West Ham United: Revenge of the tax payers

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
2003–04 16th R5 R4 R2
2004–05 8th R3 R3  
2005–06 15th QF R2  
2006–07 14th QF R2  
2007–08 9th R4 QF  
2008–09 10th R3 R2 QF

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…

P Team GP W D L F A GD Pts
16 AFC Bournemouth 5 1 1 3 3 9 -6 4
17 State Aid United 5 1 0 4 7 13 -6 3
18 Southampton 4 0 2 2 3 6 -3 2
19 Sunderland 4 0 1 3 3 8 -5 1
20 Stoke 4 0 1 3 2 10 -8 1

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.

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38 Replies to “West Ham United: Revenge of the tax payers”

  1. Oh yes, and Watford 3 Man U 1 means three defeats in a row for some manager of some club from ‘tup norf.

    You are wicked Tony 😉

  2. So only the securing of the title is deemed enough to silence the neigh Sayers is it ?

    How does that work ?

    If you apply that to us surely you have to apply that to Liverpool and Spurs, even Everton, Southampton, Stoke ?

    Why are our achievements measured solely against the acquisition of a title.

    Liverpool and Spurs are hailed when they put a run of 2 wins together.

    If we are not allowed to point at the vast limitless wealth of Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea as fair reason to not win the title, why doesn’t the same rule apply to everyone else.

    The fact of the matter is for over 10 years the spending of the rest of the Premier League sides was closer to ours than we where to the 3 big spenders, yet they where never ‘expected’ to finish above us, yas we where those 3.

    The bottom line is, we are, and have been for a very long time, judged in a completely different way to everyone else.

  3. Jamburg,

    Some of my comments are also going in to moderation. I thinks its a technical error within WordPress or something else.

  4. Tony,

    This article was fast ! Utd game just finished mins ago. Looks like Walter’s match reporting prowess is influencing all of us. 🙂

  5. I think the problem might have something to with Shockwave which is part of the advertising process; it is bouncing up and down like a yo yo. There is nothing in my programming to explain why Jambug or Usama is being put into moderation.

  6. Ohh… I remember Gord saying something here related to Flash Shockwave and websites going crazy. So that explains it.

    Jamburg, try using some other browser like Chrome/IE/Opera/Edge/Firefox… I made some comments using my mobile and Google Chrome and they came out fine without any moderation.

  7. Ok… Google Chrome worked fine. Firefox resulted in moderation. Microsoft Edge resulted in moderation.

  8. State aid United.. Don’t make me laugh.. Your probably on benefits anyway.. Can’t wait to play you and take six points off you this year.. ⚒COYI ⚒

  9. Amazing this Chrome! Palace & Watford must be using it as they seem to be whupping the rubbish. 😉

    Gord you mentioned Stoke in an earlier post. They must be on the wrong browser!!! 😉

  10. I’ve been moderated a couple of times lately.

    Flash it s nightmare in terms of security problems. And advertising is a vector for getting malware onto client machines. But those are just generic statements. I don’t know of anything specific that might being effecting Untold. I’ll try to keep my eyes open though.

  11. I’m using Seamonkey (cousin of Firefox) for browsing.

    I don’t see any mention of former Arsenal players at Palace, but nice to see them up 4-0.

    Come on Sunderland (later today)!

    I did see a blog snippet where someone was hoping for Swansea to do well against ManC next gameday.

  12. Jambug,

    just wondering what kind of shitstorm would be happening right now if Arsenal had lost 3 in a row….

    We definitely are judged with a different set of values.

    And once transfert window is closed, just looking at the chatter, one can see the vultures startinf again :

    -Alexis leaving
    -Wenger out and replaced
    -Wilshere gone forever
    -contracts not renewed
    -players unhappy on the bench
    -etc all with the same ‘disent’ – ‘problem’ – negative bias

    On the last item, I’m really happy we now have a full bench and can afford the luxury of letting players of the caliber of Xhaka, Giroud, Elneny, Ramsey on the bench without losing in play quality. This sure is quite a change from earlier years.

    let’s hope Sunderland makes our week-end perfect by beating the Spurs.

  13. Simon – don’t normally publish these little comments but since no one has ever accused me of being on benefits before I thought I would let you be the first. Funny that a number of West Ham fans have only just picked up on State Aid United and the Taxpayers Stadium. Wonder why they only found it today.

  14. Jambug
    I think everyone familiar with your comments knows where you stand on the net spend = success issue.
    While I agree with the basic premise, there are mitigating factors I believe you intentionally omit to make your case. Factors like club’s location, style of management, club’s involvement in CL or not and others , will influence players decision and contribute to how much clubs have to spend to get said players.

    So let’s not beat around the bush and come out honestly and say who is the most talented squad in the PL – not the most expensive one mind you, since we all can add numbers , pounds or euros.

    Who would, in your opinion , Arsenal need to get to be able to win the title, might be another way of putting it.
    I mean , if you honestly believe other PL clubs are more talented at this moment in time, then fair enough , I can see how it might be difficult to expect Arsenal to beat them. But if you believe Arsenal are as talented as any in the PL , then hiding behind the net spend is just that – hiding.

  15. Simon

    Let me know why you think I, as a tax payer, should pay for your stadium ?

    Let me know why you think West Ham United should not pay for there own stadium ?

    It’s the spending of OUR money that Tony, myself and a lot of other people are upset about, and why shouldn’t we be.

    Why should the subject just be dropped ?

    Count yourself lucky you are media darlings and as such have been able to filch the Country of it’s money without a word of protest from them. Again in line with other points made elsewhere I can hardly imagine the shit we’d of got if it was us being donated money from the public purse.

