Guest Post by Philtheiron- To ST at West Ham or not to ST at West Ham

A great comment, developing the conversation well, by Philtheiron on the last thread, which was certainly worthy of it’s own post, as follows: –


I think the whole ethos of season tickets and whether or not to attend matches is a very complicated one. Not to mention very emotive.

Apart from anything else it gets harder each year to justify the huge financial and emotional outlay each week/day when, as we get older and circumstances change, our priorities though never our loyalties can change.

So I can understand how giving up a season ticket especially over a point of principle or having to put family first, is not one that is ever taken lightly.

But we are and will always remain west ham⚒

As it has been mentioned before, last season has been a very difficult one what with one thing and another. And I have found it almost impossible at times to keep a clear head above water at times if I am honest. The constant barrage of negativity from the press and within hasn’t helped.

For there has been so much nonsense being written and spoken about the club, usually negative that it has been hugely frustrating. Also witnessing first hand each week the ongoing stadium problems and seeing little being done about it hasn’t improved matters either.

The stewarding, segregation and other ongoing problems etc has been akin to at times,to watching a huge train crash unfold right in front of you but without being able to do a thing about it. As I have said, all hugely frustrating.

Realistically imho I don’t really think there was despite the ongoing negative campaign in the press, any prospect of super Slav ever getting the sack though.

For not only do I believe this to be grossly unfair and a huge injustice but it would have been tantamount to an act of suicide.
Ok, mistakes were made last year. We didn’t come close to obtaining our quality targets and paid a huge price accordingly.

Where I disagree with some, is that I believe the board did try to back the manager and the unpalatable truth is that Slav has the final say on who we sign and the owners tried to make the finances work.

For at the end of the day no manager in his right mind or as highly principled as Bilic is going to allow a board to dictate who they can and can’t sign.

But where you are spot on Tom is concerning the owners and the funds they have available.

Yes they maybe multimillionaires but even that is not enough for the EPL in this day and age. Especially if we have ambitions to move on to the next level or hope to compete regularly in Europe.

Our owners unfortunately do not have the wealth to hope to compete with the financial might of citeh,chelski or the Man U or the arse.

So there will always unfortunately be a bit of the dell boy about the owners when it comes to transfer fees. Having said that I wouldn’t like to have been in their position with days go go in last years window, having offered so much money for any number of quality players and still have nothing to show for it!

It is all very well identifying quality players that’s the easy part. Unfortunately it is likely that all the other clubs swimming in the same buying pond have identified the same players too.

For as we rise through the ranks there are the same amount of clubs if not more all vying for the same players as we move up.
And just because we have more money to spend doesn’t mean we will be any more likely to succeed in signing our new targets. As each team in each new level also have more money and as the higher you go other consideration come into play such as Europe and the potential to win trophies and or leagues. Not to mention international recognition.

I believe we were a little niave last season and got a little bit carried away with our new found position, stadium and the Devils silver(Sky money).

We thought we could flash the cash and do the deals without I believe taking into account some/all of the factors stated above.

That and having any discerning plan b and the rest as they say is…..

So ok while it is right that we have learned our lessons from last season and are now only concerntrating on a few quality players. But isn’t that how we set out last season?
What happens if again we don’t manage to achieve those targets?

For me the biggest lesson of last season was that buying sub quality players to fulfill a quality first team role doesn’t work. And this folly was horribly exposed on far to many occasions last season.

The trick this year will be if we don’t manage to get our quality first choices what next?
I don’t think many of us would pick past as our quality signings;

Iheanacho, batushyai, gulfi, hart and perhaps smalling if he/they were available? But I haven’t heard much about who we could get in if players of this quality were not available.

And to me, this is where the success of our season will rest on. Hopefully we will get most of those mentioned above(especially the two strikers) but it is what happens if we don’t that really matters.

