Nigel Kahn’s Column

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Spurs on Sunday is ready to enter HERE . The deadline for entries is 1pm on Sunday lunchtime.

Thursday 8th Oct
Article day and it is always interesting to see the reaction. As a writer you want to be able to see how your article is not only received but also does it create a debate between the commentators, and how long does it take before they switch away from your article onto other such subjects? Today’s was possible the best reaction I have seen in ages to one of my articles, reading the different outlooks on how people saw what happened 10 years ago at this club.

One poster – I won’t name him, let us just call him ?? Sexton, anyway, Sexton took umbrage at the image used on my original leaflet. Who wants this view? Now the image was a graphic showing the Olympic Stadium in athletics mode in 2012. Sexton quite rightly pointed out that its use in trying to get West Ham fans to see what possibly lay ahead was misleading. It was a distorted view from the upper tier, didn’t show football, nor did it take into account the possibility of retractable seating. He wasn’t wrong either, but I think what he failed to realise was that in October 2010 the original plan for the stadium was still in place – to remove the top tier and leave just the lower tier in place as a 25,000 seater athletics stadium.

To answer his complaint, there was no image showing what football would be like there as it wasn’t built or planned to host it, at that time. I get the point that in trying to convince fans to a certain point of view it has to be done factual not with fake or altered imagery, but when all you have at your availability is images on the Governments own 2012 website, I’m not sure really what he expected.

Healthy debate is always welcomed, and I must admit, it pleased me to see it taking place under one of my articles. That was, of course, spoilt by the West Ham Viking with dodgy fingers coming out as part Welsh. Still, that did give me to send him a pic of a cartoon sheep with SHILF underneath.

Friday 9th Oct
Today the Premier League dropped the bombshell that they will be allowing the games currently not part of the TV broadcast contract to be shown as they are played on a pay per view platform, the price they have chosen is £14.95. To say most of the fanbase was outraged was an understatement, and yet on Friday I go on twitter and it seems the algorithm played a blinder on my timeline. As I scrolled down, I saw a tweet screaming abuse at the owners telling them to just pay up the money for Josh King. It is rumoured he wants to double his £45,000 a week wages to £90k.

Directly underneath this tweet another West ham fan rants at the Premier League for the PPV plan. Outrageous, an insult. But in those two tweets for me, it outlines why the PL have chosen to do this. Fans are still expecting clubs to sign players like before without understanding the financial problems many are in with no fan income. We can’t have our cake and eat it. At the moment we can’t, that’s for sure.

Let’s look at facts though. The games chosen have not been scheduled for TV viewing, so were due to be played and only traditional highlights would be seen. Season ticket holders that have tickets for these games will, I can only speak from WHU experience, be refunded the match as per the terms outlined when the season ticket was renewed. So if West Ham is shown on PPV I’m not paying twice to see the game. As these would be games played outside of the Sky/BT package, they don’t constitute part of the package you have subscribed to. So you are not paying twice to see this game. Let’s now look at the cost, £14.95. This is cheaper than a match day ticket to see the game at the stadium. We also have to take into consideration the EFL. The EFL currently have a streaming service for all EFL teams to stream their games while current restrictions to fans are in place. That streaming service will cost you £10 to watch any game. Leyton Orient V Bolton, AFC Wimbledon V MK Dons and Coventry V Brentford will cost you a tenner each.

Now, if you go with the fact the Premier League is more in demand than the EFL, also if the PL charged the same as the EFL or less, would this detract from what the EFL clubs are hoping to achieve. If the cost was the same for the PL streams and the EFL its quite possible that people would choose to watch the PL, not the EFL and thus actually take money away from clubs that really need it more.

Lastly, the £14.95 charge also sets a marker for the future. If as many believe, PPV streaming is the future, should they have set the figure at 5 or 10 pounds, then that would vastly undercut match going fans paying for tickets once restrictions are lifted. We may not like it – I would have preferred it to be only a tenner – but I fully understand why not as well.

Saturday 10th Oct
No football today, Saturday afternoons are dull in the International break. Paid a visit to the kebab shop at the Boleyn, not for any misty-eyed missing the area reasons, just the fact it’s by far the best I know and well worth the 90 minute round trip with my neighbour (a fellow former towner).

Sunday 11th Oct
Today’s episode of the West Ham social media drama is all to do with transfers. It seems despite selling Grady Diangana after claiming that we had his position covered by others, we are buying a player that looks to me to cut from the same cloth. Benrahma from Brentford on video looks the real deal to me though, if he does indeed join us, I can only think he will add to the entertainment level of watching West Ham.

Goals are fun people, I have enjoyed just as many defeats we have suffered in high scoring games than the games we have scrapped a 1-0 lucky win. I go to games to enjoy the spectacle of the game, whether west ham win is secondary to me. If football is a business then its in the entertainment business, so I say let’s entertain. Looking at what I have seen of Benrahma, he will entertain us so I will not get hung up on the why & where of what DS has said or not. Bring him on I say.

Monday 12th Oct
West Ham signs another player but not one to set the world alight. Craig Dawson has been playing for Watford who he was relegated playing for in the summer. Previous to that, in season 2018/2019 he was with West Brom where, you guessed it, he was relegated. Does not look inspiring but it is harsh to put those relegations all on one player. It is possible he could come in and be a steady player for us, perhaps playing with our supposedly better player may make him a better player. As soon as he steps on the pitch in a West Ham shirt then Craig will get my full support and I will back him until its deemed he’s no longer needed.

Benrahma’s deal, though, hangs in the balance due to no fault, for a change from our owners. It seems Ben wants his loyalty bonus for leaving the club and if he doesn’t get it he will stay and refuse to play. Quite how much of that is true who knows.

Tuesday 13th Oct
We record Moore than just a podcast on a Monday night, so Tuesday some of the reviews come in. My “Finest Hour” is one comment on my description of why the 14.95 charge is understandable and my reasoning why the club should sign Benrahma, supposedly a DS pick, and not Josh King, Moyes pick, because mainly that as a club we have to stop signing players at the top end of their career age, i.e. late 20s early 30s, as it is that very reason why we are in the financial difficulty. Constantly signing players with no resale or a less resale value puts pressure on your other revenue streams to be able to strengthen your squad properly.

Benrahma at 25 and more expensive than King does have either a longer shelf life with West Ham or if he continues his Championship form into the Premier League could attract a big bid from a top club either in this country or abroad. Look at the first team we have now, then try to look forward 5 years and see how many of the players, age-wise, probably stand no chance of being with us. Once you have done that you get a picture of the amount of money, we need to do that and the impact on the finances the current situation football finds itself with no income from fans in the ground. Benrahma, it seems, has sorted out his differences with Brentford and his happy to leave, now that’s loyalty for you.

Wednesday 14th Oct
Been a busy day working, but my phone pings constantly like a radar on a battleship hunting a submarine. It seems the Benrahma transfer has hit a snag. With a shake of my head, I continue to work and put my phone on silent. It’s 9pm now and still no nearer knowing what’s going on. All I know is it will be finalized by 5pm on Friday.