The story goes that when a bellboy was taking champagne up to the suite of George Best, he knocked on the door and upon entering he saw a scantily clad Miss World laying on a bed of notes from his winnings at the casino. The bellboy uttered the famous line: “So George, where did it all go wrong?”
So I pose the same question about West Ham United: Where did it all go wrong?
Uprooted from our spiritual home to a state of the art footballing arena that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games, we average around 20,000 more visitors per game than Upton Park and another few thousand in the future if we can get a safety certificate.
We have now, just by moving, (depending on which business page you read) become one of the richest football clubs on the planet.
So from being saved from extinction by our current owners and a bit of a touch from the Government and taxpayers (don’t mention this to non-Hammers) we find ourselves on the cusp of success, don’t we?
Well, ish… something just isn’t quite right.
Whist sitting in the marketing suite at Stratford to get my shiny new season ticket, I felt like I was being whisked on a magic carpet ride to the future. Between Lady Brady and Ray Winston I was sold a vision of success and good times, mixing it with the big boys, marquee signings and elevation to the next level. I, like many others, fell for this hook line and sinker. I’d already started planning little mid-week trips with the Mrs to Madrid, Milan and Paris. All very romantic but with a bit of football one evening, you get my drift.
Unfortunately, our last two forays into Europe ended rather limply. I recall us being out before having the chance to actually be in.
Off the field the club seems to be well drilled into, keeping one eye on the purse strings. A club that should be going places is stuck in a park at a crossroad. Instead of moving forward at a steady pace we have staggered to a grinding halt.
I foolishly believed we’d be knocking on the door of the Champion’s League and nipping at the heals of the Premiership big boys.
Arnatouvich being our only significant signing of late proves that we remain one of the division’s lowest spenders.
With a couple of weeks remaining of the transfer window, the club still has the opportunity to add quality to the squad as we try to push up the league. Although it’s notoriously difficult to do business this time of year, there’s still a chance. A £50million spend would prove to the fans that we’re having a go at least.
I expect a minimum top ten finish and a decent FA Cup run. Scrapping through against Shrewsbury means we’ve progressed further than last year so there’s already an improvement.
So, like George Best we lie in luxurious surroundings, caked in money and ask the question: Where did it all go wrong?