  • Guesty

    I missed this on the last thread. It’s a fine post Phil and I agree with much of what you say. I love my club, support the club and the board and try to support the manager, certainly I support this one. So from that bias standpoint I would comment;

    Totally agree with the first part. I found the season frustrating and sad at times because the things that did go wrong, stewarding, fighting, Payet, poor transfer business etc did just give the negative people just cause to berate the club. The press were rubbing their hands but I was (still am) saddened most by our own fans. Quite simply I don’t want to feed these people with stuff to beat our club with.

    I also never for one minute thought Billic wouldn’t see out his 3 year contract. I’m hoping for a strong start 17/18 and he gets a new deal by Christmas.

    I also agree the owners have backed Billic 100%. I think some absolute nonesense is spouted about Sullivan choosing players, Billic having no choice when presented a Sullivan punt. Fact is DS Billic and Henry identify players, discuss them and Billic has the final say. The simple fact is our 2 big signings Zaza and Tore didn’t work out (I thought they’d be great) and our big money buy Ayew got injured after just 40 mins. Add to that the Payet fiasco and other buys Feg and Nordtvielt not being good enough, at least initially, and that’s why we had a poor season.

    I have no doubt we learnt from that and this preseason will be better but then I am an optimist.

    I’m not sure I agree with you re the owners. Look Chelsea earned £50M more than West Ham by winning the Premiership. Spuds City etc a little less. They also received similar money from the Champions League. As did Leicester. So for me they need to break that top 4 simple as.

    Another way would be to go borrow £400M. Boom champions. I saw a debt list of the clubs the other day. Manure £550M. Do we want that? I’ll find it and post it below.

    Finally hindsight eh? I just don’t subscribe to the fact that Zaza Ayew Feg and Tore were poor buys. They looked the business before they kicked a ball. It didn’t turn out that way. We may be saying the same about Zabbatta next year and how many will be honest enough to admit they said he was a great signing?

    Anyhow great post Phil. I’m hopeful for next season.

    • Guesty

      1. Manchester United – €536m

      2. Benfica – €336m

      3. Inter – €306m

      4. Valencia – €285m

      5. QPR – €279m

      6. AC Milan – €249m

      7. CSKA Moscow – €224m

      8. Galatasaray – €222m

      9. Juventus – €209m

      10. Roma – €208m

      Any body want that for our club? And owners loans don’t count because they own the club. It’s like me owing my bank account £50.

      • Razorwine123

        I think whats wanted is not owners like the glaziers or kronke or the scousers have strangely all American but more like abrom who puts his own cash into the club and reaps the rewards. Maybe its the trump mentality of making money off others backs in america that seems to be the only thing that matters in the world and if asset stripping and loading debt to the club and not themselves works its up to the fans to change the boards that do practice this imo

        • Guesty

          Roman Abromivitch? No thanks mate, Chelsea are welcome to him and his “wealth”. Look at QPR tho! TF was the only other bidder in for us. Reckon we had a lucky escape there.

          • Goatygav

            Is there any aspect of the owners that you’re unhappy with Guesty? Don’t get me wrong I do like your positivity and optimism. Being a West Ham fan is all about optimism IMO but there has to be some balance to a view. I just wonder if you consider that there’s any area that they could do better?

          • Guesty

            Lol Goaty. Fair play mate I’ll take that in the chin. Yeah lots, they talk too much, Sullivan’s hat, Brady’s “other interests” there is plenty they could do better, I’ll give Tom “media whoring” so yeah they are far from perfect. I defend them purely because some fans give them a biased bad press which I think is often ott. TBH I’d give them a rating of about 65/70% so there is room for improvement. What would others give them? There are other owners I’d mark a lot less.

          • Goatygav

            Fair play fella. I agree with you. They’re certainly not all bad IMHO. There are definitely much worse out there. I’m hoping that they come through for us this Summer and deliver some more REAL quality to the squad to augment what’s, undoubtedly, already there. We’ve got a strong, athletic and competitive spine with some real skill and vision when Lanzini’s on it (and the strikers are fit and firing).

            6.5-7 out of 10 is fair. Could go up to 7.5 if they get this Summer right 😉 .

