The price of Premier League survival

West Ham are believed to have paid about £24.5m in initial transfer fees this summer transfer window for the seven signings but that amount could rise to £37m based on certain conditions such as appearances, goals and the Hammers final league position this season. Add to this a massive £49m wages and national insurance we have committed to over the next four to five years for the new recruits, agents fees are thought to add another £4m to the total bill.

The annual budget for players wages is thought to have now reached £57m leaving just £1m before the Premier League Financial Fair Play limit is reached for this season.

Although West Ham received over £73m from TV income last season and are likely to pass £110m turnover when figures are released next January for last season there is likely to be a short fall with the recent huge investment in signings. I wouldn’t be surprised if David Sullivan and David Gold injected more money to help balance the books this season after already loaning £45.7m in the form of share holder loans plus another £25.5m for shares from the Icelandics on the condition they loaned the money back to the club.

The cost of staying in the Premier League have never be higher but the consequences of relegation before we move to the Olympic Stadium would be catastrophic at this stage.

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Your Questions Please

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Player News

Kevin Nolan Out Until November

In the last hour several sources are reporting that Kevin Nolan’s shoulder injury is worse than feared and that he will be out for around two months. The injury curse that has afflicted Upton Park for some time now shows no sign of being lifted.

I have little doubt that some people will greet this news as a silver lining, but I am not sure they should be so pleased. Whatever his faults, Nolan delivers goals from midfield and has done so consistently throughout his career. I thought he had a decent game against Spurs as well.

However, having said that I think that after Zarate’s performance yesterday there would have been a revolution if Nolan were to return in place of Zarate next weekend. We are well served in midfield at the moment and have plenty of cover, and it’s not often you can say that about West Ham. Apart from Zarate we also have Ravel Morrison and Mo Diame who can fit into that role.


In other news Carlton Cole is reportedly interesting Bournemouth who are said to be weighing up a £1 million bid. Although we have quite a few strikers on our books at the moment, and he will inevitably drop down the pecking order, I wonder whether he would really be interested in dropping down to play for a club which is unlikely ever to seriously challenge for promotion to the Premier League. I suppose stranger things have happened. But I for one would be sad to see him go.

Player Analysis

Let's Recognise the Loyalty of Carlton Cole

I saw this post on the Stop! Hammertime! Facebook Page and thought it deserved a wider audience. It’s by Jim Dean Dolan, who wants to applaud the loyalty of Carlton Cole.

You hear the question “Where’s the loyalty in football nowadays?” and with good reason. The season we were relegated, Scott Parker was the pride of the East End. He was every West Ham fan’s hero and could do no wrong. I’d wager he could ask for the shirt off of any fan’s back and get it within seconds. We loved him and we thought he’d forever be a legend to us. However, he was given an easy way out of the Championship as well as European football with Spurs and was gone in a flash.

“Where’s the loyalty in football nowadays?” we’d ask ourselves again. Conversely, Carlton Cole was offered £60k a week to transfer to Stoke. He turned it down flat stating “It was us, the players, who got us into this mess so it’s down to the players to get us out of it.” Little did we know but not only did he turn down a pay rise to leave but he also took a 50% pay cut to stay and fight the good fight.

In that season in the Championship he scored 15 goals. Correct me if I’m wrong but that made him joint top goal scorer with Nolan. Those goals – including one in the playoff final – ensured an immediate return to the Premier League.

On our return to the top flight he found himself playing second fiddle…actually probably fourth fiddle, but he stayed. He stayed to be with the club he loves as much as you and I do. Eventually he was released but, as soon as our new, improved and upgraded striker was injured he was recalled back into the fold and returned gladly – although a little out of shape.

And so it has been that whenever the most recent flavour of the month falls off a barstool or twists their ankle on the way out of a kebab shop, Carlton is there to step up.

Last year in the limited chances he had, he had the eighth best goals:minutes ratio in the entire Premier League. Whenever we’ve needed him most, he’s stepped up.

Consider the above. Consider the comments about Cole on this page. And consider: Where’s the loyalty in football nowadays?

