By Tony Attwood
Just back from London, following attendance at the wonderful wedding of Blacksheep and Dru – and for me an overnight stay at the Highbury Hotel on Seven Sisters.
Looking at the results yesterday and catching up on the football I missed, what struck me very much (and my only evidence is Match of the Day which is not that much evidence) is the mess State Aid Utd (the club formally known as West Ham) are making of things.
Untold has been reporting the muddle that has arisen from the move to the Tax Payers Stadium (which they laughingly call the London Stadium). No proper separation of fans, no special area for fans who want to stand, no proper segregation for families, and the whole lunatic issue of the directors now demanding a police presence to keep their own fans under control.
To which the police have said – we told you two years ago that if you wanted the police in the stadium you needed to provide an adequate communication system. You refused to pay for it – largely because you don’t pay for anything at all – and so you can’t have the police.
Also we’ve also been reflecting in several articles on what happens to clubs when they get new grounds. Normally it means relegation.
There are of course exceptions – Arsenal are one. Although some, without much grasp of football history in relation to arenas – have criticised Arsenal for maintaining their top four status through all these years, it is plain to see from a historic comparison that this is quite an achievement with a new ground.
I certainly thought that this might not apply however to grounds where the club doesn’t pay for the stadium.
Manchester City, who paid a trivial £20m for the City of Manchester Stadium, however suggested that even with the tax payer paying for a new ground, things could go wrong. And as the table below shows not much went right down to 2006/7 when their top league goalscorer was Joey Barton with seven.
Manchester Airport results after being granted a new stadium.
|Season||League pos||FA Cup exit||Lge Cup Exit||Uefa Cup exit|
Of course the arrival of untold wealth from the supplier of the world’s gas and the home of contemporary slavery has changed things, but those six years after having been given a stadium for next to nothing shows just how negative an impact a stadium can give. As I say, our earlier articles reveal similar situations for most other clubs with new grounds. Arsenal has been a remarkable exception – all the more so because the club paid for the stadium itself.
But West Ham – granted a 60,000 seater stadium paid for by the likes of me – and it is the fact that I contributed to the stadium through my payment of taxes that I feel gives me the right to comment upon this venture as much as I do.
Anyway on 25 July Karren Brady reflected upon on her life’s great achievement in gaining for West Ham a stadium they didn’t have to pay for, saying a week before the first game: “The move has been a complete success on every level … Be in no doubt, we are part of the most successful stadium migration in history.”
It was obviously an invitation for all historians of football stadia to watch the process closely. Off the pitch we know where we are and I have alluded to some of the mess above – and that is without mentioning the rising tide of protest against the advantage the ground has given State Aid United (as I like to call them in my own childish way – as my ramblings are so often described).
And it seems, at least thus far, that State Aid are falling into the Curse of the New Ground, just as much as everyone – except Arsenal – has done. Having the taxpayers fund your ground doesn’t seem to help too much. Here’s the league table…
|17||State Aid United||5||1||0||4||7||13||-6||3|
Already out of the Europa League in the preliminary rounds they have recently Lost to Chelsea Won against AFC Bournemouth Lost to Man City Lost to Watford Lost to West Brom. And of course there are games in hand as I write this for the three teams below. A win for any of them will drop State Aid into the zone in which they get their rent REDUCED (yes honest) if they actually do go down. Maybe that is part of Play Karren.
As for Arsenal – who insisted on playing even thoughtBlacksheep and I couldn’t be watching them, the Telegraph says today, “critics will not be readily converted.”
Indeed in a moment of rare insight Luke Edwards says, “It probably does not matter how well they play anymore. Until the title is won, few people will be convinced Arsenal are good enough, often enough, to be crowned champions again. We have reached the ‘only believe it when I see it’ era at the Emirates Stadium.”
How true – and I hope to be able to come back to this point in a later article – once I have had a chance to catch up on my sleep.
Oh yes, and Watford 3 Man U 1 means three defeats in a row for some manager of some club from ‘tup norf.
- Hull – Arsenal 1-4 : Cracking Xhaka goal at the end
- Hull v Arsenal – the great Hull / Arsenal competition, and an Untold wedding
- Hull v Arsenal: a guess at the team, injury news, bits and stuff…
- Hull v Arsenal, Saturday 17 September 2016. The Match Officials