Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Finally some good news coming out from Upton Park for West Ham fans all over the world. Well, partly good news.

The takeover of the Club by David Sullivan and David Gold is one of the few seemingly positives stories coming out of the Club for a while now. Their 50% shareholding is very welcome, as both are football men through and through who clearly want the best for the Hammers and are West Ham fans.

Their press conference yesterday though (you can watch some of it HERE) revealed some horrendous facts about the scale of the Hammers debt and it's pretty shocking stuff.

Despite the new owners, the Hammers debt still stands at over 100 million pounds, nearer 110, 40 million of which is owed to other Clubs (including Sheffield United after the relegation debacle a few seasons ago).

This is bad enough but some of the other fine details of the debts and finances leaves you wondering how a Club like West Ham can get into such a mess.

They've already borrowed on 70% of NEXT season's season tickets income and 60% on the season after that. They have also received around 70% of shirt sponsorship money for up to three years in advance. It's unbelievable.

Bearing this in mind, and what debt that has still left, the hands of the management are in a bind for several years to come it would seem, although both new owners have said the immediate priority is not to sell any of the existing squad.

They better hope that the Club can survive the Premiership drop this season or I fear for the immediate future as not only will they miss out on the Premiership cash cow (parachute payments won't do that much), there will be a big chunk missing from what most Clubs can look forward to bringing in on a season to season basis.

It's refreshing and reassuring that Sullivan and Gold have been so frank about the situation and what the fans need to hear just now. No point in finding out about all this mess when it's too late and coming as a complete bolt from the blue.

Looking to the immediate future, despite the new owners best intentions, it's hard to see the Club not continuing to be a selling club and losing all their best young players for a while to come.

First thing is to steady the ship though and hopefully avoid the drop. I still think they can do it and if that can be achieved then hopefully under Sullivan and Gold we can see the Club go from strength to strength and possibly even in a brand spanking new Olympic Stadium as well.

When a top team like this is in such a mess, it just makes you wonder what some of the other, less successful Clubs are going through that we don't know about yet.

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