    So if I was you Simon, I would thank your lucky stars you’ve been gifted a big chuck of prime Real Estate for a pittance and keep my head down rather than getting all uppity about a little name calling.

  16. Tom

    Now what did I say the other day ?

    I’m not interested in your opinion am I, and you’re certainly not interested in mine so please, do me a favour and treat them with the contempt they deserve, because that’s exactly what I’m going to do with yours.

  17. Jambug
    For someone not interested in my posts/opinions you seemed to have dedicated a lot of time and many paragraphs to them just a few days ago.
    A bit strange. Maybe the question I asked made you uncomfortable . I understand how you wouldn’t want to do your usual verbal gimnastics on a Sunday evening.

    I withdraw then 🙂

  18. I do think it’s funny that the manager of the PGMO sponsored team is complaining about the PGMO. It wouldn’t be so bad if he’d officially thanked them for the extra 2 points they were given against Hull… 😀

  19. Tony Attwood has to be the most ill informed person ever to talk such nonsense Clearly not aware bbc published apology for its documentary on the Olympic stadium Karen Brady probably made the worst deal of her life in securing the stadium Only Tottenham got it right in saying the stadium should have been pulled down because the cost of keeping athletic use has cost the taxpayer millions and west ham in receiving little or nothing of the stadium revenue If he doesn’t know the facts he should say nothing as it just makes his comments appear very childish

  20. ClockEndRider – its the way the contract was written. With no punctuation Tax payers were left out of pocket for 99 years. Karen has a wonderful way of flashing her smile to evade all commas & periods are never an issue……

    Examination of the bent agreement will bring a strain of racism that is worse than a seeing PGMO official.

  21. Of course it’s early in the season. But notice how last year’s press hero, Slaven Bilic, is having a hard time of it at the moment.

    I don’t wish him ill particularly. My point is every year the press gets a new favourite manager or two. But the next season last season’s heroes are not doing so well.

    The only one who ALWAYS does well is Arsene Wenger. And he never gets any credit from the gentlemen of the press. What a bunch of idiots! Aren’t we lucky he’s our manager?

  22. I quite like Bilic as a manager, but I wonder if he will suffer from the curse of the WOB darlings…..Owen Coyle, Moyes, Martinez, AVB, Arry, Gary Monk, Laudrup, Capello,….Jose?? …. and I am sure many others.
    Hope Harry Kane is ok, that looked nasty, don’t worry, we will do Spurs with or without him.

  23. State Aid United have a lot of problems this season. Of course, it is amusing to see their current league position given the head-start they have been given by the politicians but just for the record, it’s more than just a curse.

    First of all, they spent the whole summer chasing a top striker with pockets full of cash they didn’t need to spend on a new stadium. They were throwing tens of millions pounds on Carlos Bacca (didn’t want to join them because he wanted to join a Champions League club), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon rejected their offer) and there were rumours about Christian Benteke and our own Theo Walcott. At the end, they had to settle for Andre Ayew from Swansea…only to lose him to injury until December. Add Andy Carroll’s perennial injury problems and you know that their attack is no longer what it was last season (five of their seven goals were scored by Michail Antonio). They did make a panic buy and signed Simone Zaza from Juventus to strengthen their attack but he is yet to score a goal.

    Aaron Cresswell, arguably the best English left full-back, picked up a nasty injury as well and won’t be back before December. They don’t have our Jenko on the right full-back position so they have to use either a three-man defence or a four-man defence with a youngster who is yet to get ready for Premier League as their starting full-back (Sam Byram).

    Finally, the most important part: Dmitri Payet. Payet wasn’t rushed into the team due to prolonged presence at Platini’s farcical legacy called 24-team-EURO and the other dangerous creative player Manuel Lanzini was injured at the beginning of the season. Payet has been returning to form with some brilliant moves in the last two matches but is yet to win a game for his team. We have a similar thing with Özil, except we have Alexis and Cazorla as experienced game-changers, never mind Koscielny, Čech, Theo and super-sub Giroud who can light the way for young lions such as Iwobi and Bellerin.

    (Of course, we could add a few more reasons to this list. For instance, Bilić has always felt most comfortable when his team enters the match as the underdogs. Croatia failed to qualify for World Cup 2010 after excellent showing at EURO 2008. His West Ham spilled a lot of points against weaker opponents last season while getting the best out of matches against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham. Maybe both Bilić and West Ham have been found out this season.)

  24. I was under the impression that the Spuds fans would also be freely ‘donating’ coins towards Kane’s treatment when he was carried off ; just like they so kindly did for our Theo, when he was stretchered off a few years ago.
    In fact the bearers were also similarly and generously honoured too.
    I guess I just don’t understand these quaint English customs too well !

  25. After all the bullshitting and outright bald faced lying in the press and by ‘them’ on here , I like to propose that Tony get this Lie detector gizmo fixed here stat . That’s pronto like !
    Only thing is that many of us regulars would probably get splitting headaches from all that ‘Beeping ‘ ! Check out this test case and please affirm if you would contribute towards the purchase of one .


  26. David, It’s really difficult to understand your comment. Probably entirely due to the lack of punctuation, but if I read it correctly you’re suggesting you haven’t been gifted a stadium because the club doesn’t earn any of the revenue from the non-football activities there. The answer to that is ‘So what?’
    It’s still one of the greatest deals in the history of iffy deals and will increase the football revenue beyond the clubs wildest dreams.

    Josif, I believe Lacazette would have declined a move to a non-CL club as well.

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