Filed: Thursday, 20th July 2000
By: Graeme Howlett
Our latest Q&A session took place with West Ham United managing director Paul Aldridge.
KUMB: What is your exact role within the club, and what does it entail?
Paul Aldridge: "As Managing Director of West Ham United I control the day to day running of the business with the various departmental managers. I am extremely lucky to have an excellent team of people working in the many varied departments that go to make up a football club.
"I have also been heavily involved, along with an excellent professional team we have engaged, with the design of the new development."
KUMB: (From Kirk Greenway) Having been a season ticket holder for 4 seasons now, I would like like to know why no money has been made available to Mr.Redknapp to strengthen his squad? Year upon year we struggle by and I appreciate that the money for the stadium modifications has to come from somewhere, but we have finished in the top half of the table for the past few seasons. Surely we could be looking at better transfer targets than Nigel Winterburn and Davor Suker?
(From Peter Whitelock) Will the Club have funds available next summer to purchase new players? If not, why not?
(From Craig Gallacher) Why does Harry not get money for new players? I heard someone was trying to buy the club recently, is that true?
(From Nick Southgate) Can the board stop Harry Redknapp constantly complaining about having no money to spend, or are his comments justified?
(From Pete) Why does the WHU board lack ambition and cash?
(From Hoppyhammer/Funsize Phil/Banjo) Did the money gained from selling Marc-Vivien Foe go into the transfer fund? If not, why not, as at the beginning of last season the board announced that funding for the new stadium was already secured via bank loans? How come West Ham seem forever broke and unable to invest in new players?
(From Carl Whittles) Why do we NEVER have any money - even before the plans for the improved stadia we never had any money - all the dosh from Sky, where has that gone? Even Coventry (their crowds are no bigger than ours and never have been) have spent more than we have recently, why? £3M for Ginola is a steal, why are West Ham not in the bidding (and don't say it's because Harry Redknapp doesn't want him)?
(From Stuart McNamara) It has been reported many times that Harry will have to sell players to strengthen the squad. Therefore any money he makes on selling a player will be available for any buys. If this is the case why is it reported that he can't use the remainder of the money from the sale of Foe ?
(From Roy Clark) If by any chance we have a bad season (which, incidentally, I don't think we will) and we are close to the relegation zone, would money be released for players to get us out of the problem, at the expense of the re-development?
(From Den - Bobby Moore Lower) If we are so strapped for cash when can we expect the rest of the Hartson transfer fee to come in from Wimbledon, and what happened to the profits on other transfers such as Foe & Berkovic?
(From Ollie) Can the club afford these 2 top class Bosman signings Harry has talked about in the press ie the ones he said he would prefer to sign even if he had £8million?
PA: "There does seem to be a popular misconception in respect of the amount of money we have spent in the transfer market in recent years. We have spent £21M net during the last five seasons, £58.5M of purchases and £37.5M of sales. To put this amount into perspective, it is more than we have received in season ticket sales during the same period.
"Carl Whittles asked why have Coventry City spent more than us in recent years, but their accounts show that in the two seasons 1997/98 and 1998/99 they have only spent a net figure of £1.07M, whereas in the same period we spent £9.52M net. Unfortunately the accounts for last season have not yet been published.
"When comparing the ambition of clubs you must also consider the wage budget, the only way a club can retain its best players is to ensure that it competes in this area. Our wage budget has increased over the last 5 years from £6M to just under £25M last season and I would anticipate a similar increase for this year. Again to put into perspective the total ticket revenue for the Bobby Moore stand would only just cover the cost of one of our top earning players.
"A number of supporters asked where the balance of the money went for the Foe/Kanoute deal. The facts are that the £2M balance will be received over a number of years, subject to Marc making the required number of appearances. In pure cash flow terms when taking into account signing on fees, agents fees and the transfer levy fees it cost us approximately £1m to do the deal.
"I cannot comment on how much money will be spent in the transfer market during the season or indeed next year, many other factors will determine this. I can, however, assure supporters that the Board is fully committed to ensuring that the club moves forward both on and off the field. We must, however, continue to act responsibly to ensure that the club remains in safe hands for future generations of supporters."
KUMB: ( From Hoppyhammer/Kit Robinson) Where exactly is the funding for the new stadium coming from?
