The Gherkin and the pickled pepper! Published 28/03/18 on Hammers Chat
Everyone would be told to raise heads, focus gaze to the West and look upon phallic ambitions, but the dream has been mired by somber displays and attacks on sobriety. For whatever reasons fans may choose to justify their emotions at this time, the reality that stares right back at us is that next season could be played in the tough and turbulent Championship…but would that be such a disaster?
“In a cool solitude of trees, Where leaves and birds a music spin, Mind that was weary is at ease, New rhythms in the soul begin.” – William Khan Seymour
In terms of financial stability, West Ham would fare much better than other teams, certainly in the short term, as the owners have negotiated a 99yr lease of the London Stadium for £2.5million per annum which would be rather less than operating their own stadium…so in that regard the owners and the club have been very successful in protecting the stability of the club…if only for the short term.
Of course much of the financial model of the club and the business plan for the future would rely on a stadium filled to capacity for every home game and the riches received from television revenues. This would drastically be reduced if relegated, so the long term impact could be catastrophic not only in financial terms but also in squad capability.
The Championship, whilst populated by those of more physical intent, is not the long ball, grab and bash league that many would assume. In fact much of the football played is of a great standard that would measure up to many of the Premier League teams, especially in the bottom half…so possibly West Ham are already at the Championship level and that is where the players should ply their trade.
Of course nobody wants to acknowledge that and any musings should be considered as heresy, however the realities of the lower half of the Premier League and the top half of the Championship are that they are a lot closer than many might credit. So where does this leave West Ham and the existing players within the squad?
Regardless of what awaits the club when the last game of the season is played, most would agree that the squad requires a nuts and bolts overhaul…many players should be sold and more players with a physical presence need to be brought in to complement those talented and creative players already in the ranks.
If the Championship be the fate of the club then one would expect a fire sale of the great and the good. The likes of Hernandez, Lanzini, Arnautovic would likely be offered up for sale, whilst Kouyate, Masuaku and Antonio may not even have the capability to match their Championship counterparts.
Many have already speculated that Hugill was purchased for this very reason, however that might be a disservice and a slight on his potential. Of course, Moyes has not seen fit to utilise his abilities to any great effect as yet, although I have been impressed with his bullish presence and his performance in the Dagenham and Redbridge game was enough to be considered to feature in the game at Southampton too.
If the fans could separate their feelings for the owners and the plight of the club, then there indeed might be fortunes found in the lower tier, but not what many would originally hope for. Regardless of the mistruths, or lies…if you prefer, and failed ambitions or mismanagement…if you wish, then it would be fair to say that there is a dark cloud over the club right now and it requires a warts and all evaluation with a mass clearcut of dead wood. The squad needs to be dissected and in many ways the club needs to flick the kill switch, reboot and start again.
Of course, nobody in their right mind would wish to be relegated, under any circumstances it would be bad financially, terrible for stadium atmosphere and retarding to bolster squad depth and quality, however if a winning momentum could be gained and a promotion were possible, then this would act to galvanise the club and the fanbase too. Winning has the ability to heal much that ails a football club and it would raise the roof of feelings and appetites within the fanbase too.
However, any drop would demand a greater commitment from the owners to invest in the club and the squad. It would take an ambitious and forward thinking manager to drive the team forwards and upwards…and it would take the type of player who could hold their own in the ultra competitive collegiate of the comparable. There would be no guarantees that an immediate bounce back would be possible, but given the right amount of support from both owners and fans…the club could rise from the ashes once more…as it has in years gone by.
Can it be done? Yes, however the club would sit on precarious stoop as many other clubs have fallen and in turn fallen further again. Remember…Coventry City, Luton Town or even Bristol City? These were teams in the 70’s that were considered with the top teams in the land…but times were not kind for many of those high flyers from yesteryear. So there is always a potential for any team to suffer in the lower leagues and not return for many years.
However, that being said…the focus must be on staying in the Premier League…for all of its riches and appeal…and for West Ham’s ability to attract the top players…at least the best players that it could conceivably attract. If the Championship awaits, then the focus of the owners and the club as a whole must be to return within one season, otherwise this dark cloud above the club now will transform into the perfect storm that might blow all houses down. The fans were told to look West…toward the gherkin but in the end they might be stuck with the pickled pepper!