News

West Ham Publish Financial Results

The results have just been published for the year ending 31st May 2018.

Turnover was down for the year at £175m, a reduction of £8m. The majority of this was from broadcasting rights at £118m (slightly less than the previous year as our position dropped to 13th from 11th) and match receipts were £24m. The operational profit has dropped to £35m from £56m

Average league attendances (or let’s say tickets bought) were 57,000, as opposed to 35,000 at the Boleyn.

The accounts are littered with references that the figures are based on the company as a going concern (which is a negative in accounting terms), due to uncertainties about income, the principal risk being that of being relegated. At one point it is stated, ‘The retention of our standing in 2018/9 is an absolute necessity.’

Employment costs rose to £106m from £95m. Karren Brady received £898,000 and a further £438,00 as a consultancy fee for negotiating the 10% sale of shares to Albert ‘Tripp’ Smith, who also provided a £10m interest-free loan.

The shareholders did not receive a dividend, but did receive interest payments amounting to £4.5m on their £45m loan, although it would appear that included unpaid interest from previous years, as the loan rate is 4-4.5%.

There is still an ongoing investigation by HMRC regarding payments made to agents.

The club took further short-term loans of £23m from Rights and Media Ltd to finance the cost of new players. Rights and Media Ltd have made loans over the years to West Ham and other clubs such as Everton, Southampton, Fulham and Reading. Their director used to be an Irish jig dancer, but the loans actually come from a company called Vibrac Corporation, based in the British Virgin Islands. Nobody knows who finances that company.

So, I think we can say that the owners take a considerable risk, as everything can start falling apart if the club is relegated. So, when we lost our first four games, they must have been extremely worried.

Also, they have not tried to stiff the fans and the income from the 57,000 is relatively the same as it was at The Boleyn. We know there are many concessions.

Bearing in mind the risks involved and the fact that after the summer of 2021, a sale would not trigger an additional payment to the owners of the stadium, this may be a target date for a sale.


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Birmingham

Blast from the past

West Ham United have met Birmingham City in the FA Cup on three previous occasions. The second of these meetings was in the third round at Upton Park in front of 31,056 on the 9th January 1965. Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames were number one with ‘Yeh Yeh’ and Mary Poppins was in UK cinemas as the Hammers emerged victorious against the Blues with a 4-2 win.

Denis Thwaites gave the Blues the lead in the sixth minute before Alec Jackson doubled the visitors’ lead when scoring direct from a corner. Thwaites was murdered, aged 70, along with his wife Elaine in the 2015 Sousse attacks in Tunisia. West Ham, who were without skipper Bobby Moore, hit the post through Geoff Hurst but pulled one back before half-time when Johnny ‘Budgie’ Byrne touched home Johnny Sissons’ cross.

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The Hammers, playing the role of cup holders, equalised in this all-First Division tie when Hurst (pictured above in this match against the Blues) converted a cross from Alan Sealey. Sir Geoff completed the comeback with his second goal before Sissons made the game safe. The goals from this match can be viewed in the video below.

The Hammers were knocked out in the fourth round, losing 1-0 at home to Chelsea. Martin Peters was voted Hammer of the Year, with Bobby Moore runner-up.

West Ham United: Jim Standen, John Bond, Ken Brown, Martin Peters, Alan Sealey, Eddie Bovington, Ronnie Boyce, Johnny Sissons, Tony Scott, Geoff Hurst, Johnny Byrne.

Aside from this third round victory in 1965, West Ham’s remaining FA Cup record against Birmingham is as follows:
1933 – West Ham 4-0 Birmingham (Quarter-Final)
1984 – Birmingham 3-0 West Ham (5th round)

Club Connections

A large group of players have turned out for West Ham United and Birmingham City. Divided by playing position, they include:

Goalkeepers – Joe Hart, Darren Randolph, Les Sealey.

