Filed: Wednesday, 2nd September 2009
By: Staff Writer
Former Hammer Tony Cottee has criticised West Ham United's owners for failing to invest in the playing squad during the summer transfer window.
Cottee, who was previously part of a consortium interested in purchasing the club before Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and Eggert Magnusson arrived in London blasted CB Holdings for their refusal to allow Gianfranco Zola to improve an ever-thinning squad.
"The biggest concern coming out of this transfer window is that the off-field situation at the very top of the club needs to be sorted out," he told the East London Advertiser. "There has been a trickle of players out of Upton Park over the last 18 months and it's all been to balance the books.
"That just won't work in the long-term. If you own a football club, you've got to invest in it. At the moment, there's no investment at West Ham and that puts huge pressure on the likes of Scott Duxbury and Gianfranco Zola.
"I know that Scott and Gianfranco were desperate to sign players, but unfortunately you need money to sign players and without backing from the club's owners, what can they do?
"They can identify players and negotiate deals to sign them, but if the owners refuse to release any funds, they're just as powerless as the rest of us. And you can't have a situation where the manager and the chief executive are at loggerheads with the owners."
Cottee also slammed United's current owners for attempting to run the club like 'a bank' - and insisted that fears of relegation troubles, as a result of CBH's insistence on not putting a single penny into the club, were very real.
"It's very easy to get sucked into a relegation battle, especially this year because it's the most competitive Premier League for many, many years," added the former Hammers and England striker.
"There are six clubs potentially involved in the scrap at the top and as many as 10 or 12 in the scrap at the bottom and we can't be complacent and think we won't be involved. What if we're involved at the wrong end of the table in January and we're again told that there's no money available to strengthen the team? How is the manager supposed to turn it around?
"The only way to avoid going backwards as a club is to invest, you need to spend or you'll stagnate. I'm not asking for them to pump hundreds of millions into the club, but it's a worrying sign when the likes of Hull, Sunderland and Stoke are outspending us.
"Part of the problem is that I can't even tell you who's making the decisions about the club - is it Straumur, is it CB Holdings? Whoever it is, it's a mess. The owners have got to realise that this is more than just a business and you can not run West Ham like a bank or a commercial company."
Andrew Bernhardt, West Ham United's non-executive Chairman and the spokesperson for CB Holdings insisted at the start of the transfer window that 'asset-stripping' wasn't an option.
"The wage bill has been reduced and the settlement agreed with Sheffield United is budgeted for," he had said.
"I can assure fans that Gianfranco absolutely does not have to sell any players for financial reasons and new players will be arriving in the summer to augment what is already a strong playing staff."
Sadly, as Cottee points out, that doesn't appear to have been the case.
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03:00PM 7th Oct 2009
''Different people same old West Ham, why are we the supporters having to suffer again?
Zola needs to adapt his side during a game. We needed to get in a striker, what do we do get rid of Collins, our most committed defender (take note Mr Upson). Now we are letting in goals to rubbish sides like Fulham.
I think Zola and Clark will be fantastic for the future but right now we need to win ugly. Get the kids who are scoring in the stiffs out there, defend like your life depended on it. On the woeful lack of singing etc, stop turning the sound up so loud and encourage the old songs to be sung. Put words up on screens, we need to get behind the boys like never before or we will sink without a murmur.''
by Big G
01:33PM 4th Sep 2009
''We all seem to agree with Tony. This has been a frustrating time for Hammers followers.
How can the current owners expect the club to thrive with TWO strikers? As much as Cole has improved he still does not get enough goals. Oh they will claim they tried, but this problem has been with us since last season when Bellamy was sold and replaced by a kid who now has also been sold.
Zola and Clarke have done well but will soon become disenchanted trying to just survive. I was sorry to see Collins go, a wholehearted player and an improvement on Anton Ferdinand who it seems is not as good as he thought he was. Let us hope, like other teams in this division we can get a new owner who can provide the funds that are needed.''
by aldgate tel
06:45PM 3rd Sep 2009
''Savvy me son, Savio and Collins were not worth £14million - unfortunately we have to live in the real world.
