25th May 2011 - from London
What an embarrassment!
2 points from the last 9 matches and stone motherless last...
My forecast too has been embarrassing and there is not doubt that I too was once again victim of our theme song. Talk about fade and die! We capitulated without a whimper and it was so horrible to watch.
These last 2 seasons have been pathetic. I read today on KUMB.com that we have achieved the following: 15 wins from 76 league games - and just three on the road in those two seasons. That's a disgrace and clearly worthy of banishment from the PL.
I just can't stress enough how awful the last 2 seasons have been. For those of you lucky enough to have missed this week in week out, you simply can't appreciate how terrible it has been to NOT have anything to cheer about. There has been no spark and so little quality.
At the end of the day this is meant to be entertainment (aka religion) and it's been impossible to believe. We need some quality management, playing staff, desire, inspiration and dedication and, as far as I can see, that is not evident in any part of our once great club.
Make no mistake - this time we are REALLY at the cross-roads!
They were useless so let's not fret that the high earners are going. We have just proven that they were not good enough. However, it might just have been the manager's fault? No doubt that he was anything but inspirational.
Clueless - fact.
However, very poor management by our Directors once again in that they allowed him to stay and take us down and only terminated his contract in a private room at Wigan Athletic straight after the penultimate match of the season. How about a bit of class gentlemen - wait until Monday morning back at UP!
We now need a strong proven manager. Anything else and we will be outside the top flight for a considerable period of time. The club is clearly in a pathetic position with very low morale.
I have heard that Dave Jones from Cardiff is the current front runner with Chris Hughton (ex Newcastle), Sam Allardyce (ex Bolton, Newcastle & Blackburn) allegedly top of the betting list. Curbs is also in the frame as are Martin O'Neill (Aston Villa) and Carlo Ancelotti (Chelsea) however these last two are for dreamers only. MON would be my pick and its what we need but I just can't see it. This appointment is so important.
The only good news is that we do get a chance to rebuild and we have to do this top to bottom. The May 2010 accounts disclosed that the WHU Group recorded a loss before taxation of £20.6M on turnover of £71.7M. Our wage bill is over £50M per annum but down almost £10M on the previous 12 months. However, wages were over 70% of Turnover and whilst close to the PL average, this is an unsustainable level.
Interestingly, about half of the WHU turnover was made up of payments for broadcasting rights and PL status fees. This means that a fall into the Championship will result in not more than 30% of those fees. Thus our turnover could be almost cut in half!
The seriousness of these figures should not be underestimated and here's why:
The Group made a small operating profit in 2009/10 before exceptional items yet retained a significant borrowing level at several banks. The loss of PL status and at least £35M of revenue will mean that even with a halving of the wage bill, the Group is almost certain to rack up a loss in the tens of millions and perhaps more.
The Group has borrowings of around £40M so with limited revenue in the Championship, a wage bill of circa £30M, administration expenses of at least £15 and revenue of not more than £30M (based on the loss of PL revenues), one does not need to be an accountant to realise the extent of the problem.
And I have presented the best-case scenario!
Of course there are the parachute payments and that is £48 million over four years, or £12M per year. It's likely that the Group will lose between £3-10M each year.
That has to be made up somehow and the only way of course is through player sales. That is IF anyone wants to acquire players that have failed to deliver so spectacularly.
We only have three players of any value and in terms of actual funds to benefit the bottom line Parker is the real one. Robert Green will be worth a little however as he only has a year left on his contract and is a goal keeper, his trade value is not high. Carlton Cole is the other and we may now get around £4M for him.
Scott Parker is worth somewhere in the £8-10M range if we can get it.
Of course these payments must in part be used to recruit so not all of it goes to the bottom line although the vast majority will. Its effect is in year one only so the longer we stay in the Championship, the longer we rack up more debt unless we can sell more players and further reduce the debt / wage / revenue balance.
IF, and it's a huge IF, Tony Carr can continue to produce quality young players then we will have something to sell that will keep us afloat. Tony has to stay in charge of our Youth - pay him more!
, what a waste of money! Returns to Tottenham after loan. His terrible misses were consistent with past failures.
, was on loan from Man City - gone.
was on loan from Internazionale - gone.
& Matthew Upson
have been released after the expiry of their contracts.
, Rob Green
and Carlton Cole
will be sold.
has allegedly been offered a new deal to stay.
also allegedly offered a new deal to stay. Both he and Ba may have 'relegation' clauses that allow them to leave although I doubt that would be for free?
and Danny Gabbidon
have also allegedly been offered new deals.
was released a few months ago and I am uncertain about the fate of Herita Ilunga
It is worthy of note that Faubert, Kovac, Pablo Barera
and Boa Morte
have current agreements in place (although Boa Morte may only have a one-year deal that expires this month) and if they do not leave the club is bound to pay their wages no matter what. Of course they are on PL wages too.
, a very bad ankle injury has put his career in danger and it will be many months before we see him back in action.
Jack Collison, Mark Noble
and James Tompkins
are likely to stay and that's good news. I'd also like to keep Freddie Sears, Jordan Spence, Manuel da Costa, Junior Stanislas & Zavon Hines
provided they are on low wages and want to stay!
Having said all that, this group were basically the ones who lay down and surrendered to Sunderland in the final match of the season. If a 0-3 loss is the best that this lot can do then we are headed for League One rather than the pipe dream of a return to the PL in 12 months time.
West Ham is at the cross roads and to be honest it could go either way. And League 1 is a real possibility this time!
If we do not get promoted in year one then I really do fear for the club. The debt is high and with the planned move to the Olympic Stadium in August 2014, we simply wont be able to finance that refit from the Championship.
As the London Olympics are staged in 2012, if we are still in the Championship for the 2012-13 season then I simply can't see how we could progress with a move under even worse financial circumstances.
My predictions have been poor this season and at this stage so much depends on the identity of the new manager. Until I know who that is I simply can't even dream of redemption. Get this wrong and we could be in the wilderness for the best part of a decade.
The Fixture List is released at 9am London time on the 17th of June. Can't say I am relishing the prospect of playing the 'giants' of the Championship.
Here's what we must do:
- Appoint a STRONG manager with EXPERIENCE. No lightweights please!
- NO Board interference in player selection.
- Dignified behaviour from the Directors that inspires professionalism.
- Buy two experienced tough centre backs (it is our defence that is the major problem).
The only success for me has been my refereeing in London. I am delighted to advise that the FA have invited me to join the ranks of referees in the Supply & Contributory Leagues at levels 4 & 3. This promotion means that I will be officiating at a semi-pro level. At least someone got promoted!
STOP! Hammer Time
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