Transfer Gossip

How About Selling Randolph & Bringing Back Rob Green?

The Sun reports that Southampton want Darren Randolph and are prepared to pay £3 million to get him. They want him as number two to Frazer Forster.

On the face of it you’d have to ask why he’d want to go to another club as number two. However, let me suggest something which some of you may think is mad.

How about cashing in on him and then offering a one year deal to Rob Green to return?

I like Randolph, although his appearances later in the season were not on a par with his previous performances in the first team. Ordinarily I would be in favour of keeping him – and if we do I will be happy – but bearing in mind we paid nothing for him, and he will be on a decent wage, a return of £3 million isn’t bad for a 29 year old second choice keeper.

I also think Rob Green would be a good influence on Adrian. He clearly still has a lot of feeling for the club and must really regret ever leaving.



Olympic Stadium Update

Karren Brady takes us on a tour.

Talking Point

Is Slaven Bilic Immune To Second Season Syndrome?

There aren’t many connections with West Ham United on show at Euro 2016. Dimitri Payet has shown what a world class player he is, two man of the match performances and an inch of the crossbar away from being the joint top goalscorer in the competition, his value is certainly soaring (if we do decide to sell – something I won’t be talking about in this article). Darren Randolph hasn’t done himself any discredit in goal for the Republic of Ireland, although he conceded three goals against Belgium, he hasn’t made any glaring mistakes and looks worthy of a number one spot at a Premier League club. James Collins is yet to feature for Wales but his solidity and no nonsense defending will certainly be of use in the latter stages when a game needs closing out. One man who has perhaps drawn even more plaudits than the magnificent Payet isn’t even a West Ham player, it’s our manager, Slaven Bilic.

Since he took charge last year, we quickly became accustomed to his frank and honest analysis of games. None of this excuse making and sitting on the fence that we so often see from managers nowadays, Bilic says it how it is and everyone knows it. Having been signed up as a pundit for ITV’s coverage of Euro 2016, Bilic has quickly proven himself to be a man who knows his stuff. You expect elite level managers and players to have an extensive knowledge of the game, but they so often struggle to put that knowledge it into words. Thierry Henry is a classic example of someone who has lived and breathed football for his entire life, yet when giving his opinion on a game, he can’t seem to get a formulated point across. There’s something quite endearing and relatable about Bilic, he’s scruffy, funny, he doesn’t beat around the bush and most importantly for a pundit, he explains his opinions in a way that makes sense.

Now much like the problem with Payet showing what he can do on the world stage, Bilic could be putting himself in the shop window for a club that might become a temptation. Granted, West Ham are a club that are going places but if a team that challenges for the title in their league and plays regular Champions League football, it could easily persuade someone who is in the early stages of their managerial career. Now I doubt the president of Real Madrid or chairmen of other Champions League clubs are sat there watching Bilic outshine Iain ‘I don’t like collars on my shirt’ Wright and Lee ‘I need to read my notes before commenting’ Dixon and thinking he’s the man to bring success to their club. The issue lies in Bilic becoming popular amongst rival fans and when their club is looking for a new manager, that could potentially be a deciding factor.

Bilic being poached by another club might be a concern, but the worry lies in something numerous managers in the Premier League have struggled with in the past. The dreaded second season syndrome. Before I get started on this point, I’d like to state that I’m not predicting Bilic will suffer from a period of indifference after a great first season. I’ve already stated in the past that I believe Bilic is the man to take this club on to bigger and better things and I’m confident in his ability to do so. I merely want to address the subject as it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, even if we want to think it is.

George Burley’s Ipswich followed up a 5th place finish in the 2000-01 with an abysmal showing the following year. With sound investment and a UEFA cup competition to deal with, Ipswich struggled throughout the campaign and were relegated after finishing 18th. Under the guidance of Steve Coppell, Reading suffered a similar fall from grace in the 2007-08 season. The previous year, the newly promoted side managed a remarkable 8th in the Premier League, but just one year later, they were down in the Championship following an 18th placed finish. Alex McLeish suffered a severe bout of second season syndrome whilst in charge of Birmingham during the 2010-11 season. Although it was slightly remedied by Carling Cup success, Birmingham were relegated after finishing 9th the previous year. Yes, every club (and every manager) is different but these are just examples that show these things do happen.

As I said before, I’m not too worried about whether Bilic will maintain the quality of performance we saw this season and I’d like to think there is an air of optimism amongst us fans about our potential to improve. People will claim refereeing decisions cost us a few league positions last year but if we cut out the silly mistakes and manage to turn a few draws into wins, we could really be going places. Keeping hold of our best players is essential and so to is investing in new ones. I’m not going to list who we should or could buy this summer (I think we all need a break from that) but I definitely trust Bilic to identify the right targets and the two Davids to make the right deals.

