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Q: Manuel Pellegrini
a. A great signing for the Club and maybe the change of direction we all need
32%
  
b. It will only be a great signing if the Board back him with decent funds
60%
  
c. This is West Ham so it will only end in farce
7%
  
d. I'm not sure about this one, I'll wait until SKY is back to hear what Gary Neville thinks, then I'll voice my opinion
1%
  



BillC79 2:11 Fri Dec 8
Sullivan interview in the Guardian
With Jacob Steinberg:
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/dec/08/david-sullivan-west-ham-worked-my-socks-off-not-good-enough

“I feel I haven’t done well enough,” David Sullivan says as he considers how swiftly and brutally West Ham United’s grand ambitions have unravelled after 18 troubled months in their huge new stadium. “Nobody’s done well enough. I work my socks off, but sometimes it’s not good enough.”

West Ham’s co-owner pauses, giving himself time to reflect on everything that has happened since the move to the London Stadium, and it is clear that he is hurting. Those who have worked closely with Sullivan respect his intelligence and talk of a West Ham fanatic.







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But there are other points of view. One former executive describes Sullivan as dictatorial and argues that West Ham are the most dysfunctional club in the Premier League. There is a feeling that they need to focus more on analytics, sports science and recruitment and, while David Gold and Karren Brady are influential figures, Sullivan has the power to execute change. He is the one blamed by many supporters for the club’s woes.

In that context it is to Sullivan’s credit that he has agreed to speak. It is a month since he replaced Slaven Bilic with David Moyes on a six-month deal, but West Ham’s relegation fears have not eased before they host Chelsea on Saturday and there were anti-board chants during the recent defeat by Watford.

“I think we’re the most honest, open people you’ll ever deal with,” Sullivan says, however, and he denies that he has any plans to sell the club. “David Gold is 81, it’s his whole life. He has nothing in his life except West Ham. He has no hobbies. He has a family but he has one granddaughter. I love football and I want to be nowhere else but West Ham. We’re not in it for a quick buck.”




Those comments lend weight to the theory that Sullivan will hand control to his sons one day. Jack became the managing director of West Ham Ladies in the summer, while Dave Jr started working at the club this week.

“Jack’s learning his trade,” Sullivan says. “He was desperate to do it. He worked in every department at West Ham for a week. He knows everyone. He has opinions on everybody.” Could Jack be chairman in the future? “Possibly. Or Dave. Or both of them. We’ll see. They may get bored with it. Jack’s going to make mistakes. He’s 18. I make mistakes and I’m 68.”

Sullivan’s critics feel he has made too many, but he rejects the suggestion the facilities at the training ground in Rush Green are not up to scratch, saying £4.8m has been spent on six new pitches, and responds to questions about Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium by pointing out that West Ham have made tickets affordable to young fans. “I think Daniel Levy has done a fantastic job at Tottenham,” he says. “But his cheapest season-ticket price will be three times ours. There might be a tiny little corner with 200 kids he calls the family stand. Maybe we should have gone a different route and borrowed it all. We would have bankrupted the club.”


David Sullivan says West Ham are pushing for the London Stadium to look and feel more like home but feels the ground move was justified. ‘When players come to look at West Ham, they look at where you play.’

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David Sullivan says West Ham are pushing for the London Stadium to look and feel more like home but feels the ground move was justified. ‘When players come to look at West Ham, they look at where you play.’ Photograph: Steven Paston/PA

However, Sullivan admits he is not entirely happy with the 57,000-capacity London Stadium, revealing the club is pushing for it to look and feel more like West Ham’s home. “We’re about £10m a year better off,” he says. “It’s not going to change our lives.”


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So why bother moving? “I just think we feel like a big club,” Sullivan says. “Not a tinpot club. When players come to look at West Ham, they look at where you play.”

But West Ham’s critics would say they are not showing proper ambition and Sullivan is contrite when reminded about all the times he has spoken about qualifying for the Champions League. “I’m sure there’s 100 things I’ve said that I regret,” he says. “I didn’t realise how hard that task was. The money going into the top six is getting bigger.”

