The accountant and the ledger full of names! Published 13/04/18 on Hammers Chat
In any criminal activity there is always some clue that would enable the long arm of the law to close in and get their man. There is a paper trail that would lead all the way to the perpetrators…but in the big criminal empires there is an elaborate system devised to keep the paper trial cold and to fend off inquisitive minds. However even within such a system, there is always the weak link that is unavoidable and it is usually within those less criminal but have been caught up in the war of shadows.
Herein is the beginning of the West Ham United money mystery that has gradually risen to the surface and would allow the mere mortals to have a greater understanding of the cause of such sorrows over the last couple of seasons.
The owners would look at the club as a money making machine…a casino where the gambler always loses and the house always wins! There is an ever increasing revenue stream if only they can spend just enough to keep the team in the top flight…and if they achieve this…well, they just get that little bit richer each time. No wonder they are in no hurry to sell up to some elusive and non forthcoming billionaire!
When David Gold was interviewed on the West Ham Way podcast a few weeks ago he was adamant that they charged an interest rate, on the club debt owed to them, a lot lower than would have to be paid to a bank. However when pressed on this subject and asked why doesn’t he charge a lot less or nothing at all…his defence was that they would lose too much money.
In fact this is merely a play on words because what it actually means is that they lose potentially higher earnings. In other words they make less profit out of the club. Now, that does not sound like owners who have the best interests of the club at heart, moreover they are obviously placing themselves first and foremost along with their personal profits…West Ham is only a business to them…nothing more! Well, certainly that is how it might be interpreted regardless of how much they claim otherwise.
Repeated chants from interested onlookers would ask, “Where has all the money gone?” This relates to the publicly available information on how much the club would earn from television rights, gate receipts and ancillary sales, and from the sale of Upton Park and the reduced operating cost of occupying the London Stadium. Somewhere along the line…something just does not add up and many are asking why?
Of course the football club has to be run with some kind of business brain and not spend beyond its means, however West Ham appear to do things back to front. They shy away from transfer deals but favour the loan system…but would offer players some of the highest wages in the market place. The last time I looked, West Ham are not a top six side, so what on earth are they paying a lot of players nearly six figure wages or more and why do they have such a poor hit rate on good quality players?
The first year accounts were released a few weeks ago and the £40million + profits only enraged fans even more who have been repeatedly told that funds were not available to close certain transfer deals last summer! The bulk of the earnings are now spent on player wages, however that is no different from most of the clubs in the Premier League, however when the club is listed as one of the richest clubs in the world and is either a top ten or a top twenty team…financially…depending on which list they are in…one has to wonder how on earth that is even possible?
The main cause for concern for most fans has been the lack of investment in the squad since the move to the London Stadium as was heavily implied it would be. Of course there have been signings along the way, but nowhere near what many were led to believe would happen prior to the move. So why has this been the case, why the poor communication and all of the smoke and mirrors during this whole process?
The owners have been gambling with the club for a few years now. Their intentions were always to sell Upton Park and move into a rented stadium. They knew if they could achieve that, then their profits would increase exponentially and within their own lifetime. Their personal wealth and assets would increase, however the club would be stripped of its most valuable asset, which is the ground upon which their own football stadium would sit upon.
However, there has been a huge bump in the road, for their financial plan has very nearly come unstuck. Due to their lack of investment into the squad and suitable support for their managers and the club structure, the team have suffered and have diced with relegation for the better part of two seasons. Perhaps now it is finally time to invest in the summer transfer window and make West Ham a force which was always the intention? Perhaps not!
Most fans are now waiting for the owners to show their true worth and heavily invest in the summer, however many would expect another £100million to miraculously appear out of thin air, but there will be nothing anywhere near that. The team will likely survive this season and the club will think they have dodged a big bullet, but would not be phased by it either. In fact it would likely lend itself to more under investment which would send the fandom volcanoes into a state of critical mass eruptions.
Already the transfer rumour mill has begun to spin and whilst some names would tend to excite the fans and give hope that next season would be a massive turnaround…however rumours are not facts and facts can only be relied upon when they are revealed before fan’s eyes. Until that time…nothing is set in stone and no words of spin can ever be believed. The final verdict will be in August when the new season starts, but by then the final call would have been made, the last hand will have been dealt and the ultimate accountability will be required.
The owners behind West Ham united have become the criminal masterminds in some fan’s minds and nothing they can do will ever change their minds. However, regardless of personal opinions and verbal attacks, there is something behind the scenes at the club that has not sat well for a long time, perhaps a thorough warts and all investigation is required to unearth the truths that lurk in the shadows. Maybe, the fan’s law is closing in on the hapless accountant and his ledger full of names, that would reveal, finally and unequivocally…Where has all the money gone?