I’ll get my tin hat – but Board In – for now
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 30 January 2018 at 11:05pm
Written by Malcolm Atkins @malatk
I wrote yesterday about my frustration with the way the board have managed this window and the last twenty-four hours has done nothing to reduce that. I do think though, and I know it is not the popular view, that the huge negativity towards the board is not a fair reflection.
There seems to be two different sets of issues with the board. Firstly the move from the Boleyn and all the stuff associated with it and secondly the lack of investment in the squad.
With the stadium – I was in favour and still think the move was right, albeit I loved going to The Boleyn, and everything about it. Football has moved on and the bigger higher profile stadium makes complete sense. It has problems, some of which I believe are down to not being what was agreed, the “retractable seating” being the prime example. I have written elsewhere I think this will change over time, I am convinced West Ham will end up owning the ground, Gold, Sullivan and Brady are playing the long game and have done themselves a lot of damage in the meantime as fans are not “in” on the plan and are fed up with the shortcomings and the seeming tolerance of them. Gold and Sullivan will eventually make a lot of money and I believe West Ham will end up much stronger but it will take time and there will be a lot of upset supporters in the meantime. In terms of the team, the squad has been left woefully short and is now unbalanced and exposed by a horrendous injury list. I do think the signings up to 18 months ago were generally OK in terms of money spent, albeit not what the “leaks” and promises have led us to believe we may get. Since then though we have been on a downward spiral, whether this is because the board are stockpiling funds for the stadium, is a result of poor decisions from Bilic combined with Moyes not wanting players other than those he specified or a bit of both I am unsure. Either way changes are required.
Part of the argument for getting rid of the board has included stories about how Birmingham fans “warned us.” Well they did, but Gold and Sullivan took on a broken club in the third tier for a quid plus taking on debts. They sorted out the stadium and left them in the premier league selling for 80 million to an exciting foreign owner – he turned out to be a disaster, the club got relegated and has never got back to the premier league. Now if some mega bucks owner wants to make us the next Citeh all well and good but if Gold and Sullivan are “driven out” (they won’t be) who is to say a similar fate will not befall us.
Having been unable to get to the game tonight and spent a nervous evening refreshing twitter while watching sky I am mightily relieved at the point v palace. Given the injury list it was a decent point, we are still in danger but we are tenth and Moyes can clearly organise the troops. The board appointed him and we have good enough players to do this with all the injuries, reports also suggest Mario looked decent. So I am not in favour of abusing the board or of the opinion that “anything would be better.” Things do need to change though. The board need to either tell us they are happy with the stadium situation and that is how it is or admit that they are seeking improvement and even if they cannot release all details give some sort of timescale for improvement. They need to stop making false promises and stop slating players on twitter. I honestly think they will sell some shares and buy the stadium but if so they need to start being more honest if not they need to outline what West Ham want from the changes which Sadiq Khan is examining.
Transfers, we need a coherent strategy, Moyes looks to me to have made some progress with this with a clear plan of who he wants rather than accepting whoever gets put to him, or adopting a scattergun approach. Sullivan needs to step back, the game is overtaking him and his style is not conducive. We need a solid director of football who knows the market and is well-connected. Give him a budget let Moyes identify what he wants and let them do their jobs. I truly believe we will see American investment with Sullivan remaining as chairman, I also still believe the move to the London Stadium will see West Ham establish themselves as a much bigger player in English Football but David Sullivan needs to set aside his ego and realise he needs a more professional structure. I think this also needs a new Chief Executive. I think Karen Brady receives unfair abuse but she does not have an affinity to the club, has totally alienated supporters clearly has other interests and her moving on aligned with a director of football allowing David Sullivan to step back a little would be a big step towards repairing the relationship with fans, and it needs repairing because we are not going anywhere, and nor are they any time soon.