(From Tim Conlan) Can you tell us how exactly the ground improvements are to be financed? Is the money coming from financial institutions or solely financed by the club? Either way are the interest payments going to be so large that we will not be able to spend in the transfer market without selling players first? If this is the case how long will this go on for?
(From Roy Clark/Danny Crawley) What is the exact plan for the re-development of the ground in terms of timing?
(From Roy Clark) Is all of the finance in place for the re-development or is there still an amount to be raised? If yes, how much and where is it coming from?
PA: "The funding for the new development of the West Stand has been arranged with 3 banks, Barclays, the Bank of Scotland and Lombard. It is on a 15-year term with the repayments being funded by the extra income generated from increased gate revenue and new corporate facilities. The cost of the development will not affect the money available to the manager and the incremental income generated from the new development, including the non-matchday revenue, will be available to strengthen the squad.
"The work has now started on the West Stand and the timetable is as follows; -
Phase 1- Demolishion of the old School - Completed
Phase 2- Building and relocation of St Edwards School – Completion August 2000
Phase 3- Building of new West Stand Main building and upper tier - May 2000
opening August 2001
Phase 4- Demolition of the existing West Stand & completion of the lower tier of the new stand - May 2001 to October 2001
Phase 5- Extension to Bobby Moore and Centenary Stands - May 2001 to August 2001
Phase 6- Move pitch 15 Metres towards the West Stand - May 2002
KUMB: (From Damian Muncaster) What would you class as a successful season next year, and where do you see the club in five years time?
(From Doug Scott) Will we always be a selling club? Where do you see the club in the near future?
PA: "I would consider winning either of the cups and/or finishing high enough to qualify for Europe a very successful season next year.
"As discussed in my previous answers we are not a 'selling club'.
"I think the future of the club is extremely exciting. We have arguably the best group of young players in the country along with some of the best players in the Premiership, and will soon have a stadium that we can all be proud of. All these factors, I believe, will allow us to continue the progress made over the last 5 years and bring the success that everyone wants to Upton Park."
KUMB: (From Mike Edwards) Upton Park is a tight, compact ground enabling us to generate an intimidating atmosphere - hence our fine home record in recent seasons. i suggest we need no larger than a 30-35,000 seater stadium; we could fill this for the big games and it would still be "busy" for the likes of Coventry. The danger with this new scheme is that we will have a huge ground which will be barely half full for lesser games, hence we lose our "atmospheric" advantage - Sheffield Wednesday have this problem. It is a very ambitious scheme; built upon the expectation that football and the Premiership will continue to grow. Chelsea made a similar assumption when developing their ground in the 1970's - it bankrupted them & it took them 20 years to recover. It is a lot of money to spend - could we not cater for our needs by just redeveloping the West Stand and putting some cash into some players? We have some fine players coming through the system, we need to compliment them. We seem to be wanting to dispose of players to bring in the cash but are not replacing them - what message does this give to our ambitious youngsters? The next five years will be crucial for the club...it is imperative we get amongst the big guns as the game gets more "European". Ten years ago the top clubs in England decided they could make more cash if they went it alone to form the Premier League. It is not inconceivable that the same thing will happen in one form or another in the Premier League; the Man.Utd's etc will see their future in a European Super League. If we are not competing with the very top, we will not be part of this equation. If this does happen this stadium will be for nothing. Surely there has to be a balance between the team & stadium accordingly?
PA: "Once completed Upton Park will still be a relatively compact ground. The board has thought long and hard about the re-development and what is ideal for West Ham United. Generally a 40,000-seater stadium is what most people are comfortable with. The crucial point in increasing the capacity is the ability to have a wider pricing policy, allowing cheaper areas of the ground to be made available to supporters. It will also allow us to expand the incentives to encourage younger supporters to attend live matches.
"I also believe that unlike Sheffield Wednesday our supporters would continue to back the team should things start to go badly on the field, this is confirmed when you study the attendance figures during the seasons when we were relegated to the lower division. I personally am not convinced that a new European league is just around the corner. I can see an expansion of the current UEFA formats but honestly believe that domestic football will continue to be the backbone for all clubs. This is confirmed when you look at the live and TV audience figures for both the Premiership and the current European formats. We supporters thrive on local rivalry that cannot be recreated within a European or world-wide competition, other than for the national team."
