Is a league cup run really worth it?

I must stress I am writing this article from a purely financial basis rather than a football perspective before you shout me down. But as we all know football is now a money driven business whether we like it or not.

As the money rewards for the Premier league success or just survival get greater and greater the rewards for success in the Capital One League Cup reduce lesser and lesser from a financial perspective.

In the Second round of the Capital One League Cup this season we played Cheltenham at the Boleyn ground with an attendance of 23,440. Assuming an average ticket price of £10 that makes a total gate of £234,400. However each team gets 45% of the gate with the remaining 10% going to the Football league. Our approximate cut of the gate was £105,000 not including our ground expenses of paying staff, stewards, policing and the flood lights electricity bill.

In the third round of the Capital One League Cup against Cardiff City prices rose to £15 for a reduced attendance of 18,611 at the Boleyn ground bringing an approximate gate of £279,165. Again we only get to keep 45% of that so around £125,000 was banked less our ground expenses.

West Ham play Burnley away in the fourth round on Tuesday 29th October. Although Turf Moor holds a capacity of 22,546 they have an average gate of just 13,000 and their last Capital One match against Nottingham Forest in September bought in a crowd of just 6,405 at £15 per adult ticket. At those reduced numbers our 45% of the Gate could be around £43,000 for the fourth round,

The Capital One League Cup prize money is also very modest with the winners receiving £100,000, the runners up £50,000 and the two losing semi finalists get £25,000 each.

Sky bought the Football League TV rights for 3 years in 2012 for £195m but this is part of a much larger package including Football league games plus Capital One Cup and Johnston Paint Trophy games. Sky get 75 matches from the Football league including the Play off finals. Even this £195m deal was a £69m drop from the one football league negotiated in 2009.

The Sky TV rights for The Capital One Cup include just 15 games 5 of which include the two legged semi finals and the final itself. Although not published the TV facility fee for having your league cup game shown on Sky is thought to be a similar amount we received for Championship games which is £100,000 for a home game and £10,000 for an away game.

When you factor premier league player’s appearance fees, win and goal bonuses you start to wonder whether it is financially worth it in the early rounds which probably explains one of the reason that Premier league club’s often field a team of youngsters in the early rounds.

Only the league cup finalists earn significant income that would make a difference to a premier league club.

Each finalist earns £250,000 of TV income for the Wembley final plus 45% of the gate money which with a crowd of 90,000 assuming an average of £50 per ticket would bring £2 million to each team.

The Capital One League Cup winner qualifies for the UEFA Europa league whose prize money can be found below in Euros.

UEFA Prize Money

Group stage participation in the Europa League awards a base fee of €1.3 million. A victory in the group pays €200,000 and a draw €100,000. Also, each group winner earns €400,000 and each runner-up €200,000. Reaching the knock-out stage triggers additional bonuses: €200,000 for the round of 32 teams, €350,000 for the round of 16 teams, €450,000 for the quarter-finals and €1 million for the semi-finals. The losing finalists receive €2.5 million and the champions get €5 million.

Premier League Money

As for a comparison with the prize money for the Premier League it pales into insignificance. This season around £1.7bn will be split by the 20 Premier League clubs. I plan a future article to cover this in detail but roughly speaking each premier league club will get £42m guaranteed as a basic award. Every game shown on Sky or BT Sports will be worth £1.2m to each club and every position in the league will be worth £2.1m per place.

So if we are going to have a cup run can we make sure we win it!


The Lies We Tell

After listening to different sad tales of my boyhood growing up supporting West Ham, my wife suggested I share a couple of my earlier tales as at least she finds them amusing. Especially the lies we tell to do something we love.

My non football loving dad was nagged to take me to Upton Park for a couple of years until I finally got to see West Ham play at home to Burnley in 1967. I left the Boleyn that day completely hooked. Me being little, everything was so big and noisy at that game and I just loved it! I was eleven and for the next year lied to my parents about what I was doing on Saturdays. They thought I was playing at a friends house whilst I was taking myself off to West Ham for all home games and the other weeks I was going off to watch the reserves. Good job I was earning my “pocket money” – collecting Littlewoods Pools football coupons on a Thursday night, because there was no other way to afford my addiction. After 12 months I could not keep the excitement I was experiencing at games inside me – I had to find another excuse, and one where I could tell everyone about the mighty Hammers.

