I do not need to comment on the game against Arsenal. To me, it was absolutely shocking. We are past the point of analysis and looking at the comments of West Ham fans, there is a consensus about our feelings towards the organisation of the club.
Most fans would be happy if Sullivan and Gold sold the club. Sullivan was looking to get past his agreement with the owners of the London Stadium, where he would have to share a percentage of any profit. By that time, he would have a club in a beautiful stadium, with record crowds, a team of outstanding players and a world class manager.
Instead, in each area I have described, the result has been horrendous. Sullivan wanted at least £600 million for the club. In the Sunday Times Rich List, the club is valued at £350 million, so quite a percentage of the wealth of Sullivan and Gold is made up of their share of West Ham.
What will they be able to sell the club for now with a problematical stadium that the club doesn’t own, players underforming in every area and a manager who will probably be gone by the time you read this article (I live in hope)? So, probably they would have difficulty getting £120 million. In fact, you would say, they have a pig in the poke.
Now, I’m coming to the main point of what I want to say. We regard Sullivan and Gold as two rich individuals who could afford to spend a little of their wealth on the club. In fact, they may have problems we don’t know about. Sullivan is deeply into property. As far as I can gather he owns, for example, the Russell and Bromley store in Oxford Street. I believe he tried to sell it for £55 million but I can’t see that the property was in fact sold. His company is probably heavily invested in other retail properties.
Trying to sell a retail property in the present retail environment is extremely challenging. M &G suspended their property fund last week. Investors are rushing to pull their money from property funds. The result will be a potential crash in the retail property market.
Gold has another challenging problem. His retail business, which largely comprises Ann Summers made a loss of £3.2 million last year. His is also invested in property.
So, this will have a knock on effect at West Ham. They are going to think twice about any cash outlays. They are probably short of cash. That’s why the club borrows money from a company called Retail Media, rather than the owners, who charge 7% interest and are registered in the Virgin Islands. The ownership of this company is opaque. They are going to think twice before shelling out cash to get rid of Pelegrinni.
So, it’s the perfect storm for Sullivan and Gold. The bought players like Fornals and Haller using loans and their value at the moment must be less than half what they paid. In addition, there is the nightmare before us of a drop to the Championship and the loss of most of the revenue. When Sullivan and Gold eat their toast in the morning, they probably think they could be toast in the near future.