holy Grail of success with young players with resale value.

Pardon my scepticism but this was precisely the strategy which underlies last summer’s transfer strategy. Four of last summer’s recruits were signed from lower standard, inferior leagues. The fifth , Cornet was recruited from a relegated club. What is undeniable is that it has taken at least six months for the recruits from less competitive leagues to adjust to the levels required in the Premier League.

Certainly, value has at least in some players, been eventually achieved, but at the cost of a six month early season struggle of adjustment which launched us into a relegation fight.

The belief that our new Director of Football will instantly achieve this Holy Grail, magically identify lower cost recruits from inferior, less competitive leagues , who will explode into instant Premier League levels of performance is fanciful in the extreme.

This was precisely the approach Spurs took when they invested their Bale windfall, in 2013, only to find that six out of their seven foreign recruits failed, in some cases spectacularly so.

In this situation it is entirely understandable that Moyes is less than thrilled by the prospect of recruiting untried and untested lower cost foreign recruits as the basis for launching West Ham into the early months of the most competitive league in the world.

This quest for resale value in transfers was precisely the transfer strategy which underlies policy at Leeds, Southampton and Leicester and ended up with disastrous consequences.

I remember being amazed when some Hammer’s supporters, early last season, pointed to Leeds as a model of progressive transfer policy, in their identification of young promising talent.

I suspect that whatever happens Moyes will now carry the can.

If he does not succeed in defending his corner and we instead rely on recruits identified by our new Director, Tim Steidten, then he, and we, may truly need the footballing Gods to shine.

Any success will inevitably be heralded as the success wrought by Tim Steidten, whilst any struggles will, of course, be laid at the door of Moyes’ supposed coaching inadequacies.

The best we can hope for is probably a compromise, Moyes will get some proven PL standard squad reinforcement which protect West Ham from early season struggles, giving breathing room for new foreign recruits to bed in, and adjust, most probably in the Europa League.

David Griffith

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My Father, born in 1891 was brought up in the shadows of the Thames Ironworks Memorial Ground. I remember as a child jumping over the settee when Alan Sealy scored in our 1965 European Cup Winners triumph.

My first game was against Leicester in 1968, when Martin Peters scored what was adjudged by ITV’s Big Match as the Goal of the Season.

I became a season ticket holder in 1970.

I was registered blind in 1986 and thought my West Ham supporting days were over. However in 2010 I learnt about the fantastic support West Ham offer to Blind and other Disabled Supporters. I now use the Insightful Irons in-stadium commentary service and West Ham provide space for my Guide Dog Nyle.

I sit on the West Ham Disabled Supporters Board and the LLDC Built Environment Access Panel.

David Griffith aka Blind Hammer


  • johnham1 says:

    The best we can hope for is Moyes to leave, we all have had enough. He will continue to play 2 DMs when it is so obvious that Paqueta should be playing alongside just one DM. He will continue to play Soucek irrespective of how poor his performances are. There is a rumour too that there are up to 8 players who want to leave. Another story is supposedly he has rejected the chance to sign brennan johnson. I doubt that this is true but if it happens yo be true he should be sacked immediately.

  • Budgie says:

    David Griffith article is a breath of fresh air as it dispassionately sets out the dilemma facing the club. Most worthwhile transfers take place late in the window as its a game of chess with selling clubs. The ones we want and need they don’t want to sell as they are prime assets to their club plenty of those they want to get rid of!

  • Clive says:

    Breath of fresh air indeed. Excellent article presenting us with the unbridled facts of the situation we are facing. It really does look as if Moyes has been painted into a corner. Hamstringed and undermined, with only a year on his contract it looks like he is swimming against the tide. After bringing three years of success and European football to our club I wouldn’t blame Moyes now if he was to walk away. I think there are plenty of clubs that appreciate a manager like Moyes.

  • Hammer_Rite says:

    Don’t take this the wrong way Johnham but most of the time you do my head in.But on this occasion i have to agree with you.
    The reason Moyes was kept on was because of our cup success.
    As a season ticket holder i’m not looking forward to what i suspect will be a repeat of the dreadful football dished up last season.

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