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Anorak | Hammer Time

Hammer Time

by | 8th, August 2003

‘A WEEK ago, Paul Merson predicted that West Ham would walk away with the Division One title.

Defoe can’t wait to get that shirt off

In fact, he said the side were so much better than any of the other teams in the division that they shouldn’t so much as lose a game.

Fanciful that may have been, but he was right in saying that West Ham should never have been relegated last year. Play last season again 100 times, he said, and the Hammers would survive 100 times.

But none of that is of much comfort to West Ham fans, who have being forced to watch their beloved club fall apart in front of their eyes in the past few days.

The sale of Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard in the past few years may have been justified in view of the inflated prices paid for both players, although it did mark down West Ham as a club of limited ambition.

But the fire-sale that has taken place this summer is a disaster for a club that has done so much so develop its own players.

A total of 15 players have left West Ham since they were relegated and, if Jermain Defoe also goes, it will be 16.

They include England international midfielders Joe Cole and Trevor Sinclair, future England international full-back Glen Johnson and French international striker Freddie Kanoute.

It would be a disaster for any club to lose that amount of talent, especially when the only replacements so far are David Connolly from Wimbledon and Rob Lee from a local old people’s home.

But what makes it worse in West Ham’s case is that it was so avoidable.

Between them, manager Glenn Roeder and chairman Terry Brown have wrought havoc on the club.

The former is responsible for the fact that West Ham line up tomorrow against Preston North End in the Nationwide League.

And the latter is responsible for the club’s dire financial predicament, not least because huge sums of money have found their way into his own bank account.

Even so, one wonders why West Ham have sold the very heart of their team – a home-grown heart at that.

Fans were told that one of Cole, Defoe and Kanoute might have to leave before the season started. Now, it looks as if all three could have gone.

And it is not as if West Ham have got a fortune for them either.

West Ham fans are very angry and they have every right to be.

They have been badly let down by the club and, if results don’t go the right way at the beginning of the season, Brown and Roeder will start to feel that anger close up.

In fact, anything short of an outright promotion place will surely spell the end for both of them.



Posted: 8th, August 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink