Monday, March 17, 2008

West Ham Cooling on New Stadium

West Ham today issued a 'Statement from the Board'.

The statement outlined a number of aims for the club (to be achieved 'over time'):
  • Remain successful in the Premier League
  • Challenge for the main English club trophies
  • Qualify for European football
  • Nurture young playing talent
  • Develop our transfer trading policies and scouting networks
  • Utilise the best physical and medical support services for the playing staff
  • Improve our training ground facilities
  • Examine ways of expanding our ground capacity via improvement or relocation
  • Build our fan base and extend the links into local communities; and
  • Strengthen the brand image of the club both nationally and internationally.

The media in the last couple of weeks have reported that some West Ham fans were blaming Egert Magnusson for raising their expectations (which of course sounds very unlikely). Magnusson said West Ham's ambition was to play in the Champions League within a few years.

This new statement is qualified from the beginning with the words 'over time', there is no mention of the Champions League at all and plans for a new stadium has become an examination of ways to increase capacity via 'improvement or relocation'.

I don't know whether this an attempt by the club to dampen the fans' expectations (and to acknowledge Alan Curbishley's achievement this year in stabilising the team's position) or a genuine lowering of ambition by the owners.

I have a worry that there may not be much more investment in the club by the present owners.


At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Chris // NYC Hammers said...

I guess Champions League was taken out because they realized you should talk about qualifying first! I think the appointment of Nani shows more intent on the owners part, and I'm sure they would like to invest a little wiser this summer (I personally thought Ljungberg and Dyer were a bit excessive, and the fact that we still pay Quashie should be investigated by the highest levels of government).

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous portugal said...

I think Kier s comment on investment going forward being on a smaller scale is accurate ,as unfortunate as that sounds. We re in the midst of a credit crunch/slowing economy ,to which the owner is very exposed by his Icelandic banking interests. I don t think it will be a case severe underinvestment,but I think there will be much more caution ,compared to say 12 months ago.

Consideration to expanding the existing ground,as opposed to being 100 per cent committed to moving says a lot I think,in terms of being conservative about spending. But i agree with Chris that the appointment of Nani does show positive intent.

At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Rooster said...

I agree with nyc hammers, there wouldnt be much point in building a 60k stadium just yet, its going to take another season or 2 for us to have any attempt to qualify for Champions league, we can get bigger and better, but then so will another 8 or 9 teams in the premier league, at least west ham are making the right moves now.
And it did not help when this week is the worst in 20 years for the $ and £, getting large loans off banks at present is virtualy impossible even when BG owns 1.

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous portugal said...

along the lines of what has been posted ,I hope that bringing a few excellent players in is more of an immediate priority than a new stadium. To me ,the quality of the team needs to be addressed before an issue like what ground we play at.

were the club to become a consistent top 6 finisher,then perhaps there wud be a stronger case for moving to a new ground, but from both a practical cost point of view ,and a sentimental one, I d prefer an increase to UP seating capacity to a move.

Something to throw into the mix, is not only the weakness of sterling and the u.s. dollar,but that the Icelandic currency is getting absolutely slaughtered ,which will have a real impact on how much, and how quickly the owner can invest in the club.

As annoying as it is to be receiving emails from WHU constantly about buying merchandise,expensive beambacks and other things, to a certain extent ,I can understand it now. The owner has got to come up with funds somehow to offset the losses from a dramatically weaker icelandic currency and much higher corporate borrowing costs ,especially for institutions like his bank.


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