A journalist has gone against the grain to launch a passionate defence of West Ham United’s under pressure owners.
David Sullivan and David Gold are feeling the heat once again this season.
Supporters turned on the duo, and their vice-chairman Karren Brady, earlier this year.
Broken promises regarding their emotional stadium move and lack of spending the chief complaints.
Fans felt they had been sold a pup at the London Stadium.
And a net spend of less than £10 million in the first two years at the new ground didn’t help.
That’s despite promises that increased revenue would enable West Ham to compete with the elite in the transfer market.
The 17th richest club in football and sixth-best supported in Europe it is easy to see why fans were unhappy.
Root and branch reform
Two torrid seasons of flirting with relegation in a stadium supporters deemed not fit for football culminated in protests and pitch invasions during the 3-0 home defeat to Burnley back in March.
The result? Sullivan and Gold pledged root and branch reform in a bid to appease a disgruntled fanbase.
They appointed a Premier League-winning manager in Manuel Pellegrini and a director of football to oversee transfers in Mario Husillos.
The two David’s then embarked on unprecedented spending backing the Chilean with £100 million to sign 10 new players.
But so far this season supporters feel it is a case of new manager, new season, new players, same old West Ham.
‘I’ve got sympathy with Pellegrini and West Ham’
Pellegrini’s side are bottom of the fledgling table after four defeats from four league games so far.
In fact they are the only side in England with zero points.
It has all been set against the backdrop of problems between the stadium owners and West Ham’s board.
The situation in East London has been the topic for much debate during the international break.
And it was discussed at length on Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement where journalist Darren Lewis went against the grain as he leapt to the defence of Sullivan and Gold.
“I’ve got sympathy with Pellegrini and West Ham,” Lewis told Sunday Supplement.
“West Ham are an ambitious club and I almost feel like there’s a feeling in English football that the big clubs, the heavyweight clubs, have a right to aspire to big things and the smaller clubs have to stay in their lane.
‘They did exactly what fans of Newcastle would love their club to do’
“From West Ham’s point of view they wanted an upgrade, not only on the personnel and the manager they had, but the situation at that particular point so they wanted to show a bit of ambition.
“(They said) ‘Let’s go for a guy that’s got experience of working within a tight budget, a guy who has actually done something in the Premier League, no journeyman guy, a guy that’s going to come in and people are going to respect.
“He is that man. The one thing I would say that could be levelled against him (is) maybe he could bring a bit more steel to the role.
“I’ve got a bit of sympathy with the owners, I know people like to knock the owners but the fans are unhappy, we saw what happened after the Burnley game, even during the Burnley game.
“So what do they do in the summer? They go out and spend money, they break their transfer record several times (fourth biggest spend of any club in Europe), they go out and they show ambition.
“They do exactly what fans of Newcastle would love their club to do and other clubs in the Premier League want their clubs to do and then because it starts badly everyone starts saying ‘It’s a mess, it’s this, it’s that’ and they start having a go.
Salient points and a considered, objective point of view
“I don’t think you can call West Ham being in relegation trouble now as much as you can suggest that Watford are in line to get in the Champions League.”
Some very salient points well made.
It is refreshing to hear the opinion of a journalist who is objective when it comes to West Ham given how many supporters the club has in sports media.
West Ham fans will hope West Ham’s performances lend weight to Lewis’s considered view.