Nigel Kahn’s Column

*NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for the Arsenal match is now open HERE. You have until 12.01pm on Saturday lunchtime to enter your team. If you haven’t signed up for the new site yet, please do so HERE.

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la

When the day is dawning’
On a West Ham Saturday morning’
How I long to be there
With the team who’s playing for me there
Every other ground, where I watch them play
Is twice as pretty as where my club is at

Is this the way to the next level?
Every game I’m sitting in my seat now
Dreaming dreams of the Next level
While all the tourists sit next to me
Is this the way to the next level
I’m still waiting like an idiot now
Cryin’ over the next level
Hating Karren who lied to me

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Hating Karren who lied to me

If a week is a long time in politics, then five days is a long time as a West Ham fan at the moment. Believe it or not, I like to plan the article I hope to present to you all but with all the goings at the moment its been hard to keep up with trying to present an article that is up to date as such when you read it.

The start of any season always brings the excitement that at last, the phoney news season is over, and we can, at last, get back to talking about the most important reason we support the club. Football. Sometimes I think fans can get so wrapped up in the off-field soap opera that is West Ham that they forget it is a football club.

The short close season was mired by the fact the club had no income to put into transfers and had to sell players to be able to buy anyone. Quite how has it come to this position that just four seasons into ‘project next level’ and the finances the move will bring that the club is skint & on its uppers, having to sell anything that moves to afford new blood to replace the fairly new blood that was just two seasons ago being hailed as the greatest squad in the club’s history by some.

Frankly, if you don’t know how we got to be in this situation then you have done well to avoid the club’s social media commentators (yes me as well), all with their take as to why and how. The number of fans we have that are accountants now has stunned me, as I thought we were a working-class supported club not populated by the grey middle-class numbers and figures people that at work are shunted to the part of the building no one wants to be in or if you have to go there, no co-worker seems to know where they are.

The problem I have is so much is put out about the owners’ financial dealings in the club, so many claims, that some of the claims are repeated so often that it seems to most of the fan base, it becomes the truth. It does seem that a lie can travel ten times quicker than the truth and the problem I have is when you accuse the owners of lying to the fans the last thing fans should do is tell lies about the owners, or untruths, to expose them.

Facts are facts and the facts are that the club is in the mire, the reason for that is the mismanagement of the club by those entrusted to do so.

Mis-managed for me since the day they walked in.

I don’t think though, they have robbed the club (of money), stolen money of asset stripped the club (playing wise). Last week Sean Whetstone and I took part in a video on Irons United YouTube platform that set out the finances of the club through the Dave’s ownership of the club. The reason I went to Sean with the idea was to put out the facts of the finances using the club’s accounts over the previous 10 years. I did say to him I want no, or minimal, use of senior source information. It had to be verifiable use of facts. Now, this isn’t me going soft on the ownership nor is it Sean working me to come round to his way of thinking. It was done to show that the ownership of the Daves can be damned by using the facts against them. That we are in this mess due to the way they have run the club over the 10 years they have had it. The accounts show it all there. Facts and truth.
It shows that despite what Deloitte & Touche say, we are not a rich club, Wealth is not equated by income but by how much money it has. We may have the 18th biggest income but if the outgoings exceed the income was left in the situation we are in now.

BEGINNING OF THE END.

It seems that the beginning of the end is here. Stories came out this week of two bids made by unknown Americans. Strangely, though, it seems not all is there. It is rumoured that bids were sent directly to DS, not to the club and its possible that some directors knew nothing of the bids.

Did they bid than for all the club, or just the 51% owned by the largest shareholder?

With the excitement of finally a chink of lite to ending the era of the Daves, it is tempered though by the fact that it could be out of the frying pan, into the fire. Whoever buys a Premier League club is predominately doing it now to try to make money out of the club. Hopefully, that is achieved by bringing real success to the club, but the first question that should be asked of any potential owner is “what you going to do if you don’t make money?” as the current owners have failed at that and so we are now in this mess.

Looking through the vast list Sean W put on here Sunday, out of the Americans listed it is the Creative Arts Agency which seems most likely. They may be a bit far out there as potential owners go until you see one of their biggest clients is James Cordon. 2 & 2 may end up being 5, but watch this space, as they say.

SEASON TICKETS

Did you renew, naturally I did, but then again I’m a proper mug punter, one of those that would go even if relegation meant we were in League 2, not just the Championship.
I’m not buying the clubs “sales are going well” statement as they moved the renewal deadline twice. When I rang to renew, the day before the 1st deadline expired, I waited only 40 minutes, had 50 people in front of me. Normally it was so bad it was quicker for me to drive to the ground and renew than it was to wait the 90-120 minutes I had been quoted as waiting time in the past.

The fact they moved to a 2nd renewal date, after the 1st game of the season had played to boot, and they have sent letters out saying there will be no members or general sale of season tickets to the waiting list (don’t laugh) says to me this will be the biggest single drop in season ticket ownership ever in the club’s history. Now that is proper damnation of the ownership by the fanbase if ever there was one.

BUNDESLIGA CORNER

As a new convert to the German game, I have started to try to get a better understanding of the way they run the game out there. My weekend out there last December showed me that going football for pure enjoyment is possible, I’m not emotionally attached to any club so to go for just pure enjoyment was refreshing and showed actually that it is their model of fan experience the Premier League should be looking at.

Also, the Germans seem to many to be great organisers so its interesting to see how they bring football fans back in line with COVID restrictions as compared to what I presume will be money orientated grab by Premier League clubs.

Bundesliga news website carried the following news…

This week it’s been agreed that restricted fan attendance can be commenced. Entrance to stadiums must be regulated, the wearing of masks is obligatory when spectators are not in their designated seats, and sections of the stadiums must be cordoned off in accordance with social distancing requirements. Travelling fans and alcohol sales will also continue to be prohibited. As has been the case in all partial re-openings, only contact traceable season-holders will be allowed in. If in any region the number of new infections exceeds 35 per 100,000 inhabitants in a given area for seven consecutive days, any public gathering can be cancelled. The current 20-per cent occupying capacity country-wide decree runs for six weeks. It shall be re-assed at the end of October.

If the 20% model is retained in the Premier League then that means only around 13,000 fans can attend our games, it is not football as we know and love, but when I attend, ill be so grateful to just be there, I’d care not a jot that it’s a sanitized version.