            All the best – COYI!

    • Razorwine123

      Sorry guesty good post but sullivan definetly has his input on who to buy. Doesnt get it right too much though and tore was definetly slavs choice as for calleri zaza a panic loan but thought as a juve player it would work out as the main buys and loans fdidnt happen. I also believe if we had got bacca the season would have left us a few places higher than 11th which considering injuries new stadia with problems and payet having a strop we didnt do too bad with a poor season this time. Imo

      • Goatygav

        I agree about Zaza – good player who it just didn’t happen for at West Ham. A bit of a shame really but Slaven can’t be accused of not giving him a fair run of games to prove himself.

      • Guesty

        Input yes Raz. Final say no! I just don’t see it myself. Billic and the club have said that’s the case. Anyhow what do we know lol

    • Philtheiron

      Hi mate,
      I honestly thought zaza was a good player and could adapt to the lone striker role.

      I also thought that nordtvielt would be better having played in Germany. It just shows you what thought did!

      And although there is a certain amount of risk attached to any signing you are always going to be asking for trouble when you buy on the cheap and ask them to impersonate quality.

      However I didn’t see many people complaining when DS stepped in when bfs had filled the club with aging over the hill, bang average players,
      Who while they would keep us up in the short term, they had absolutely no resale value and would have relegated us within a couple of seasons.

      As I remember he was widely applauded for bringing the average squad age down and signing exciting players with a future and a resale value.

      But of course DS has an influence over transfers. He has too he signs the cheques!

  • Goatygav

    Great post Phil. It’s a question that I hope to be in a position to answer. I will be taking up the option for a ST for me and one for my lads (which they’ll share) if offered. I’ve never been in a position to be able to buy an ST in the past. I also genuinely believe that next season will be much better than this in many aspects including the football played, atmosphere, stewarding, strength and quality of squad and general mood and knowledge of pre and post match places to go.


    • Philtheiron

      Hi mate,
      I sincerely hope you are lucky enough to obtain season tickets for next season.
      It would be heartening to see tickets in the hands of true fans and it would definitely be seen imho, as further evidence of the club sorting out its new stadium teething problems and finally heading in the right direction.

      Talking of which,

      As tom has already eluded to, l believe the matchday experience will be much better next season as fans find their feet and start to develop new habits and pre and post match rituals.

      After all, at the end of the day we all are creatures of habit and like to feel comfortable in our surroundings.

      Till now what with all the upheavals this I believe has unfortunately not been the case.

      With the first season now under our belts I expect this aspect to improve considerably.

      I have always believed that Stratford has always offered better and a wider choice of pubs etc than those around the Boleyn.

      And that doesn’t include the Westfield! Lol.

      Talking of which, I even believe that now the operators of the shopping centre now realise we are not going to eat their children and run amok after every home game, wrecking their precious centre,

      Then West Ham fans will be seen in a better light

      Then relations between supporters and the centre will now improve dramatically.

      As for the football? Well it just has to be better doesn’t it?!
      I honestly believe that 3-4 quality players will make all the difference.
      Although I would quite happily settle for batshuayi and iheanacho who undoubtedly would do very nicely!

      I also hear that citeh cannot find any takers for hart at £20 million.
      I can’t say I’m surprised as although he maybe England’s keeper the whole £20mill argument is holed rather by the fact they can’t wait to get shot of him!

      So you never know?

