Player Analysis

Player Spotlight: James Tomkins

From West Ham United Stats

Player Spotlight: James Tomkins

I’ve heard and read a lot about Phil Jones in the past couple of weeks, and how his versatility is hurting him. The consensus among journalists, supports and ex-players is that the England international needs to settle into one position for club and country before we see the best of him.

This got me thinking.

The general opinion on James Tomkins amongst the opinions I read is that he has the ability to be a top class (world class?) defender one day, but he suffers from inconsistency and concentration errors. This kind of fits with what I have always felt about the academy graduate and his performances.

But after reading about Jones recently, I wondered to myself how much Tomkins’ versatility has hindered his progress. In our Championship season, Tomkins was a regular at centre back, playing to the right of either Winston Reid or Abdoulaye Faye. However, since we regained our Premier League status in 2012, Tomkins has been a bit more of a utility player.

In the past season and a half, Tomkins has made 41 league appearances. 30 of these have been at centre back, 6 at rightback, and 5 (inexplicably) in midfield. On paper, it seems that he has made the vast majority (73%) of his appearances in his preferred position.

However, we all know that centre backs prefer one side or the other. Reid always plays on the left, James Collins always plays on the right. This isn’t just confined to West Ham though. John Terry and Nemanja Vidic have been formidable defenders on the left hand side of the central pairing, while Rio Ferdinand and Per Mertesacker always appear on the right hand side.

Tomkins preference appears to be on the right. When he plays with Reid, he plays there. However, when James Collins (or more recently Roger Johnson) is playing alongside the former England under-21 defender, Tomkins moves across to the left. The logic behind this is seemingly that Tomkins is recognised as a better footballer than the other two (technically speaking), and is seen as being more adaptable to an unfamiliar position.

In the past, Tomkins has been in the side alongside Reid and performing admirably, until Reid is sidelined for a period of time. This tends to result in Collins stepping back into the side alongside Tomkins, and Tomkins moving to the left hand side of the two. Tomkins performance levels then appear to tail off, and when Reid returns from absence, Collins keeps his place in the side.

My belief is that the regular switch in position, however minor on paper, lead to Tomkins struggling to maintain his form.

Head to West Ham United Stats for my full focus on James Tomkins.


Talking Point

What's Happening?

Through the years we have all seen the Hammers go through troubled times. Let’s face it, even in our glory years of Hurst, Moore and Peters, we have never been much better than a mid table top flight team, capable of a good Cup run every now and again. We can also remember many seasons playing in the second tier. I know we must be biased, but seriously, West Ham must have the most loyal and passionate fans in English football? Our club is steeped in tradition and it’s fan base comes from an area in England that is renown for its “gallows humour”. Perhaps that makes us all the more capable of following a side that endures so many ups and downs? Our “Bubbles” song is one of the oldest continuous songs sung on football terraces and we have been playing in Claret and Blue ever since 1899. I will get back to that last remark later in the piece. In the past we had the best academy in football and we played, or tried to play, with a style that was enjoyable to watch. If other clubs fans were to have a “second team” that they liked, there was a good chance it was West Ham. In the main, West Ham fans are traditionalists and even other clubs fans see the values we hold.

These next few months will be absolutely huge for this club. The positive signs are that many of our injured players are now back or due back in the next game or two. The big two of Andy Carroll and Winston Reid will hopefully be the catalyst to changing fortunes? Another positive for us is the fact there are so many other poor teams in the Premier League this season. I certainly can’t remember a year where there were so many? There are seven or eight teams at the moment that in many seasons past, on current form, would already be near relegated.

The negatives are that our team at present, is showing the least amount of fight for the cause, compared to our rivals. The season started with an injury to our “go to man”, some really dodgy refereeing decisions going against us, and some poor finishing. We were keeping our heads above water mainly due to a good looking defence that was pretty tight. Since the injury to Winston Reid everything just seems to have snowballed against the team, and we now see a West Ham side that is completely drained of confidence and a manager who’s tactics are only sustainable to some fans if they are producing results. With the awful football being played and the poor results combined there is a fan surge started that wants the manager and the owners gone. If Sam’s style is also a losing style and he is here next season, the owners will have trouble selling a season ticket for a quid!