Defenders – Carl Jenkinson, David Burrows, Joe Gallagher, Gary Breen, Jonathan Spector, Matthew Upson, Julian Dicks, Bob Fairman, Roger Johnson, Kenny Brown.

Midfielders – David Bentley, Michael Carrick, Billy Guest, Alan Curbishley, Michael Hughes, George Parris, Harry Hooper, Hayden Mullins, Papa Bouba Diop, Ravel Morrison, Nigel Quashie, Stan Lazaridis, Lee Bowyer, Mark Ward, Billy Thirlaway.

Strikers – Eamonn Dolan, Tony Cottee, Jim Barrett Jr, Robert Hall, Jimmy Bloomfield, Mike Newell, Steve Whitton, John Burton, Mauro Zarate, Dave Mangnall, David Speedie, Sam Small.

John Bond and Chris Hughton played for West Ham and managed Birmingham. Lou Macari and Gianfranco Zola have managed both clubs. Harry Redknapp played for the Hammers and managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on an England international right-back who spent a spell on loan at Birmingham from the Hammers. Gary Charles was born in Newham on 13th April 1970 and began his career with Clapton before moving to Nottingham Forest, making his league debut in 1987. He spent a loan spell at Leicester in 1989 and won two England caps in 1991, against New Zealand and Malaysia. He won the Full Members’ Cup in 1992 but moved to Derby in the summer of 1993 before returning to the Premier League with Aston Villa in January 1995. He won the League Cup with Villa in 1996.

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Charles moved to Portugal in January 1999, signing for Benfica before Harry Redknapp swooped to sign him for West Ham United for £1.2m in October 1999. The 29-year-old made his Hammers debut in a 3-2 League Cup fourth round victory at Birmingham on 30th November 1999 but had to be withdrawn due to injury. He made his return on 5th February 2000 but scored a last-gasp own goal as the Irons lost 2-1 at Southampton. Charles made his home debut a week later in the famous 5-4 win over Bradford, his third and final start for the club. He made two sub appearances before the end of the 1999/2000 season, both in mid-April in 2-1 wins over Newcastle at home and away to former club Derby. Charles’ sixth and final appearance for West Ham was again as a substitute in a 1-0 home defeat to another former club, Leicester, on 23rd August 2000.

Charles dropped down to the second tier to join Birmingham on loan in September 2000, making his debut in a 1-1 draw at West Brom on 17th September 2000. He made his home debut six days later in a 2-0 win over Tranmere but was affected by hamstring problems and made his third and final appearance for the club in a 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace on 14th October 2000. He subsequently featured regularly for the Hammers’ reserves but was hampered by a number of niggling injuries and was forced to retire in the summer of 2002 due to injury.

Charles struggled with alcoholism during the latter stages of his career and after he retired – he was jailed in January 2004 for a series of drunken incidents in his car and was imprisoned again in December 2006 for threatening a bouncer while drunk – he was serving a suspended sentence at the time for attacking a woman at a taxi rank. He was named assistant manager at Lincoln in October 2011 and has since been Director of Football at Nottingham University. He was named manager of National League North side Nuneaton Town in March 2018 but was replaced three months later. Now 48, Charles runs his own Midlands-based clinic, GCSports Care, for professionals with addiction problems and other off-field issues.

Referee

Saturday’s referee will be Roger East; the Wiltshire-based official has been taking charge of Premier League fixtures since 2012 but has only taken charge of six previous West Ham matches in the top flight, those being the 1-1 home draw with Stoke in April 2015, the 3-2 home defeat to Leicester in March 2017, the 0-0 draw with Everton the following month, our 1-0 home win over Swansea in September 2017 and our 3-1 defeat at Brighton last February. He was most recently in charge of the Hammers for our 4-2 win over Burnley in November.