  • Tom

    Afternoon Phil, glad to see your thoughts get some thread time as there are two very emotive issues here … the match day experience is not always about the result … I mean the spurs game was a great feel good factor but a week later against Liverpool it was great having a few beers post match with Devo and many of the WHTID crew … I think in time the stadium will serve us well and we need to accept the game is a huge commercial business now and not always about tight stadiums and fans baying for blood … I think in time when we pack in 67000 fans it will be an ok home …

    As for recruitment, I have said all along and I still amaintain two things, last summer set us back to the post BFS era … numbers diluted the tight team ethos, dissing Joey O’Brien out the door to be replaced by Arbeloa set the tone for everything that went on … Payet leavig on broken promises whilst Karen Brady tell the forums he was playing away … typical classless and bitter owners reaping what their summer fruits brought home .. not one single signing improved the starting xi …

    I have to say, I totally disagree with Guesty here, Slaven under no circumstances would have accepted 14 new faces … he is at the mercy of what the owners tell him … yes Tore was poor but was he brought in to play wide right or inside alongside Lanzini or Payet in a 3-4-3 … Zaza was a last minute desperation buy and ever fitted, as for the rest … all I can say is that numbers are a Sullivan trait … he did it to Avraam and every manger at Brum … he tried it with BFS who tolerated it but last summer was a trade mark Sullivan recruitment offering … quite simply he is a Del Boy out of his depth … we have no style of play, we have no recruitment policy to suit that style and until we do nothing will change … its a game of FIFA 17 to Sully and his kids …

    Ultimately, Southampton have it right, Swansea had it right until new owners came in to make money and canned everythig they did well … Bournemouth have signed Begovic, my understanding is they also have Defoe on route and the so called money we say he wants is bollox … they have a strict wage cap here but are still progressing better as a club than us … this summer we need four quality new faces … the names we are looking at are great but I just can not see them arriving … and as you elude too, if that doesn’t happen, who do we turn too … more South American’s off FIFA 17 …

    • Guesty

      Tom, West Ham bought 10 players not 14. They were;

      Ayew, fernendaz, Masuaku, Zaza, Callari, Tore, Nordtvielt, Fegouli, Arbeloa, Fletcher.

      I suppose you include Snodgrass and Fonte but they were bought in January because of Payet and the injury to Ogbonna.

      Of these I’d say half were good buys and half not so good. We can all form our opinion which were which but the fact remains Nordtvielt was player of the year at a German champions league side, Ayew was Swanseas best player, Fegouli was, still is, highly sought after, Zaza was a Juve striker valued at £25M. Fletcher WAS rated ahead of Rashford at Manure. Tore was someone we all wanted (I couldn’t believe how bad he was) Callari was worth a punt because he actually looked a great finisher at his last club. Fonte was a Euro Cup winner.

      So what I’m saying is the buys weren’t bad buys they just didn’t work out imo. I think a couple of those still might and if they are complimented next season by the likes of Bats or IanNacho and a couple more quality signings then we might not be bemoaning these initial purchases. We can debate whether we did or did not get these players come the end of August it’s all opinion until then.

      I’m sorry I just can’t take your and Razors claim that Sullivan buys players and insists that Slaven uses them. It’s laughable and even Slaven has said that’s not true. Billic Sullivan and Henry are a team, they discuss and agree targets and Billic has the final say. I think you are very unkind and wrong comparing Sullivan to Del Boy and saying West Ham are a FIFA17 game to him and his kids. I’ve no idea why you call them bitter.

      West Ham have never quoted what Defoe wanted that was a quote from the blogs.

      On the plus side you and I agree on the players we need to bring in and I’m a big fan of the Southampton academy and yes we should copy it but then so should every club but I expect it’s not as easy as that.

      • Goatygav

        It’s not just the academy at Southampton we should emulate. Their recruitment is outstanding. Would be great if we heard as little, in the press, as their owners too.

      • Razorwine123

        Sorry mate cant wait for nord to leave back to german league who only have two decent sides that would survive in the premier. As he showed when playing there as a top player the huge gap between the teams and players in that league. There top players are usually from abroad and the best german players dont even play in the german league. As for sully who if you look at his history has always put in his own buying of players at brum and us his entitled to as the main owner i know but if your not good at choices of players should keep quite and i dont think slav or anyone can say dont want him with his job being given his job by sully. So like allardyce did bought the ones sully liked but hardly played them is the only answer until the penny dropped. Other than that you tell him i dont want that player which means it puts a strain on the relationship between owner and coach imo

        • Guesty

          You might be right about Nordtvielt Razor. I deliberately didn’t say which ones would be ok and which had to go! After one season of seeing them almost every day Billic will know.