KUMB: (From Mike Hanna/Ollie) Who selects the ticket allocation for West Ham at our away games? Particularly regarding the Celtic game where 1,000 appears inadequate. I organise the tickets for the Northern Supporters Club and am disappointed to find that as an example we take 800 tickets at Newcastle yet despite being sold out when we attend the game we find ourselves amongst equal numbers of unoccupied seats in our section. Enquiries to the stewards indicated that West Ham could have have taken more if they wanted, so who decides the amounts and why?
PA: "We will, in most cases, always request the largest allocation possible for away games.
"When given an option of allocation, the decision of how many tickets to accept is made by the ticket office manager. Looking at the number of supporters that have travelled to that particular fixture in the past, combined with pricing and current form, the ticket office are able to estimate, within a high level of accuracy, the amount of tickets required.
"It is not true to claim that we turned down extra tickets for Newcastle United away, due to the redevelopment of St James Park the maximum amount of tickets offered was in fact 834. The empty seats that you saw were in fact unsold seats from this allocation, the total number of tickets sold was in fact only 684.
"With reference to the pre season friendly away at Celtic, again there was not an option given concerning visitors’ allocation as it is in accordance with the League Ruling . However whilst there is no doubt that this is a very attractive fixture, we feel that the allocation of 1000 tickets will be sufficient.
"It is not the clubs policy nor have we ever turned down larger allocations being offered by the home team when we are confident that all tickets can in fact be sold. "
KUMB: (From Martine Gibbs) Bearing in mind the decline in atmosphere over the last few years, how do you think the new stadium will impact this? And do you have any plans for singing sections?
PA: "We do not currently have any plans to introduce 'singing sections' in the new development, but I am always happy to consider any suggestions."
KUMB: (From Andrew Lee) Do you see the FA putting a limit on foreign players in the Premiership, and if so, how would that affect West Ham's Australian academy?
PA: "There is already a limit of 3 non-EU players within the current regulations. I am not sure a limitation on the number of EU players could ever be enforced given the increasing flexibility in respect of freedom of movement between EU member Countries. I do believe however that should any general limitation on the number of non-English players ever be introduced we would be in a better position than most clubs, especially if you consider the players within our youth system."
KUMB: (From Mike Hanna) I want to know why Mr.Brown and/or yourself do not have a higher profile in the media and do not defend us when needed? I refer particularly to the disgraceful refereeing at Arsenal (a) last season; I expected yourselves to publicly denounce the situation and to call most strongly for the FA to disregard the sending off of Sinclair and the reporting of Foe & Moncur. However, much to my disappointment I saw nothing in the national press.
PA: "I accept your comments regarding the perceived profile of the Chairman and myself, however I do not believe that our relatively low profiles in media terms is detrimental to the Club. I believe that the team manager should be the spokesman regarding all football matters, and of course if supporters do wish to ask any questions both the Chairman and I personally answer every letter we receive.
"Both the Chairman and I have met with Philip Don recently and discussed the sending off of Trevor Sinclair. We have also made representation to the FA regarding the incident. I do not believe that a more aggressive approach via the media would have made the FA more receptive to our complaint. During the meeting with Philip Don we were also allowed to raise our concerns regarding the number of clear penalty decisions that were not awarded during last season."
KUMB: (From Steve-O) Do you accept that West Ham United seem to attract unflattering publicity as far as the size of the club, its financial resources and it's ability to keep promising young players, is concerned? Why is it that these newspaper articles persist, and what do you and the board intend to do about the situation to improve West Ham's PR image?
PA: "I agree that we do seem to attract more than our fair share of transfer speculation, both Rio and Frank have been sold to most top English clubs and a number of foreign clubs during the past couple of season according to most tabloid newspapers. I think we should accept this as a compliment as not too many seasons ago we did not have the players able to attract this level of interest and would hope that our own supporters treat these stories with the contempt they deserve."
KUMB: (From Treatment) What procedures have been put in place to stop administrative errors affecting the playing side of the club as we saw last year not only with Mannygate but also the Stimac incident in the UEFA Cup?
PA: "We have been very fortunate to appoint Peter Barnes as our new Football Secretary.
"Peter joined Crystal Palace as Assistant Secretary in 1969. He then joined Leyton Orient is 1973 as Secretary and subsequent Tottenham Hotspur in 1982 as Assistant Secretary, with responsibilities for most footballing functions including the ticket office and took over as Secretary in 1987. During his time at Spurs he was also Safety Officer for several years.