We are a club that was bankrupted in the last ten years by utter waste by the like of Redknapp and Storrie, they had all the big dosh to invest, the bank is asking us all to be a bit patient. We are lucky in that we have probably the best young manager and assistant in England who are quite capable of getting the best from some of the youngsters and players bought in.
Of course it would be great to have £20million to spend but we aint. Let's not start whining about the club; get behind the team and manager and yes, the board. Don't forget they could have pulled the plug if they were real nasties. but they didn't.
I actually feel if the squad is fit we aint too bad, all we need is a bit of luck.''
by g portugal
07:55PM 2nd Sep 2009
''Tony Cottee is 100 per cent correct. All that these idiots from Iceland have achieved is to lower the potential sale price of the club.
150 million quid? You re having a laugh, Icelan-dics. You have no hope in hell of even getting 100 million now, owing to your failure to maintain sufficient quality and depth in the squad.
These "owners" have achieved nothing except to now thrust the club into a relegation battle. In which case they will not even find a buyer for 70 million quid.
Stupid, short-sighted "management" from people who can't run either a business or a football club. Why did these idiots lower season ticket prices if they were that desperate for cash? Why did they not sell other fringe or injury-prone players earlier in the summer, even at cut-rate prices, when it was possible to do so? Why did these idiots buy Kovac if they were so hard up for cash when we needed bolstering up front, not in midfield?
How much intelligence does it require to grasp that no matter how well you defend, if you can't score goals in the Premier League you will go down? CB Holdings, Straumur and the rest of these Icelan-dics are a disgrace. Is it any wonder that this same cast of moronic characters got caught up in the subprime and credit crunch worse than almost anyone on the planet? Of course not. Because these are extremely dumb and greedy people. Pretty lethal combination.
And it's the supporters left holding the bag. Again.''
06:19PM 2nd Sep 2009
''August is always a tense time and it is worrying to see who leaves and optimism rides high about who will arrive.
I am glad Upson, Greene, Cole, Collison, Parker and Noble are still with us but sorry to see Collins go. Savio's situation was puzzling after such a short spell, but may be a good thing in the long term.
Apart from our injury list we still have a good intake of new blood and I am optimistic as ever. Zola and Clarke are still in the early stages of the "Football Project" and our bread and butter skills have greatly improved.
Where cash is concerned we do not have a bottomless pit of it, and where you bring players to our club such as Neill, Bellamy and Ljundberg you never get quality service, delivery nor loyalty - and it costs us money.
TC just be patient!''
04:49PM 2nd Sep 2009
''If you do the math, not only have they not invested but they have made significant net gains from selling good players like Savio and Collins (about 14 million) and replacing them with fringe players like Diamanti and Da Costa (net cost of 7-8 million). Moreover, they have gotten rid of high salaried players like Lucas Neill. The worst is that the official website gives the most lame excuse for not completing the Chamack deal - ".. the player didn't won't to come to West Ham!".
If we were to believe that, then they have totally mismanaged the transfer (because that is the first thing you ask before you make a move for a player) or that they have just used that as an excuse to cash in on James Collins. What does that tell us about the club?
I agree with Tony. A bank recovery team cannot run a Premier League club (I am the Head of the Recovery Division of a Bank and believe me I know what I am talking about). Not for too long for sure. They must sell as quickly as possible in order to save West Ham from going down the Portsmouth way. It may be too late for Portsmouth but there is still time to save West Ham United.
Keep up the good work Tony. Hope you can come up with something soon (I can help you with the financial if you want). West Ham United with its history, being a famous London Club and all should be great value to serious investors. The potential is tremendous if give Zola and Clarke some money to strengthen the team. But CB Holdings should sell get out a.s.a.p.''
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