    • Razorwine123

      I think begovic would have been a good buy tom but i think a younger keeper for our progression is a better option unless hart comes but for the money pickford would be better. As for defoe i think maybe one more season left and as for terry wouldnt touch him with a bargepole especially for 100k a week. Howe is for me a good coach mate but needs to start now at a big club before hopefully becoming englands coach instead of doing for a club that really isnt premier standard being still a retirement area although not now bathchair era but certainly not a football town as the 10k max attendance shows is quite big enough for local supporters and away allowance. Our hopefully targets of kelechi and mitch would be great and hopefull sales of nord snod and for me carrol and sakho with replacements can put us into a top four spot only fearing man city totts ifWembley doesnt affect them and manure who dispite losing fergie will still stay a yop club. Arsenal once again challenging but wengers mate is a problem with paying once again the right price and wages imo

    • Philtheiron

      Hi mate,
      I think your point about the match day experience is a very important one.

      In that it shows that we have largely moved on from the gloom of negativity that for some surrounded the move to the London stadium and we are now making new experiences and memories at our new home.

      Ok it isn’t perfect, it was never going to be. But at least we are now more acceptable of it and are moving on with a positive frame of mind.

      I also agree when the novelty wears of fir the tourist fans and the fans start seeing something to shout about the London stadium will be a 60-67,000 bearpit!

  • Nick

    Good article Phil certainly a good few conversation points in there, a lot of the points come to perception mine would be aligned to Guesty’s almost word for word, I personally loved the Stadium from the moment I entered it, I could see all the faults and that it wasn’t perfect for football but then imho the Boleyn wasn’t amazing if you were in the wrong seat, had a restricted view or the game was dull as dishwater, for me BG lost its shine the moment they moved the pitch and changed it to an all seater, having been at the OS for the Chelsea game in the EFL cup it was easy to see it’s potential and to be honest I had watched Rugby there before so already knew it was capable of amplifying the noise of the crowd. In regards to ST’ing at the club I am on the list and hopeful that of those few that didn’t renew I will be able to benefit, I am looking forward to next season I never thought the transfer window was as bad as some, we signed a lot of players 3 or 4 of whom didn’t work out but they had pedigree and it is normal that not every signing works, hopefully this transfer window the chairmen will remain quiet and we will get some really good deals done and we can all have a great 2017 / 18 season COYI !!!

    • Philtheiron

      Hi mate,
      I too are of the opinion that the stadium as a building is pretty dam amazing!

      And as a football ground although not perfect, it has its faults but is imho very much a work in progress.

      As the work been done on the subjects such as segregation, ST’s and stewarding has proven.

      I also don’t get some of the rose tinted nostalgia concerning the Boleyn.

      I agree it was never the same after the building of the new stand and the turning of the pitch.

      It always looked a bit lopsided to me after that.
      Although I loved the idea of the hotel looking straight out onto the pitch.

      I must admit it looked pretty magical at night under the lights and first thing in the morning as the sun was rising!

      I have always thought that new memories just take time to make and as we become used to Stratford and develop pre and post match routines the new memories will come.

      Yeah the transfers were a mixed bag last season.

      But would they have turned out quite as bad if there wasn’t quite the pressure and teething problems we experienced due to the move?

      I’m not so sure they all would have flopped without such pressures as on paper at least players such as zaza had good pedigree.

      However, i have to admit some would have been poor signings whatever the clubs circumstances.

      Having said all this I fully expect next season to be completely different.

      As I fully expect us to pull out all the stops and add quality players to what is still a very good squad. (Less most of last seasons signings).

      All that has been missing has been the confidence and swagger we had in spades during the last season at the Boleyn.

      Now that we have experienced our move and all the teething problems associated with it

      We will be a totally different proposition next season.

      Finally, good luck with your application for season tickets mate. Only true fans should be allowed to have them.