Is he frustratingly inconsistent? Yes! Do we wish he’d score more frequently? Yes! Do we wish he’d learn to control a ball? F*** yes!

But does he also deserve a lot more respect than some give him? Yes. Yes he does. I don’t think he’s a world beater. I don’t think the history books are going to have volumes on the great Carlton Cole. But he plays for us and he’s ONE of us! When we’ve needed him, he’s been there. So before wishing him off for the next mercenary, please take a moment to remember that.

Where is the loyalty in football nowadays?

Quite. There aren’t many Carltons left in top flight football nowadays.

Match Preview

Next Up: Sheffield United

After the 3-1 win away at Palace there is at last a "feel good factor” about being a West Ham supporter. Entertaining football, goals and although it is early doors, some really exciting talent amongst our new signings. Kouyate in particular, has been outstanding in both games he has played for the club. Just two games into what will be a long hard season, perhaps we should not be getting too carried away, but the signs are very encouraging.

Under normal circumstances, Tuesdays match against Sheffield United should have been an underwhelming midweek cup encounter that at best offered West Ham an opportunity to blood some of our fringe players who may be in need of a run. The bigger picture reveals an opportunity to go one step further than last season and deliver a Wembley Cup final for the club. Prior to 2007, the last time these two teams met, there was no history of trouble between the two clubs or any major disturbances between its supporters. Geographically we are not rivals and yet this game throws up the newest football grudge match in England. The 2006/7 season and the “Tevez affair” has been well documented and is etched in the memories of both West Ham and Sheffield United supporters. Neither side won. The former paid the latter an extraordinary amount of money which appears to have been wasted, and the latter not only got relegated but has slid down a further division since. From our view “the Blades” were an awful football side that season and deserved to go down. Carlos Tevez did not single-handedly save us from relegation and the Premier League deemed a club fine sufficient for a contractual misdemeanour. From Sheffield United’s view, West Ham should have been handed a points deduction that would have sent us down and saved them. Which ever way either set of fans look at it, West Ham have been relegated since that season and returned – Sheffield United have slipped to further depths since the 2007 relegation.

In my half a century of following West Ham I have grown up disliking only a handful of clubs. Millwall, Spurs and Manchester United are top of the list but to be honest I never thought Sheffield United would ever get a mention. The whole scenario of “Tevezgate” has now seen both sets of supporters looking forward to the two teams meeting again for the first time since the legal battle. From what I have heard the whole away end of the Sir Trevor Brooking stand lower tier has been booked for our Northern “friends” and West Ham in turn are offering ten quid tickets to try and ensure somewhere near a full house. I am sure both sets of supporters will be singing a variety of songs and ditties composed especially for the occasion. There are some reports that Carlos Tevez masks have sold out as West Ham fans look to have some fun at our opponents expense. However, early reports suggest the away end might not be as packed out as initially thought?

Back onto the pitch and Sheffield United now ply their trade in the third tier of English football. They currently sit 12th with two wins and two defeats from their four matches played this season. Due to their new found lowly status they had to play in the first round of this cup competition where they beat Mansfield 2-1. The two clubs have met 82 times previously with West Ham’s record showing 29W, 20D and 33L with exactly half the games played at Upton Park. Whilst home ground advantage has been important in this fixture in the past it is interesting to note that each side has scored exactly 134 goals against each other since the first fixture back in 1924.

I think we need a Ouija board if trying to guess what side Sam will put out for this one. Despite many Hammers supporters demanding the Blades be put to the sword, I very much doubt he will risk too many first team regulars. My guess is that we will see a far more attacking team than usual in a 3/5/2 formation with Valencia and Sakho up front and Poyet, Morrison, Burke and Jenkinson getting much needed game time. What will be interesting is whether this new found rivalry between Sheffield United and West Ham will fester and grow over the years or whether it will die a quick death after this match? Much like our dislike for Spurs which is much more sided from our point of view, I think this rivalry is much more important to Sheffield United than West Ham. Either way, from a West Ham perspective I don’t see this grudge match transcending much more than past this one off fixture. Or am I wrong?

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