And then of course, just a few seasons away, the fans are being told we are moving to the Olympic Stadium. Some are happy that we will be playing in a wonderfully modern stadium with the expectations that we will be in the shop window for huge investment in the club. If we ever want to be a winning club we need a big stadium and rich owners. On the flip side there are the fans concerns that the pitch at the Olympic Stadium is too far away from many of the seats, the viewing will be diminished and the atmosphere sterile. Many just do not want to move away from Upton Park. It has been the spiritual home of our club for over 100 years. Whether we like it or not, even if we are relegated this season, the OS will be our new home. The club has enticed fans with “illusions” of what the new stadium will look like – and most will show a sea of Claret and Blue everywhere! The colours we are famous for since 1899. But now it has come to light that the seats will actually be Black and White? It is too expensive to change the existing seats. This illusion of everything claret and blue, is the blending in of claret and blue branding around the stadium and the supporters all wearing team colours. One thing is for sure, going to watch West Ham in a few seasons time is going to be very different to what we are used to, whatever division we are in. It makes you wonder though. What traditions and values will we have to hold onto in future generations?


West Ham Financial Accounts Published

West Ham United’s turnover grew to a record £89.8m last season and they recorded a profit before interest payments of £1.2m.

After interest payments this equated to a loss of £3.5m. The turnover increased 94% due to our promotion to the Premier League.

Ticket sales grew to £17.9m , Broadcast income to £51.8m, Commercial activities to £13.9m and Retail sales to £6m.

The accounts for the year ending 31st May 2013 released yesterday at Companies house show they spent £26.7m in transfer fees for Matt Jarvis, Mo Diame, James Collins, Alou Diarra and Modibo Maiga. Andy Carroll is not included as a transfer fee in these accounts as he was on loan for that financial period.

An additional note claims that another £27.3m has been spent on transfers since 31st May 2013 to date. The vast majority of this sum will be Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing. The £27.3m has been broken down to £23.4m of transfer fees plus an additional £4m subject to certain events such as appearances & goals etc.

Sullivan and Gold invested another £10.5m of their own money last season. We paid £2.2m in interest on bank loans and accounted for an additional £2.3m in interest on loans from share holders which is rolled up and not paid.

The interest to share holders is charged between 6% and 7% but is deferred until the loans are repaid. £3.4m of interest is now owed to share holders but remains on the balance sheet.

West Ham paid no tax due to recording a loss £3.5m and cumulative tax losses of £122m.

Olympic stadium project costs grew to £1.35m in additional to project costs of £287,000 the season before.

Wages and salaries grew to £49.2m from £34.9m the season before. These figures include non playing staff,

Directors were paid a total of £1.96m with the highest paid director believed to be Karren Brady receiving £1.634m up from £427k the season before. This is believed to have been related to a bonus for winning the Olympic Stadium bid.

Bank loans now total £44.6m while Loans from shareholders total £45.7m. The bank loans were refinanced on 1st July and now due by the 31st December 2016.

Money owed to other clubs from transfers is £13.8m

The accounts confirm West ham borrowed £12.8m from Vibrac Corporation as a pay day loan in 2012 and a further £15m in August 2013. These loans are automatically paid back by the Premier League to Vibrac Corporation from broadcast income. It is believed they attract interest of 10%.

I will continue to analyse the accounts but this is my quick summary

Guest Post

EXCLUSIVE: Guest Post by David Sullivan: "Fans Misunderstand Our Loans"

From David Sullivan, joint chairman of WHU
To: WHTID readers

I do read your site regularly. People seem to misunderstand our loans. On our loans to the club there is a ‘notional interest rate’ as it’s unrealistic if there isn’t, and HMRC might question the loans. However. no interest has been paid or will be paid until the club is solvent/financially self sufficient. It just rolls up as a debt that may or may not ever be paid.

In contrast loans and repayment and interest to the bank have to be paid or the club is declared bankrupt. It is our money that then replaces these loans when they become due to avoid default.

It hurts us when supporters imply we are somehow collecting interest on our loans. In reality we have to put more and more in as the bank loans become due for payment.

Talking Point

It Is Not Just Sam

Guest Post by iRoNcOrK

I write this as a deeply concerned fan, in an effort to be constructive rather than critical. I have thought many times recently that the club really needs “sorting out” and currently everything is pointing to the need for a root and branch review of the whole organisation, top to bottom.

We all know there is a team management issue which has taken up miles of column space on here but I believe we have deeper problems so I don’t want to discuss the merit (?)s of Sam. One of the challenges in any organisation is keeping it fresh and competitive and there is every sign that our club not only has this challenge but is also at a turning point. The question is, will things turn for the better and make us a regular top half club capable, in time, of challenging for a place in Europe or do we face a future of being a regular bottom half club with the inevitable bouts of fighting relegation which the law of averages dictates that you will lose every once in a while?