"Peter has also been a member of the FA Council since 1997 and a member of the London FA since 1992. He was a member of the South-East Counties League Management Committee from 1977-1998 and Vice Chairman of the same from 1992-1998 (this League was discontinued at the start of The FA Premier Academy Leagues and The Football League Alliance).
"He is also been a member of The London Football Coaches Association Committee since 1987.
"The facts in respect of the incident involving Igor are quite straightforward. UEFA forward to all clubs competing in European competition a list of players with suspension still outstanding, Igor was not on this list and UEFA have accepted it was their mistake and took no action against the Club and simply decided that the suspension should be carried over to the next appropriate game."
KUMB: (From Nick Southgate) What does the 'close-relationship' with Southend United FC actually mean? What are the working benefits/arrangements for this?
PA: "The close relationship between Southend United and ourselves has always existed and during the season before last when we played our reserve matches at Roots Hall we obviously had a commercial relationship. At this time they also had Alvin Martin as their manager which again enhanced the relationship. Whilst both I and the Chairman regularly speak with John Maine, the Southend Chairman, we do not currently have any commercial relationship."
KUMB: (From Mike Hanna) I run the Northern Supporters Club and we are always struggling to get consistent coverage of our existence. Hammers News and the match day programme have run messages for us, but in six years they are few and far between and we really have to push extra hard to get a mention. I know we are not the only ones! Could you include a small section on the 'you're fantastic' page and list the supporters clubs from all over with a contact number, the web addresses of all West Ham sites, e.g. Knees Up Mother Brown and any other general contact data? Not once but every programme? The type of people we find are our members get to an average of six games a season home and away, but the common denominator is always a programme.
PA: "I will pass your comments on to our programme editor Peter Stewart, however I am sure you will appreciate that he has many requests for space within the programme."
KUMB: (From Richard Muller) Charlton Athletic have been known to reward their supporters with free away travel to some games during the season. Do we have any plans to do the same?
PA: "We do not currently have any plans to introduce any away travel incentives similar to those of Charlton Athletic but are considering subsidising tube travel to home matches."
KUMB: (From Geoffrey Risley) Do you agree that building a new ground is an indication of the clubs progress, but the real sign of this clubs growth will be when we consistently win matches here in the North West of England where, for the last 30 years we have been regarded as a soft touch?
PA: "I am not sure I agree with your assumption we are regarded as a soft touch by any club."
KUMB: (From Anon) Bearing in mind the recent problems with hooliganism in Euro 2000 what plans do you have for those who are subsequently proved to be involved with West Ham?
PA: "West Ham United will not tolerate hooliganism either at Upton Park or at other grounds and would not hesitate to ban convicted hooligans from attending matches in the future. I would have concerns in acting on events during Euro 2000. The behaviour of a number of people was unacceptable and these people deserve the severest penalties that can be imposed upon them. I was, however, in Charleroi for the England v Germany game and would not be prepared to act on the information given by the local police. I witnessed extremely poor policing procedures and believe that a large number of the people detained and subsequently deported were no more than victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Having witnessed the security procedures both inside and outside the ground I think we should all appreciate how far England has come in this area and how much more professional our Police force is when dealing with public order."
KUMB: (From Dave F) We all know that Peter Storrie was heavily involved in the transfer dealings when he was at the club. Now that he has left Southend is there any chance of him coming back to West Ham?
PA: "I have known Peter Storrie for many years and consider myself to be a good friend. I actually met him socially this week for a social chat. Peter has some very exiting plans for the future and we wish him every success for the future but neither of us would expect him to return to employment with West Ham United.
"The transfer dealings have always been driven by the team manager, only once the manager is happy for a player to leave or he has identified a player he wishes to purchase am I involved. This was exactly the same during the period whilst Peter was Managing Director."
KUMB: (From Nick Southgate) During the close season the Boleyn Ground is obviously unused. Have the board considered using it as a 'venue' for rock concerts and so forth (even Billy Graham appeared many years back)? Are the board courting this sort of revenue avenue?
PA: "We certainly intend to utilise Upton Park more on non-matchdays once the new stand is completed. We will have excellent facilities to accommodate conferences and functions and will have the most unique hotel in the country.
"The ground safety certificate governs the types of events that are permissible and currently we do not have permission for musical events. It may seem strange but when stadia are designed the type of event requirement is a governing factor in the structural design. The type of crowd movement at a music festival is completely different to that of a football match and different design criteria are used according to the intended use.
