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Opinion: The £500m reason Daniel Kretinsky is at West Ham

Is £500m payday the real reason Daniel Kretinsky has bought into West Ham as fans begin to question investor.

When West Ham announced Czech billionaire Kretinsky had become the club’s second biggest stakeholder back in November, the excitement was palpable.

Here was a businessman with a net worth four times that of existing West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold.

A man with access to £700m every year to use purely for investments, a man who is a leading figure in a £15bn empire built by the deceased father of his partner.

My Europa League Predictions.

Czech billionaire investor Kretinsky watches West Ham beat Liverpool at the London Stadium. Photo: Sky Sports

Someone with experience of running a football club regularly competing in Europe and for silverware. The man then to take West Ham to a new level.

Reports and rumours abound following Kretinsky’s arrival at West Ham that his investment – £150m for 27 per cent of the club – would allow the Hammers to spend big in the January transfer window.

It was just what West Ham fans wanted to hear.

Because all too often in the past the club has failed to seize on the opportunity to seriously achieve something great.

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But with reinforcements clearly needed in key areas – namely up front (still) and defence – with West Ham fighting on three fronts during the run in of another hugely promising season, January came and went with no new signings.

Fans were – and remain – furious. And the resentment already festering – for the time being in the background – between the terraces and co-owners Sullivan and Gold is slowly creeping in Kretinsky’s direction after a dismal window.

Some might argue it is far too soon to judge Kretinsky. Some feel he will not invest heavily until he has completed a full takeover. But hopes of a full takeover are just that – hopes. There has been no indication he wants or is willing to complete a full takeover of West Ham. Indeed reports suggest Sullivan and Gold have no intentions of leaving anytime soon even after the expiry of the takeover tax agreement in 2023.

There is also no evidence to suggest Kretinsky would do that. Would he really be willing to sink almost a quarter of his net worth just to buy the club? It’s not as if he grew up supporting West Ham and this is his dream.

Photo by Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

He is not wealthy enough for West Ham to be his play thing like Roman Abramovich at Chelsea or the owners of Man City and Newcastle.

Kretinsky has made his name and much of his fortune through shrewd investments. Buying into – or chunks of – companies and enterprises rather than the whole. He invests money to MAKE money. Nothing wrong with that of course. But are fans going to be happy with that? A quick look at what fans of Sparta Prague – the club Kretinsky actually supports and owns – think of Kretinsky feels somewhat ominous.

January could be a watershed moment for this West Ham side under David Moyes. But fans feel it is a massive opportunity missed.

In fairness to Kretinsky he did warn supporters over transfers. Speaking in an open letter to fans via The Evening Standard after becoming West Ham’s second biggest stakeholder, Kretinsky clearly stated there would be no lavish January spending splurge following his arrival in east London.

Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Fans were not expecting big spending. But there is a huge difference between spending big and not spending at all.

This was the chance for West Ham to go out and do something truly memorable.

Especially in a season where so many of the established top clubs are struggling or in transitional periods. What’s that they say about never looking a gift horse in the mouth? When opportunity knocks you have to open the door but West Ham didn’t answer.

Who knows when West Ham will get this chance again? Why not go for it in January and chase that Champions League dream? There is no guarantee new players would have helped that cause of course. But it surely wouldn’t have hurt.

So if Kretinsky was not going to seize the opportunity, if he is not going to spend the money required to help West Ham establish themselves at this level, then we have to ask why is he here?

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Cracking the Kretinsky code: The £500m reason Daniel Kretinsky is really at West Ham?

I think the answer appeared on this very website 10 days ago.

Because West Ham, along with their top flight rivals, are guaranteed £500m each after a landmark new overseas TV deal which takes rights earnings for Prem clubs past the £10bn mark over the next three seasons.

The unprecedentedly mammoth £5.3bn deal saw overseas rights surpass domestic in value for the first time ever bringing the total package between now and 2025 to more than £10bn.

West Ham’s hierarchy – and those at the 19 other clubs – were informed that the eye-watering deal had been rubber stamped on February 10th according to The Times.

How was Kretinsky to know this would come about some fans might be asking.

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Well here’s the thing. The Times, as reported by Hammers News at the time, announced back on November the 11th that the rumoured mega money TV rights deal was all but assured when it went to the second round of bidding.

And guess when Kretinsky’s West Ham investment was completed and announced? November the 10th (whufc.com).

Coincidence? Maybe. But Kretinsky effectively doubled his money as soon as he invested that £150m through TV rights alone.

Now we have Moyes telling us that Kretinsky’s arrival means we can keep our best players? That’s not why we left Upton Park. That’s not why so many West Ham fans welcomed Kretinsky with open arms.

It is all well and good having an owner that can afford to pay the mortgage. But we had that already in Sullivan and Gold?

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

If Kretinsky isn’t going to buy nice new furniture for the house then what is he doing here? What is his motivation? Throughout his life and hugely successful career, making money won’t be far off the top of the list.

Let me tell you something. The likes of Declan Rice won’t be sold on a future at West Ham on the basis that we don’t need to sell our best players. He will want to see us competing to actually sign top quality players. But the chance to convince our talisman of that probably came and went last month.

The jury is very much out on Kretinsky. Of course he deserves a chance to prove he can, and wants, to seriously invest in West Ham – even if January was a golden opportunity spurned.

But whether he likes it or not the “Czech Sphinx” will be judged this summer in microscopic detail when Moyes faces a massive rebuilding job of the Premier League’s second oldest squad with so many players out of contract or unfancied.

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And that’s before we even contemplate the prospect and possibility of having to replace someone like Rice should that dreaded day arrive.

As a fanbase we have spent far too long in the shadows of other clubs. Too long without success or someone who can seriously help make our dreams a reality.

Let’s hope Kretinsky is not like all the rest. He will be given short shrift if he is. Just ask Sullivan and Gold. Influential fan group Hammers United don’t have 18,500 members for no reason.

But I’ll be delighted if he proves me and a growing number of doubters wrong this summer. And I will be the first to hold my hands up if he does.

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