Why West Ham Can’t Compete Under the Current System

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West Ham fans, along with countless supporters of clubs outside the Premier League‘s “Big Six,” are tired of a system that seems rigged from the start. The “Big Six” moniker, a media darling, has solidified a perception of an untouchable elite, leaving ambitious clubs like West Ham perpetually stuck in the “Other 14” category.

Recent top-half finishes were a testament to the Hammers’ fight. They, along with Brighton and Wolves, dared to dream of crashing the top table. But their ambition is clipped by a system designed, ironically, to foster financial responsibility – the Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

On the surface, PSR sounds fair. It prevents reckless spending and financial meltdowns. But scratch beneath the surface, and you see a system that stifles competition.

Imagine this: You’re a finalist in Master Chef. The rules say everyone gets the same amount of base ingredients (turnover), but some mysterious forces (amortisation and wages) gobble up a big chunk of your portion even before you start cooking. How are you supposed to compete with someone who has a massive pantry to begin with, and whose portion remains largely untouched? That’s the reality for West Ham under PSR.

The recent denial of seeking new investment by West Ham is even more baffling. It’s like saying, “We’re hungry, but even if someone offers us a feast, we can’t eat it!” The truth is, under PSR, that feast wouldn’t significantly improve their game anyway.

Aston Villa owner Nassef Sawiris gets it. He’s calling out the PSR for what it is: anti-competitive. It prioritises financial acrobatics over sporting success. It rewards the established elite while punishing ambition.

West Ham’s situation is a microcosm of a larger problem. The dream of a competitive Premier League, where any team can rise to the challenge, feels increasingly distant under the current system. It’s time to revisit PSR and rewrite the rules for a fairer game, one where passion, hard work, and strategic investment can truly level the playing field.

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  • Phil McDonald says:

    Getting rid of points deductions in favour of fines for breaking the rules makes the situation even worse. Teams with the biggest pockets will just treat the fines as a ‘cost of doing business’ and ignore the rules.

  • Dave says:

    These rules follow the UEFA rules, which were funnily enough brokered by other European leagues to try to put a halt to the premier league, now the fools at the premier league are using them to kill their own league.
    Sullivan will be loving them, an excuse (if ever one was needed) not to invest any more than what is generated. Perfect.
    What UEFA didn’t see coming was the Saudi bottomless pit, which will in time outspend everything.
    The premier league has voted for its own demise…

  • PaulB says:

    Dave, I’m glad I’m not the only one that sees it this way. ‘Listening’ to Social media was beginning to think I was the only one that could see the blatantly obvious 👏

  • Neil Abrey says:

    If you are going to make an argument against PSR, make it clearly and concisely, not with unsuitable cooking competition analogies.

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