"Having spoken with experts in the music industry about the future requirements for live performances the general consensus of opinion is that there are very few artist that can attract the number of people required to make such large concerts viable. Generally the trend is for smaller indoor venues of which there are many already established."
KUMB: (From Dave F) What club did you support before you became involved with West Ham?
PA: "As a young boy I followed my fathers allegiance and attended matches at Brisbane Road. As I grew older I tended to be playing football most Saturdays and only rarely saw live games. When I moved from Bethnal Green to Hertfordshire I became friends with a number of Arsenal players and tended to watch their games. However since meeting the Chairman 13 years ago I have been a committed Hammers fan and like all supporters have shared the highs and lows that this has brought through the years."
KUMB: (From Karen Burgess) Following England's non-show at Euro 2000 what do you see as the way forward, and what chance do you think our young players have of being involved?
PA: "I was as disappointed as the rest of the nation at our poor performance during Euro 2000. I, like many West Ham United supporters, am probably biased, but I am convinced that both Rio and Trevor would have strengthened the side considerably and that Nigel Winterburn should have been at left back.
"As well as the players I have mentioned above I am sure that Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, and Michael Carrick will soon be involved at a senior level, I also suspect that a young player named Jermaine Defoe will very shortly be coming to everyone's attention.
"I, as do many others, believe that as in 1966 the spine of the next England team will have a very claret and blue feel to it."
KUMB: (From Colin Carter) Who is your favourite Hammers player?
PA: "I am sure you understand that it would be very difficult for me to single out any one player from our current squad as my favourite."
KUMB: (From Noj) Are there any plans in the new stadium for a memorial to Bobby Moore?
PA: "The new stand will feature a museum and of course Bobby will have a very important presence within the museum."
KUMB: (From Dennis Martin/Creag Lawrence/Ben Blaney) Why does the club persevere with Planet running the official West Ham site? With the upsurge of internet use isn't it about time that the club invests in it's own independent website for the fans?
PA: "Unfortunately I am unable to give details as we are still negotiating but I very much hope that in the near future we will be able to announce the details of our new web site. I hope that once we have explained our new plans supporters will be pleased with our proposals."
Well, that's it! Our huge thanks go to Paul Aldridge for taking part in our Q&A; look out for our next session on kumb soon.
Have your Say
So what did you think of Paul's answers? The same old spin from the club, or a refreshingly open and honest attitude? This is what you had to say ...
"I'm glad to see that the club is in such responsible hands."
"Well done KUMB for the excellent Q&A with Paul Aldridge. A real good read, more of the same please with other people involved in the day to day running of the club."
"Going back to the schedule of events regarding the stadium re-build, I saw no mention of the new East Stand. Do you know when work will start and finish on it?"
"Nice to see West Ham are starting to open up a little. As others have mentioned a nice scoop for KUMB - Good Work Fellas - even if the questions were submitted prior to him answering.
"A good question (whoever put it) about why we don't employ a PR firm to handle the press. I for one would like to hear & see a lot less of H in the media doing his usual rent a quote bit & instead have him concentrating on the team.
"Overall though refreshing to have some official on the record comment.
"He seemed to be pretty straight and give an honest answer.
"I would like someone to have asked him about investment from a media group. NTL have been mentioned in passing but we've heard no more."
"The idea of subsidised tube travel seems good on the surface but I would rather see a reduction in season ticket prices or prices held. Those who have travel season tickets aren't going to benefit from a subsidy on a tube ticket for a match are they?"
"A good scoop for KUMB. The first time I have seen an interview with the MD. By the way, congratulations on a great site...only just found it. Well done."
"First thanks to Mr.Aldridge & KUMB for doing this, irrespective of how some of the answers may of have been perceived the basic fact that he was prepared to recognise this medium & respond to it must be viewed as a positive.
"I was very intrigued by his response with regards to my statements of the low profile maintained by himself & Terrance Brown with regard to disputable refereeing incidents & the fact that other discussions have taken place. Is there a restriction on making us aware of the content of the discussions?
"Also KUMB, maybe the people they spoke with, in this case Philip Don would entertain a simliar Q&A session? After all if we don't ask we will never know??"
"Not too sure he comes over well - too much like my MP?????"
