What’s gone wrong at West Ham – and how to fix it

Guest post, by @westham009
I think all fans of West Ham can confidently say we are sick of this season, and want it to be over as quickly as possible.
It’s been dreadful from start to finish bar the odd game and a few good goals.
Let me tell you what I believe to have gone wrong, and what should be done to fix it.
The summer transfer window in 2016 and January transfer window 2017 …
The blame for this in my opinion lays almost entirely at the feet of the board, but mainly David Sullivan. The sheer arrogance and incompetence of the way we went about our ‘business’ was breathtaking.
I will never forget seeing Sullivan on Sky Sports boasting about how much we were going to spend on a world class striker. All that talk was to drive season ticket sales I imagine. We needed a few things in the summer – RB, LB, CB, CM, LW, RW, CAM, STR, STR.
One of those strikers should have been the fabled world class striker, who we were promised would cost upwards of £30million.
To say we had quite possibly the worst transfer window of recent times is an understatement. People bang on saying we were one of the bigger spenders etc. The sole reason for that is Ayew – who was plainly obviously a panic buy at the last minute when the board realised quite how badly they had cocked up the summer that should have seen us push on.
I love Ayew, but he wasn’t what we needed.
Tactics …
The fault of the manager by and large. Whilst some may say he hasn’t got the tools at his disposable, I would argue lots of these players were magnificent last year. It shouldn’t be this difficult for Slav to give them a rollicking, to roll up their sleeves and get back to their best.
Slav was a defender, yet we can’t defend for example is the biggest issue we have at the moment. His insistence on playing Antonio at right back was bordering on the criminal.
James Tomkins was perfectly adequate at RB – it made us more defensive when he played there, but he was a far better option than Antonio or Kouyate, and this is why it was mad to sell him.
I also think we have become far too one dimensional and reliant on the big man up front. Andy Carroll is a great player on his day, but there are a few issues. Top one is that he is injured far too often for too long. Simple.
Secondly, whilst he has games where he chases everything and looks fired up, he often stands there and waits for the game to come to him.
Thirdly, when he plays we just either look to hit it long, or get it out wide and cross it. Very predictable. It’s why I wouldn’t start Carroll a lot of the time if we had other options. You need variability in your attack – something Carroll doesn’t offer and never will.
The stadium move …
To say it’s been a horrendous move in my eyes would be an example of British understatement. I at first hated the idea of moving, but was very much persuaded of the benefits by the time it came to it.
I apologise for being suckered in by the promises made regarding the signings it would give us, etc.
The retractable seating that was promised is basically seats held together with string.
The pitch is miles from the stands, and that makes it less intimidating for visiting teams. When I used to go to Upton Park, it felt like we as fans were involved in the game – it was magical, especially at night under the lights. The OS simply isn’t the same, whatever anyone says. It isn’t a football stadium, it’s multi-event venue that should be knocked down and rebuilt for football – that’s the only sport that will make any money for the taxpayer.
The PR …
The club is horrendous at it. From that ridiculous ‘insider’ feature that peddled the broken promises from the likes of Mr Sullivan, to the injury updates that invariably turn out to be incorrect.
The issues at the stadium that should have been fixed long before our first game …
The horrendous stewarding, the constant excuses and fobbing off for anyone who complains about the way the club is run. The myth that Gold and Sullivan care only about the club and not the money.
If that were true, why don’t they cancel all the interest that’s accrued on their loans and cancel any future interest they are due to receive? And why do they stop effectively taking the football club version of payday loans from offshore companies? I believe one of the companies was Vibrac?
I think the club needs wholesale changes in the summer. I think this is the order of importance:
1 Change of ownership. Board have neither the money or will to take us onto the next level, despite all the bluster about them putting their ‘life savings’ into the club.
They are interested in stability to keep the money rolling in for themselves, whereas they should be looking to take a few risks to try and push us forward. Standing still these days ends up with you going backwards relative to other clubs.
2 Change of playing squad. A GK, RB, LB, CB, RW, LW, CM, CAM, STR, STR. 10 players in, with the following ones out: Feghouli (dreadful) Nordveidt (dreadful) Randolph (I think Adrian is better than him) Carroll (if we are offered north of £20mil I would consider it, north of £25mil I would definitely take it) Collins (Sad to see this, but he isn’t the future) and either of Sakho or Valencia (depends on who would bring the biggest fee for me).
Others obviously have their price (every player has their price, even Antonio and Lanzini etc who I would never want to sell), but these named ones are the players I would want to get rid of.
3 Major alterations needed to stadium. I think most agree on this, and we should push the govt/stadium owners to allow these to take place.
Football will make the stadium a profit, people jogging round the running track for a couple of hours won’t.
4 If it came to it, a change of manager as a last resort if things don’t improve in the final few games. I love Slav, and don’t want him gone at all. It’s been a terrifically difficult season, and I would only change manager if a top one came along. Before anyone says, no, Mancini would not convince me to sack Slav. Feel free to disagree with me all you like fellow hammers – I’m just especially sick of the increasingly anti-Bilic noise with little to no sense of balance with regards to the increasingly obvious incompetence of the board.
Peace and love, fellow Hammers!

Five reasons why West Ham should sign Wayne Rooney … really?

You can’t click on a site or open a paper without seeing a piece entitled ‘Five reasons why …’ or ‘Five things we learned about …’

Here are five reasons why I dislike that kind of story intensely (spot the irony).

1

Because they are usually a load of old tosh. e.g. this morning’s offering – ‘Five reasons why West Ham should sign Wayne Rooney.’ No. We shouldn’t.

2

It’s clickbait. The story usually has no purpose other than to secure your presence on a website so that the publisher can attract more advertising and earn money from your secondary click on an affiliate link.

3

Because the five things we learn often don’t involve learning anything. They more often than not relate to something we’d have seen for ourselves had we been watching MotD with our eyes open or following a half-decent commentary or match report.

4

What’s so special about 5? Why is it that there are usually 5 reasons why or why not, or 5 ‘things we learned’. Why not 7 or 11?

Oh, wait … West Ham have never had a decent No. 5 in their entire history so maybe it’s just me. Maybe I have an aversion to that particular number (go on, prove me wrong). Maybe it should be ‘4 things we learned about …’ (in honour of Billy Bonds) or ‘10 reasons why …’ (Trevor Brooking), or ‘6 times player x proved his value to …’ (no explanation for the no. 6 necessary, although probably none needed for 4 and 10 either).

Are you in line for a West Ham season ticket?

West Ham have frozen season ticket prices for existing holders as long as they renew before May 31.

I got caught up in the hype of the move to the new stadium and paid to go on the waiting list last season.

I wasn’t successful, but it turns out I’m relieved that I failed to make the cut.

I’ve never held a season ticket. In the seasons when I was a regular at Upton Park I used to be able to pitch up at the turnstiles and clatter through, squeezing up, either with my dad or a friend so the guy could fiddle some cash for himself and a reduced price for the two of us.

For big matches you just made sure you arrived nice and early in order to get in.

When family and other commitments came along I knew I wouldn’t be able to go regularly and, frankly, there hasn’t been a period in our more recent history when I would have wanted to have had a trip to the ground on alternate Saturdays.

Does that make me a bad fan? No, course not.

Just as apathy towards the generous offers being dangled in front of me by Lady Brady at the moment doesn’t make me a bad fan.

The club must have made half a million pounds or more, probably, from mugs like me who paid to go on the waiting list for season tickets to the new stadium and then didn’t get them.