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The 53-year-old has also refereed the Hammers in the FA Cup, for the fourth round replay win over Liverpool in February 2016 and for the 2-1 quarter-final replay defeat to Manchester United in April of the same year. He also sent off Portsmouth’s Liam Lawrence and West Ham’s Frederic Piquionne in the Irons’ 4-3 home win over Pompey in September 2011. Lee Probert will be the VAR official for Saturday’s match.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United have Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Chicharito on the injury list.

Birmingham boss Garry Monk is hopeful that defender Kristian Pedersen can return to the side but forward Omar Bogle looks set to miss out. The Blues are on a five-game unbeaten run in the Championship and have picked up eight points from a possible 12 over the Christmas period.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Antonio, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Diangana, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass; Arnautovic, Perez.

Possible Birmingham City XI: Camp; Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin; Jota, Gardner, Kleftenbeld, Maghoma; Jutkiewicz, Adams.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


Dawud Marsh's Photo Diary

Brighton Photo Diary

Wishing everyone here a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. Here’s hoping for some better results to end the season on a higher note and hopefully you will all enjoy my photo diary posts in 2019.


Match Report

Cicero Reincarnated

I am Marcus Tullius Cicero and I died over two thousand years ago. My last appearance in the Forum was when my head and hands were nailed separately to the Rostra, after I had been red carded by Mark Anthony.

I was invited to attend a game at the Londinium Stadium, where I was expecting to watch discus, javelin and running competitions, but , instead, watched two teams playing a new game , called football.

It reminded me of a game we had , called Harpastum. After sacrificing a sheep to Mars, the intestines would be blown up and then the teams would kick it around., whilst engaging in different forms of violence to prevent the opponents from getting to the ball. So nothing much has changed there.

The football game also reminded me of the gladiatorial contests I witnessed in the Colosseum. Although the participants in football are not armed with weapons, the plebeians seated around the Londinium Stadium shouted and sang encouragements and would appear to be happy if the opposition were hacked to death. They referred to their team as ‘The Ferra’.

There was a more salubrious area, reserved for the patricians and the main patrician watched the event behind a glass screen to prevent his assassination, presumably by a pilum (spear).

Apparently, each of the centurions engaged in the battle earned huge amounts of money. But, I reminded my host that the charioteer, Diocles earned 35 million sesterces, which in modern money is about 7 billion pounds, based on the silver content. There was also a gladiator, called Tetraites, who always won the league, with the rest of the league being dead at the end of the season.

A character called Pellegrini watched the game from a huge area on the edge of the pitch. I noticed Pellegrini had a Roman nose and I am sure I saw him the in the Forum just the other day. He reminded me of Julius Caesar in the way he urged on his men to battle.

I was informed about the rudimentary rules of the game and it seemed the centurions from the claret and blue army had just as limited an idea of the rules as myself, as a man called a referee had to be present. When gladiators fought, we didn’t need such a person, except at the end when the crowd indicated by the use of the thumbs whether the defeated gladiator would live or die.

Apparently, our claret and blue army had marched to Burnley ,which is a few leagues north of Mamucium, a few days previously, where it’s no wonder they were too tired to engage in battle and lost badly. Some blamed the quartermaster for a late arrival from a previous battle at Southampton.

West Ham seemed to start slowly and Brighton surely had more men on the pitch, or, it might have seemed that because of their bright yellow costumes. Philipus Andersus seemed full of tricks, but none seemed to work. Brighton appeared to be the better organised and their supporters who numbered but two thousand outsang the West Ham supporters, who must largely comprise somnambulists.

I must say the West Ham centurions looked as if they had never fought a battle together and their ball passing was atrocious. However, to give them their due, they did seem to get the better of Brighton as the game progressed and Brighton seemed to lack bite in front of goal.

Overall, my impression was this was a dull gamer and this belief was reinforced by a supporter who shouted , ‘This is duller than Brexit’, whatever that meant.