Is Bilic immune to the second season syndrome? Who knows is the honest answer, and I very much doubt it is my opinion on the matter. For now, I’m going to enjoy watching Bilic on ITV for the remainder if Euro 2016 and let my excitement for next season continue to build.



Eamonn Dolan 1967-2016

Former West Ham United striker Eamonn Dolan has passed away at the age of 48.

Born in Galway, Ireland on the 20th September 1967, Dolan came through the club’s academy having been brought up in Chelmsford. Capped at Under-21 and youth level for the Republic of Ireland, Dolan made his Hammers debut from the bench as a 19-year-old in a 2-0 home win over Manchester City on the 9th May 1987. The 5’10 forward struggled with injuries but gained some first-team experience with a brief loan stint at Bristol City. His most successful spell in claret and blue came under the management of Lou Macari in the first half of the 1989/90 season – he scored his first goal for the club in a 3-2 home defeat to West Brom in September of that campaign before bagging a brace in a 5-0 demolition of Sunderland the following month. His fourth and final goal for the Irons came in his 21st and last game for the club, a 5-2 home win over Plymouth in the Full Members Cup on 29th November 1989. He left West Ham United for Birmingham in 1990.

After a season at St Andrew’s, Dolan moved on to Exeter but had to retire in 1993 at the age of just 26 due to a battle with cancer. Dolan was granted a testimonial match by Exeter against West Ham in September 1994. He won his cancer fight and went on to serve Exeter for a total of 13 years as community officer, youth coach, caretaker manager and permanent manager in 2003/04. He left the club in September 2004 to join Reading as academy manager where he enjoyed a happy and successful 12 years, even taking on the role of caretaker manager for a match against Manchester United at Old Trafford in March 2013.

Eamonn passed away yesterday at the tragically young age of 48 after another courageous battle with cancer. I’m sure all WHTID readers will join me in sending condolences and best wishes to Eamonn’s family and friends.

Talking Point

Making Payet Pay

Blind Hammer looks at how OS and TV Money makes an economic case for West Ham to resist a transfer for Payet.

When I wrote my recent Mind the Gap article some people commented that expanded TV monies were largely making stadium capacity irrelevant. This article is about why I think stadium capacity matters if we want to keep Payet.

If we look at how the TV money is divided amongst the clubs then some interesting features emerge. TV money does not follow league position. Last season, for example Arsenal was clear winners in Premier League TV money, even though they did not finish top. Despite winning the League Leicester finished not just behind Arsenal but also Manchester City, Manchester United and even Tottenham. Arsenal earned £100,952,257, whilst Leicester earnt £93,219,598. Why did Leicester earn less? The answer lies in the way TV money is distributed. TV money is made up of three payments. A core payment which is paid to all clubs, a merit payment which is based on league position, and finally and probably most crucially a facility payment based on the number of times that a club is shown live on TV.

The way the system works is that the Broadcasters get the rights to show 10 matches from each club without incurring any extra payment. For every match over 10 shown the Broadcaster had to pay an extra £747,922.

A good way then to judge the marketing success of your clubs is to count the number of live games in excess of this standard 10.

A not surprising cohort is in the group appearing only 10 times or less. Norwich with 9 games and Watford and Bournemouth with 8 games failed to reach even the 10 game marks. This is a little damning for these clubs as the Broadcasters could have shown 1 of Norwich’s and 2 of Bournemouth’s and Watford’s games, in effect for at least half price, or even free if against each other. A second group of clubs are stuck on the 10 game marks. Crystal Palace, West Brom Stoke and Swansea complete the list of 6 clubs who received no extra TV monies last year. Despite the economic disadvantage this places these clubs in they probably still do better than the European counterparts where clubs negotiate individual TV deals.

Hovering just above this group was Aston Villa with 11 games, probably in less disastrous seasons they would have shown more, and Southampton with 12 games, surely disappointing given the quality of football they played.

Then there is a middle league in which West Ham currently sit. At the bottom of this middle league is Sunderland where the Broadcasters invested in 3 extra games, then come Leicester and West Ham, both showing 15 games, then this middle league is topped by Newcastle with 16 games and Everton who enjoyed TV monies from 8 extra games having 18 matches shown.

Then we have a top 6 where there was serious TV monies paid. The Broadcasters paid Spurs for 11 extra games, showing 21 matches, Chelsea came next with 22 matches, Liverpool with 23, Manchester City with 25 , Manchester United with 26 and finally Arsenal who proved to be the Broadcasters’ favourites, having and extra 17 matches shown with 27 live appearances in all.