So, I did what any ingenious and desperate kid would do. I invented the “going to the game with a mate and his dad” excuse. So now my dad would drop me off closer to the bus stop I needed to be at, whilst his son walked off to a nearby house to catch a lift with his imaginary “friends”. A friendly wave goodbye as I walked away to “my friends” house was all that was needed as my parents trust in me was left waving in the wind. Now I could go to all games (with my mate and his dad), and I could tell everyone about it! I could even stand in the same place behind the North Bank goal and when The Big Match cameras were there I could try and point myself out to mum and dad on Sunday afternoon. Being quite small as a kid for me meant getting to the front of the North Bank queue really early to ensure getting down the front behind the goal. An eleven year old, on his own in the East End was starting to learn “street smart” on his own as he trekked by bus and then by train every week to games. Bobby Moore always took the left hand post at opposition corners and I was not sure whether he was winking at just me, or all the kids that stood behind that goal, before the corner kick was taken. Gary Sprake the Leeds goalie, actually gave me a chewing gum when I asked him, well he threw it at me if I am honest.

One match against Man Utd I decided I needed to be there REALLY early – and so I was. But the crowd and the crush a half an hour before gates opened had me with my feet off the ground and out of control as the crush took control. People were passing me by the dozens as I stayed suspended in the air and out of control and by the time I got onto the ground, and into the ground, all the spots at the front were taken. So that day I found my new favourite spot – a stanchion, some six yards back from the goal, which I stood at for the next four seasons. I remember the enormous queues at Upton Park Station after games and thinking to myself that I should hold back before joining them to get home. One day to let time pass I went into the pet shop on Green St and bought myself a pet white mouse that I kept under my bed for several days until one day he escaped. I remember hearing my mum tell my dad that our cat had caught a mouse in the house and that she didn’t think wild mice were white? Oops!

I remember a night match against Burnley in 1968 where we won 5-0. We went top of the League for the first time in our history and I tagged onto the waves that did the memorable knees up mother brown down Green St that night – as a 12yo on his own I still don’t know how I got away with that one? There are so many stories to tell I would bore you to death! But for any of you with kids, just remember how powerful an experience a great match can be with little ones. Once hooked they will almost certainly live with the same passion for our great club for the rest of their lives.

Talking Point

Sam Allardichi: Tactical Genius

By Brian Jones

The fact that Sam changed the tactics and brought in Plan B was more surprising than the result on Saturday. Especially as he has doggedly kept to his usual approach of relying on a target man, with the resultant long balls and high crosses. The match raises a number of interesting questions:
A number of people in different threads have commented along the lines of “Can’t wait for Carroll to get back” and “We can do even better with Carroll”, etc. But do we need him? Can we play more games with attacking midfields, and is this a strategy that suits our players like Vaz, Morrison, Joe Cole and Downing, much more than the target man approach? The 4-6 formation seemed much more difficult to cope with for the opposition than our usual hit to the wing, cross the ball and hope for the best. We are too predictable with the target man plan and Sam himself pointed out the unpredictability of the 4-6 with different midfielders running at the Spurs defence at different times. How useful will 4-6 be against other teams? Was it simply what we needed to do against Spurs and won’t work against City?
Further, is this the new Sam? A foxy tactician who can out think the opposition coach? Or will he go back to Plan A against City, because it’s what he knows best? If Carroll is fit again will we go back to Plan A week in week out or will Sam have the confidence to leave him out and do something different? Will it be back to James Collins hoofing it up field for Carroll to nod down to Nolan?

I know what I would prefer – what about the rest of you?

Player Performance Results

Results: Player Performances v Spurs

A first ever top place finish for Sam Allardichio (as he shall henceforth be called), and well deserved too. A tactical genius?