In the second half, Pilipus had a good run where he threaded his way through the defence, but his shot was just wide. Then, disaster struck. I had never seen a corner before and it would appear the West Ham players were just as naïve. Twice, within a short period, Brighton scored from corners, once when the goalkeeper Fabulus only manage to punch a ball out to a Brighton player and the other time when West Ham failed to cover a thing called their far post.

Then, the brilliance of Pellegrini shone through. He brought on Antonius and Noblus and the immediately the injected what we always teach in the Roman army – ENERGY, INTENSITY and CONFIDENCE. West Ham were an army transformed. Noblus made a great pass to Marcus Arnautus and he scored superbly and then a couple of minutes later Antonius got to the byline and crossed to Marcus who scored again. It was a great thing for him because he shall have his confidence back, but hopefully it won’t be for the blue army of Chelsea.

Anyway, each army kept its honour and withdrew from the battlefield with honours even. I decided I wouldn’t go to the baths and cut my wrists, but look forward to the next game.
Felix novus annus.

Please check back after the match for the results.


The Blind Hammer Column

Reflections on Brighton

Blind Hammer reflects on an important comeback.

Pellegrini has got so much right recently it seems impertinent, if not sacrilegious to question his judgements here.

Nevertheless I was concerned as soon as I heard the team against Brighton, in my case just as I was scrambling into my seat seconds before kick-off.

I was surprise that Carroll was partnering Arnautovic up front.

This was Carroll’s first start in a year. He last started against a controversially exhausted West Bromwich Albion, forced to play twice whilst West Ham had enjoyed time off.

Carroll’s crucial 2 goals then probably sealed Pardew’s fate and reinforced West Ham’s climb to relative safety.

Sadly Carroll’s performances this year are not yet reminiscent of his impact in his pomp. There is more of a lumbering John Carew in his latter days now.

Hopefully Carroll’s best days are not past. For now I am more concerned about his impact on the team’s structure.

. Playing as a pivot in front of Arnautovic who took up a number 10 role, he was rarely effective.
He was unable to exert pressure on two of Brighton’s most impressive performers, Duffy and Dunk. West Ham appeared then, geared to play to Brighton’s strengths rather than weaknesses.

More crucially this formation seemed to stifle Arnautovic. The plan was to use Felipe Anderson and Robert Snodgrass on the wings to support Arnautovic in a deeper role.

This not only withdrew Arnautovic from his most menacing role, it also allowed Brighton to unexpectedly dominate large parts of the first half as they outnumbered West Ham in midfield.

By half time I wanted Carroll off, and wanted Noble or possibly Antonio on to provide pressure on Brighton’s midfield dominance.

Whilst Carroll’s withdrawal surprised nobody, I was disappointed with the introduction of Perez.

Perez did nothing to redress our lack of competitiveness in midfield. I could detect no serious contribution from Perez throughout the second half. I felt that Antonio in particular would have relieved the pressure on Anderson much earlier.

Two things are becoming increasingly clear. The first is that Anderson and Rice, despite their encouraging fitness and robustness both now need a rest. If they are to perform against Arsenal they need time to recharge.

The second is that West Ham has an ongoing problem with crosses, both in open play and from set pieces. I have rarely felt more nervous when an opposition team won a corner against us as I did last night. My in stadium commentator predicted Brighton’s breaching of our defence via a corner long before they actually scored. It is a priority for Pellegrini to coach better defence from set pieces.

Pellegrini’s introduction of Noble and Antonio was in the event game transforming. Whilst I was instantly relieved that Antonio and Noble had finally entered the fray, I still felt that either should have replaced Carroll at half time.

Arnautovic, restored at the head of our attack showed how he can be a match saver. It is just a shame he could not be a match winner. Nevertheless Pellegrini deserves credit for reinstating Arnautovic to his most lethal role, and his introduction of Noble and Antonio definitely saved us from defeat.

My feeling though is that his reliance on Carroll in the first half, and Perez in the second half probably allowed Brighton to steal a point.

COYI
David Griffith


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