All this shows that the TV Monies league does not necessarily match performance, not only were Leicester trailing down this league, relegated Newcastle were also mid table. There is however, a closer correlation between TV Monies and a stadium capacity league table. This is not an exact match as the two main North East clubs; Newcastle and Sunderland were exceptions with larger capacities of 48,000 and 52,000 respectively, although each club rarely filled their stadiums.

Despite the North East anomaly the pattern of TV money following stadium capacity generally persists. The top 3 TV earners all have stadium capacities over 50,000. The top 5 clubs all have capacities over 40,000. All 6 of the bottom TV earners have capacities under 30,000. Outside of the top 5 only Newcastle Sunderland and Aston Villa have capacities over 40,000. Generally TV revenues are attracted to larger capacity stadiums across the league.

Why should bigger stadiums attract more interest from Broadcasters? Well part of this obviously reflects historic greater levels of support for these clubs. Equally important though is the fact that football is a glamour entertainment industry. The vast cathedrals of a modern football ground are the exciting backdrop to showcase the cream of the world’s talent. Despite its famous lack of atmosphere the library at Arsenal’s Emirates is the stage to which the Broadcasters are consistently attracted.

However even marginal advantages in revenue caused by extra TV money and attendance matter. Bill Kenwright commented on why Everton could not match the economic power of Liverpool. He explained that although Anfield exceeded Goodison by only 6,000 this meant that 19 times a season Liverpool achieved this extra revenue. 114,000 supporters more a season watched Liverpool. Over 5 years the gap inexorably grows with over half a million more paying customers. Also this extra support is unlikely to be confined to the same 6,000 extra people every game. It is more likely that many more supporters attend only a few games. In other words Even if a person attends only one game, they may become hooked into supporting a club in the longer term thus further generating TV interest. .

Consequently not only week in and week out, but over the longer term year in and year out, Everton are unremittingly pressured by Liverpool’s competitive edge. Over time, Liverpool can generate more resources. Their marginal capacity advantage over Everton is further amplified when the TV monies deal is struck.

Yet stadium capacity alone, as Newcastle and Aston Villa have proven, does not necessarily translate into football success. Whilst the Olympic Stadium provides the infrastructure for growth we must have accompanying football excellence to realise this project. West Ham must grab the horns of the OS Opportunity to grow their TV appeal by providing the football to match.

This is why it would be economically insane to entertain any offers for Payet on the basis of transfer monies. Over four years Payet could probably garner the amount we would receive in any transfer monies simply from marketing of merchandise allied to the extra matches that the broadcasters will want to show. Apparently Broadcast money per game next year will grow even more. If West Ham achieve the same number of TV games as Spurs this is likely to generate £21 million a year in basic TV Match fees alone, before we even start to talk about merit payments and the increased core components of TV Monies. Of course each extra live match also provides the opportunity for an unparalleled free two hour merchandising advert for West Ham across the Globe.

Payet is now a global talking point. He can help West Ham expand not just for the here and now, but help provide the structural Launchpad to establish years of growth persisting long after his career has ended. He could be the figure for West Ham that Zola was in the period of Chelsea’s transformation. This is probably a once in a life time opportunity for West ham to shake up the structure of the league. The Olympic Stadium must exhibit the football which makes the TV companies buzz around it like bees in a honey pot.

Currently Payet is the hottest property in world football. If he can be signed up for the West Ham ambition it is time to make Payet pay for West Ham.

David Griffith

Notes for information.
Below I reproduce the table I created to help me research and compose this piece. It shows the league table according to live matches shown and also shows the attendance of each club.

TV appearance League compared to Stadium Capacity.
Pos. Team. Matches shown. Capacity.
1. Arsenal. 27. – 60,260
2. Manchester United. 26. – 75,653
3. Manchester City. 25. – 55,097
4. Liverpool. 23. – 45,522
5. Chelsea. 22. – 41,798
6. Tottenham. 21. – 36,284
7. Everton. 18. – 39,571
8. Newcastle. 16. – 52,338
9. West Ham. 15. – 34,950
9. Leicester. 15. – 32,312
10. Sunderland. 13. – 48,707
11. Southampton. 12. – 32,505
12. Aston Villa. 11. – 42,660
13. Crystal Palace. 10. – 25,073
13. West Brom. 10. – 26,850
13. Stoke. 10. – 27,740
13. Swansea. 10. – 20,909
14. Norwich. 9. – 27,224
15. Bournemouth. 8. – 11,464
14. Watford. 8. – 21,500

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