"It's funny, but as I write this response, I have Sky Sports News broadcasting yet another 'Rio to Leeds' story. Paul didn't really get close to dealing with the issue, unfortunately, but having a platform from which to address senior Club Officials is a fantastic opportunity, which I think was demonstrated by the quality and breadth of the questions asked. Good work, fella's!"
"Good interview, could ask for little more. Clears a few things up and leaves us less frustrated."
"Well done KUMB for getting the man to answer the questions, even if some weren't so keen on some of the answers. Keep up the good work."
"I would have liked a little more clarity and depth to his answers regarding the effect the redevelopment will have with regards to the clubs buying power and player wages (obviously no specifics but general forecasts) and if and when the new moneys generated will be available to Harry (end of the next campaign or end of 2001/2002 ???). I think that considering how big a step for the club this is (a step which I totally support), I think a more concise picture should be drawn so that your average Hammer out there could get a picture of what status the club can realistically obtain in the near future as a result of the financial shift this redevelopment will create."
"Very interesting and honest interview."
"Well done, kumb lads, you are doing an excellent job with the site, brilliantly presented, etc... best wishes."
"I have a season ticket in the West Lower. What is going to happen to those season ticket holders when the new West Lower is built from May-Oct 2001? Will we get a choice of where we will be relocated to for Aug-Oct 2001 and will we offered similarly positioned seats to where we sit now when the new stand opens?"
"From the interview, Paul comes across as committed and honest. It would be interesting to know how long he had to study the questions before supplying the answers."
"Yeh its good reading and the more of these sessions you can arrange the better. He seems OK but no real exclusives. So if we don't win a cup or qualify for Europe the season will have been a failure and Harry will therefore get the sack. Uhm and pigs might ....."
"Great Q&A. Nicely side stepped the harder questions, but a good read all the same."
"Very clever answers, very much like listening to a politician. I take it his answers weren't spontaneous were they? Particularly skilful the way he skirted around the Mannygate affair, ignoring the blunder completely and choosing to talk (at length) about the new appointment and the Stimac ban. That was the one however that he didn't have an answer for."
"From the financial side, in one of my previous articles I wrote that the club wouldn't see the "fruits of it's labour" with regard to money going into the squad from redevelopment, for at least a couple of years. From this interview it sounds like it could be even longer , maybe 4-5.
"Overall he seems fairly honest with a couple of instances of "holding back" on information.
"The proof of the pudding as it were, will be if west ham truly "take off" in 4-5 years time or whether our funding, image and indeed our team is still poor.
"The question is, after redevelopment is the club still going to be content with being in the top half of the table, maybe having a cup run and maybe getting into Europe, or is it going to be that "we now have the money to buy players who are on form and we will pay the money necessary to get them". That they are aiming to challenge for the top 5 clubs, being in Europe every year and getting to cup finals regularly.
"There will be no excuses after redevelopment to have to rely on Bosmans and bargain basement wheeling and dealing.
"I think hammers fans know that redevelopment is necessary in order to compete with the big boys and for the next few years we'll put up with the situation, but not after redevelopment is finished, then we definitely want to see progress.
"A prime example of the situation is encapsulated in our current manager. Harry Redknapp is the ideal manager for the club during the current situation. He brings in top quality players for nothing. However, he lacks enough tactical nous to win much. If he does, then brilliant and we will always support him and congratulate him if necessary.
"However, once redevelopment has finished, west ham fans will be wanting the club to appoint a manager who can put an excellent team together from players who have been bought with the money necessary to buy them from other clubs when they are at their prime. This manager will have the tactical know-how to make that team win things - not for trying to still run a team on the cheap."
Kit the Hammer
"There was nothing new really. at the risk of being slated I think the club do as much as they can. solid growth of the club is better than shit or bust. to be honest the club has treated the fans harshly before but some fans have unreasonable expectations."
"I read Pauls answers with interest and they seem very genuine."
"Very good. Fair play to the man and he has earned my respect!"
"Same old guff I have been hearing for 20 years. The only thing I appreciate is the size of the wage bill. Every club has this problem due to the silly money washing round football. Wages should be capped to say £10,000 per week, and clubs forced to spend money on facilities and training for new younger players. More money should be filtered down to lower league football. I would still like to know why West Ham are not attracting money from outside investment although I agree that we should not float on the stock market. I think Chelsea will go skint soon."
"I thought he was honest about some things and fairly guarded about others, on the whole though it's good."
"It sounds like we're getting a decent official site at last then, about time too because the current Planet effort is useless."