A perennial problem for shareholders or CEOs is competitiveness. Good, solid performers in any organisation do get stale and though they may do nothing wrong, they often reach a comfort level where they stop driving the organisation forward. Sometimes they also get complacent, where they also start making mistakes, or less than optimal decisions, and the organisation goes into decline.

In the context of West Ham, let’s start at the top. The owners are the chairmen. They can do what they wish with the club and whether they stay or go is their choice. Whether we like them or not, that is probably how it should be in most circumstances. However, Karren Brady needs consideration. She is a very smart and capable lady who the owners have worked with for many years, but is she performing to her best ability now? If I owned the club, I would have to ask myself whether she has become involved in too many outside activities to be able to perform at her absolute maximum level in the interests of the club. If the role was perceived as a part time one in the past, it is certainly not now. A proper full time CEO is needed to get to grips with all the off-field issues which are affecting on field results.

Clearly too many contracts, playing and non-playing, have been entered into without full consideration of the likely effects in differing scenarios. Hence Sam’s compensation is too expensive to sack him, we will never afford Nolan or Carroll, given their contribution levels, in the Championship, together with players who seemingly hardly play. We also have players on contracts with “interesting” clauses,….interesting but not in our interest. A firmer strategy with scenario planning is needed for all contracts and older players.

Looking at some of the comings and goings over the last couple of years we should be forgiven for thinking that we have been regularly manipulated by agents and/or our own manager in the signing of new players. We have brought in far too many who have not played enough games, either because they were simply not good enough anyway or because they were not given a chance. Some of these have played but been paid far too much for their ability level and contribution. It has to stop. The manager, assuming he chooses the players, needs to be held accountable for those he signs. We need a review of our scouting organisation (do we have one to speak of?), so that we may successfully compete with (often smaller) clubs who seem to regularly discover relatively cheap but outstanding performers from both inside and outside the UK. At the very least we need to know much more about players before we sign them.

The club has three training facilities, Chadwell Heath, Rush Green and Little Heath. There needs to be a long term strategy in place to consolidate these in one location and bring the facilities up to modern Premier League standards. This is not visionary and it is not optional if we want to thrive and be successful. After all, the club’s business is the performance of professional athletes. Our performances, injury record and ongoing advances in technology dictate that we should regularly review our facilities, support personnel and treatment regimens. The Andy Carroll debacle alone indicates that. Obviously there is a serious debt issue to resolve before we could take on the costs involved but there should be a plan and there should be a measure of urgency.

We have one of the best academy coaches in the land but the throughput of young players has slowed dramatically so this is another area crying out for a review and new strategy, also linked to scouting, support personnel, facilities and actually giving the youngsters opportunities at the appropriate time.

The club has become something of a laughing stock in terms of its public relations and communications strategy, or lack thereof. The puerile nature of the club’s emails has come in for a lot of criticism recently. Also, delegating implementation of information dissemination to a dyslexic thirteen year old is not the hallmark of a professional organisation and it is quite clear that the club’s relationship with its fans is adversely affected by this on a regular basis.

If you will pardon the pun, these issues are not indicative of a CEO with her eye on the ball and there are no doubt other matters of serious concern. Often, and I would venture in this case, it is better to bring someone from outside the organisation to review current practices with fresh eyes. Maybe it needs a small team with both football and non-football experience to be brought in, for a limited time, to examine everything the club does – and how it does it – and then come up with recommendations to improve. Maybe it just needs a full time, hands-on CEO who is not trying to juggle too many balls at once in the wider society.

There will be many good things going on inside the club and these need to be not only reinforced but improved upon as well. However, it is quite clear that there are too many areas of the club not performing as they should and the organisational structure is a long way from optimal.

We have too many pressing issues. Karren Brady needs to refocus her attention on West Ham or step aside. The club desperately needs leadership, and leaders must be accountable.

Perhaps Messrs. Gold and Sullivan should appoint a competent and full time CEO to run the club and become less hands on themselves, sit back and enjoy being fans. It may increase their objectivity as their current approach is not working.

If we were flying high it would not be a problem. When we look at all the challenges that are now arising, together with the potential turmoil and indeed opportunities of the Olympic Stadium on the horizon, something has to change, and change fast.


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