Whilst West Ham fans have been crying out for new ownership for years now, the impending sale of Grady Diangana to West Brom has really kicked the #GSBout campaign up a gear. Despite the blatant failing of the trio, quite a few in the media (Jim White most recently, for example) still seem unable to see what all the fuss is about, so this article is going to break down exactly why West Ham fans want Gold, Sullivan and Brady out of their club.
To start with, let’s deal with the reason that the impending departure of Grady Diangana has caused such fury amongst the West Ham fanbase. Diangana is a very talented player and for many, the sale of a promising youngster is enough to irritate them. However, I think what the fans are finding more infuriating is that it almost brings together everything that is wrong about the way the club is run. Firstly, the very fact that West Ham are having to sell players in order to buy is ridiculous, the squad needs investment and improvement, as was evident in their relegation struggle last season. Secondly, Diangana is a youth academy product who has been at the club since the age of 12 and was apparently very reluctant to leave as he thought his performances last year and in pre season were enough to earn him a chance in the first team. This is a young player who has worked hard to get his chance and he has been cast off like any old mercenary. Just one of many examples of the owners rubbing people up the wrong way, as I will expand on later. Thirdly, the move is likely to be justified in the owners’ eyes by how much cash it will provide and therefore by who Diangana is replaced with. It was initially reported that Benrahma would be brought in from Brentford, but now the Hammers are said to be stalling on his £20m asking price. Although this is now unlikely, if this were to be the case, where is the logic here? West Ham would be selling one winger who excelled in the Championship just to replace him with another who would probably be on much higher wages, require signing on and agent fees and probably take more time to settle in. These reasons are why the Diangana move alone highlights so many problems at the club, just by itself.
However, the problems with the club’s ownership are much more deep rooted than just that. The main criticism levelled at West Ham fans is that they hold unrealistic expectations, many outsiders say “Well West Ham haven’t traditionally been very successful so why do they expect and demand to be now?”. The reason the fans demand so much is quite simple – the owners promised so much. When West Ham were wrenched out of their previous home, Upton Park, many were absolutely gutted and it was an emotional time in the club’s history. However, many were able to deal with this as they were promised that it would bring prosperity and success to the club.
The owners lied about how close the seats would be to the pitch and the stadium move has been horrendously organised and littered with mistakes, only a few of which have been reversed with embarrassing u-turns. Not only were the fans promised a world class stadium that rivals would be jealous of, but they were also promised that it would bring increased revenues and attract more money and players to the club. This is the sole reason that the move was accepted, it was regarded as a necessary evil in order to allow the club to progress, yet where has it led the club? Just a few years on and they find themselves having just about fended off relegation, not for the first time in the last few campaigns, and having to sell players to raise funds. This is quite simply not what was promised. From a West Ham fan’s point of view – they have made the sacrifice but are still yet to see the reward. So next time you see a pundit complaining that West Ham should’t be demanding progression and success, politely remind them that this wasn’t a standard that they created themselves, but one that was promised to them by those in charge.
Next, let’s look at the failings that the club have faced in the transfer market. It’s common knowledge that West Ham’s performance when it comes to the transfer market is pretty woeful – take the forwards signed during the owners’ tenure for example – they’ve spent £170m, whilst managing to recoup just £68m on that investment. This is just the tip of the iceberg and I could list so many examples of poor planning and decision making. The transfer strategy at the club is pitiful whether that be due to Sullivan forcing players of his fancy on the manager (something that Allardyce confirmed after leaving), being severely under prepared in numerous positions leading to panic signings or signing countless washed up players with their best days behind them on huge wages.
To add to this, the club don’t have a proper scouting department, yes you read that right, West Ham United, a Premier League club, don’t have a proper scouting department. Instead they simply rely on Sullivan and Gold’s agent links, with one of the main benefactors in recent times being Will Salthouse, who I’m sure you’ll all be shocked to hear is the agent of a certain Said Benrahma. It is crazy to believe that in 2020, instead of relying on detailed scout reports and data analysis, a Premier League club simply sign players based on who their agent is, no wonder they’ve spent £453m and only managed to recoup £176m…
I’ll make this the last point but I could easily go on much further – another characteristic of Gold, Sullivan and Brady’s time at the club has been consistently making awful terrible decisions in terms of how they handle people involved with the club. Whether it be failing to consult supporters properly over the stadium move, as they promised they would, or treating club legends with enormous disrespect, the trio have shown themselves to have no moral awareness. Fan favourite and West Ham icon James Collins was a tremendous servant to the club, yet was simply informed by email that he wouldn’t be having his contract renewed and given no chance to say goodbye to the club. As well as this, former academy director and again club legend, Tony Carr was forced out the door and offered the minimum statutory redundancy pay after contributing 43 years of service to the club and making the club over £50m through bringing through the likes of Micheal Carrick, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole. There are many more examples of this poor treatment but even just these two make the lack of class very evident.
In conclusion, these are just a few of the reasons that West Ham fans are so adamant that Gold, Sullivan and Brady are doing more harm to the club than good. With the new season looming, the Hammers will be hoping that they can keep their head above water and maintain their Premier League status once more, after yet another gloomy transfer window.
What are your thoughts West Ham fans – let us know in the comments!