The Recruitment Problem
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 26 May 2020 at 8:06pm
Written by : Dan Chapman
Hi, Hammers fans.
First off, I just want to say that I hope you and your families are all keeping safe and well during these difficult times. Today, I am going to be taking about the recruitment at the club and how I believe it needs to be improved for us to succeed as a football club.
So, let’s get started.
David Sullivan and David Gold completed their takeover of West Ham United in 2010, and since then, they have only made a transfer profit once. This was back in 2018 when players were sold – most notably Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho. So it’s safe to say that it’s not been great for them.
A lot of our problems come from David Sullivan, who is a control freak. He involves himself in negotiations and meetings with agents for potential signings. He has a severe lack of football knowledge, and constantly needs help from people within the club to enhance his efforts. He has recently allowed his son, Dave Sullivan Jnr, to get involved in these negotiations also. The current set up is just destined for failure in my opinion.
Tony Henry, the clubs former Director of Player Recruitment, was sacked in 2018 and since his departure, there has been next to no continuity at the club. David Sullivan promised the fans in an interview with The Evening Standard that he planned to invest in scouting and recruitment teams, stating that only the club manager will be allowed to sign players.
In the summer of 2018, David Sullivan did live up to his promises when he appointed Manuel Pellegrini, and allowed the Chilean to bring in his own choice of Director of Football, Mario Husillos.
Now whilst that may seem a good thing, it isn’t when you look back on it. David Sullivan should have been the one hiring a Director of Football, not Manuel Pellegrini. Essentially, Pellegrini was appointing his own boss for his time at the club.
Things seemed to be going in the right direction for the club after over £90m was spent in the summer transfer window, where we brought in players like Lukasz Fabianski, Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko plus a few more. Why wouldn’t we be positive? We have a Premier League winning manager and a squad with over £100m worth of talent in it.
Or so we thought…
After a decent enough first season at the club finishing 10th, we then thought we would press on ever further with more additions. We brought in Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller for a combined £70m. Again, who wouldn’t start to feel the least bit excited about the future?
However, the current season did not turn out the same way. It was a struggle for Pellegrini. With players not performing and results not going his way, Pellegrini was dismissed in December last year. As a result, Mario Husillos, Juan Pellegrini, Mario Husillos Jnr plus others, who were all working as club scouts, were also relieved of their duties and followed Pellegrini out of East London.
This is where the knock on effects start to kick in…
Days after Pellegrini’s departure, the club reappointed David Moyes. Now people may disagree with me – which is fair enough – but I personally have seen an improvement in the team since Moyes has come in. Although, things could be so much better with a bit of planning. The way I see it is, Moyes has been brought in to try and fix Pellegrini and Husillos’ mess.
Upon his appointment, Moyes was told that he would have more control over transfers. My question is; how can a manager who’s own long term future at the club isn’t 100% certain, have control over the players that are brought in?
I just think it’s a complete shambles from top to bottom, and we find ourselves on a repetitive cycle.
Since Gold and Sullivan sacked Gianfranco Zola in 2010, we have had five managers;
Avram Grant 2010-11
Sam Allardyce 2011-15
Slaven Bilic 2015-17
David Moyes 2017-18
Manuel Pellegrini 2018-19.
None of these managers have a similar playing style, which causes a massive problem on the pitch. Everyone of these managers had their own ideas for the club, which required different types of players, which has resulted in the struggles we are currently enduring.
We find ourselves in another relegation battle this season due to our scattergun approach to appointing managers and signing players. Every time a new manager comes in, they require a squad overhaul.
Since moving to the London Stadium, we’ve received a huge financial boost, but we are wasting that at every opportunity. It is being wasted on poor players and huge wages. The best examples of this would be Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko. All of these players have cost us an unbelievable amount of money, but we’ve gotten so little on the pitch in return.
So how do we fix the current mess?
Now let’s state the obvious. Good results on the pitch require a manager and good players playing to a system that compliment each other.
I think David Sullivan needs to appoint a top level Director of Football, and to heavily invest in a bulked out scouting system and analytics team. He then needs to take a step back and not involve himself in those sort of situations. Harder said than done for a control freak…
Now most people may already know, but the jobs of those mentioned above is to sit above the manager and to ensure the continuity and planning at the club. This continuity can be ensured by giving the Director of Football oversight of managerial appointments and the power to make decisions on player signings based on the manager and their style.
I posted a tweet the other day saying that I thought we were a sleeping giant in English Football, and I truly believe that. We have a huge 60,000 capacity stadium with a fan base that sell it out every single home game, and we have so much potential if the club can begin to get things right behind the scenes.
If things behind the scenes can start to improve, then we will see improvements on the pitch as a result.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please remember to stay safe.