Thursday, September 3

Life after debt?

“West Ham stare into financial black hole,” reads the Guardian today. The full extent of the Magnusson/Gudmundsson era’s progfligacy has been revealed in West Ham’s accounts for 2007-08. We made a loss of £37.4 million and wages of £63.3 million were 77.67 per cent of turnover. What’s more, West Ham was only kept out of administration by the goodwill of its bankers, despite covenant breaches on a £20 million loan.

Finance director Nick Igoe fingers the signing of Ljungberg, Bellamy and Dyer: "West Ham United purchased three high-profile players in 2007-08 at a combined cost of £20m with total annual wages in excess of £12m. Those players made 36 starting appearances between them in the season." The signings of Boa Morte, Neill, Upson, Quashie and Davenport presumably all added to that drain.

"It is clear with the benefit of hindsight that not all of the investment undertaken in the playing squad in the period under review was prudent," declares Igoe. This seems to be accountantspeak for “blimey mate, we’re Brassic”.

Igoe added: “A business strategy which relies on the goodwill of the group's bankers to waive covenant breaches is fundamentally flawed.”

Plus we owe Sheffield United £21 million payable over four years.

Hopefully the club is now much better run and the 2008-09 figures wil be much better. The removal from the wage bill of the likes of Ljungberg, Bellamy, Ferdinand, Etherington, Harewood, Reo-Coker, Neill, Collins, Zamora, McCartney and co will surely help. But the thought remains, was there no-one around capable of saying no to Guddmundsson and Eggert the Egg Man?

It all makes it much more likely that we will have to be sold to the likes of David Sullivan. At least he might liven up the programme…

1 comment:

Pete May said...

Mike comments from his Blackberry: Typical leaked, nasty report from the Guardian designed to unsettle club and supporters. As anybody with half a brain and a calculator would know, the ground, the players and the brand name are worth at least £150 million which is why banks and sponsors are happy to loan money and guarantee loans to us.

I would be surprised if a satisfactory sale isn't completed by Dec. Shock horror news is Mark Vaduka coming in!