Match Report

The Spurs Monstering: It was worth the 14 years of waiting

I was very fortunate to be one of over 3,000 West Ham fans at White Hart Lane on Sunday to witness our historic 3-0 win over our London arch rivals Tottenham.

How Sky did not pick our game as their live game over West Brom v Arsenal is beyond me!

We had not won at White Hart Lane since 24th April 1999 when Ian Wright & Marc Keller goals put us two nil up before David Ginola grabbed a consolation goal.

I say I was fortunate but not as fortunate of the 3,000 well behaved West Ham fans having a well humored party at Tottenham’s expense in the away end. I was in a box with my best friend & fellow season ticket holder John, very close to the Spurs home supporters but we were certainly not alone, by my estimation over 70% of guests in the boxes were hammers!

I am sure the media expected today’s headlines to be all about West Ham & Spurs fans behaviour but instead there are stories of the marvel of Sam Allardyce’s Plan B, the world class centre back Winston Reid and the young prodigy Ravel Morrison and his excellent solo goal.

Before the game we were warned in the boxes by Spurs officials not to openly celebrate any West ham goals and that there would be zero tolerance on use of the Y word. However a steward said that Spurs fans would get one written warning before being arrested while West ham fans would be arrested on the first offence. So much for equality!

From kick off West ham seemed to have the desire and we were playing it like a London derby whilst Tottenham players many of which are new to London seemed unaware of the passion and importance of this fixture. We held our own in the first half and stopped them playing their game which frustrated them. Even Jermain Defoe couldn’t put one over us this time.

When the first goal went in courtesy of Winston Reid on the 66th minute I immediately ran into the box with my fellow hammer John to jump up and down with the blinds drawn down out of site of the furious Spurs fans feet away from us. As an added bonus Winston is also in my Premier League fantasy team so I was grateful for the 15 points he bagged me too.

Just 6 minutes later after we had just taken our seats again we ran back into the box to celebrate a very fortunate Vaz Te goal. It was now two nil to the Cockney boys!

By now Spurs fans were leaving their seats in droves as West Ham fans sung ‘Is there a fire drill?’

But the best was yet to come and 7 minutes after Vaz Te’s goal we got Ravel Morrison’s amazing solo effort.

I hadn’t even made it back into my seat for this goal I was standing in the doorway of the box so I could celebrate this one properly as most of the Spurs fans had left by that point.

When full time came the West ham fans erupted with celebration in a ground largely devoid of Spurs fans. It was a magical experience which will go down in West Ham folk law.

Like tall fish stories I am sure it will be exaggerated & embellished over the years but that’s all part of the West Ham legend.

On the fans behaviour side, I spoke to a senior Spurs steward after the game. He said the West Ham fans had been well behaved and there were no reported incidents of racist chanting, songs or gestures like last year. There were a couple minor issues relating to drinking and two smoke bombs were let off but I am sure we can be forgiven for those small misdemeanors considering the result.

Spurs fans did not fare so well. Tens of thousands broke into song in defiance singing ‘Were Sing what we what!” followed by’ the ‘Y Word Army’ three times plus the Jermain Defoe Y word song twice
A Spurs steward told me that the police couldn’t be expected to arrest 20,000 Spurs fans but I understand one Spurs fan was arrested at half time in what was seen as a token gesture by the police to make an example of someone.

West Ham fans were completely surrounded by police in every isle during the game but they were not visible around the rest of the ground where the Spurs fans sung freely.

Before the game I put a £10 bet for a West ham win at 7/1, while collecting my £70 winnings in the queue I met a guy who put on £1 at 150/1 for a 3-0 win!

Later on Sunday evening while passing Liverpool street on our way home we found the West Ham fans in good spirits still celebrating in the Woodins Shades pub off Bishopsgate. They were still surrounded by police with video cameras filming their every move singing ‘Sit down if you love West Ham’ as they sat on the pavement with their beer looking slightly worst for wear.

A great day was had by all although my head slightly hurts this morning. Our West Ham players and fans were a credit to us and it was one of those rare fantastic days that being a West Ham fan is all about.

Sean & John at White Hart Lane

John & Myself post match at White Hart Lane

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