Now Sullivan says West Ham, who had a season in the Championship after going down in 2011, are even money to be relegated this season. “It’s going to be very damaging if it happens,” he says. “We’d have to do whatever it takes to keep the club afloat. If we go down, we’ll come straight back up. We always come straight back up. We had to put £30m in the last time.”

While Sullivan was right to sack Bilic, whose squad was not fit enough, the situation was allowed to persist for too long. He begged the Croat to shake up his fitness team but Bilic would not listen. “I should have got rid of him in the summer,” he says. “But beating Tottenham in the last home game and beating Burnley was just enough. My family gave me such grief for not doing it. I thought he’d sorted things out.”





We will have to bring in two or three in January. They won’t be old journeymen, they will be young players



That reluctance to act wasted time and exposes West Ham’s muddle. Following the thread is tricky. Sullivan is referred to as the club’s director of football in the most recent set of accounts – with no one to scrutinise him – but he is surprised to hear that. “Well, I’m not really the director of football,” he says. “I never go to the training ground. The manager had a policy of wanting older, proven Premier League players. That gives you an old squad and players who you’ve seen the best of.”

It is said that Sullivan takes an active role in identifying transfers but he claims he mostly signed Bilic’s targets. “I’m very involved with physically bringing in the players,” he says. “I’m not involved in the strategy. The manager says he wants Fonte from Southampton and Snodgrass from Hull. My kids begged me not to sign them.”


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Sullivan goes on to take the credit for signing Manuel Lanzini, Ashley Fletcher and Havard Nordtveit but he adds that Bilic wanted Marko Arnautovic, Joe Hart, Javier Hernández and Pablo Zabaleta. “I regret it in a way, the first year I was more involved and the next two years I was less involved. We’ve let the manager pick who he wants.

“Maybe going forward we won’t. We have to take a look at the age of the players we’re signing. We will have to bring in two or three in January. They won’t be old journeymen, they will be young players. They won’t be 32.”

West Ham have broken their transfer record in the last two summers, spending £20m on André Ayew and £24m on Arnautovic, but their squad has holes and Sullivan is thinking about hiring a director of football. After all, someone performing that role could have challenged Bilic’s training methods at an early stage. “There’s one very good one in the Premier League,” he says. “I would seriously think about taking him on in due course and I know he would come because he’s approached me.

“But I also want to sign the next Mr Stones, who Everton got for £500,000. He was found by David Moyes and Tony Henry, our current head of scouting. Tony is frustrated because we’ve signed who the manager wants. We’ve put names up to the manager and he’s said he won’t take a chance on people straight from South America.”


David Sullivan and David Gold pictured after their joint takeover of West Ham in 2010. ‘We’re not in it for a quick buck,’ Sullivan says.

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David Sullivan and David Gold pictured after their joint takeover of West Ham in 2010. ‘We’re not in it for a quick buck,’ Sullivan says. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The conversation turns to whether Sullivan, who anticipates improvement under Moyes, has undermined his managers by talking too much. Bilic was deeply unhappy when West Ham failed to sign William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon last summer. In a farcical episode Sullivan released a statement detailing how close he was to a deal for the midfielder, revealed that Bilic had turned down Grzegorz Krychowiak and Renato Sanches and threatened Sporting with a lawsuit after the Portuguese side said there was no offer for Carvalho.

The two clubs made up this week, although Sullivan is still keen to tell his side of the story. “We’re not liars and we did make an offer,” he says. “The manager came to me and said he had an agent working on this who assures me if we give the player 70 or 80 grand a week and pay €25m to Sporting Lisbon, they will take the deal. I’ve gone in with a €20m offer. They said no.

“I told Slaven that I was going in with €25m. They said: ‘We want €35m guaranteed plus another €15m of achievable add-ons’. I told Slaven that all we had was €25m and even that’s a stretch. I did what Slaven wanted and his agent couldn’t deliver. If he had said at the start it was €35m plus €15m of achievable add-ons, I would have said that I couldn’t do it.”







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Sanches and Krychowiak have not impressed at Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion respectively, though. “The manager was probably proven right on those two,” Sullivan says. “Maybe I shouldn’t have made it public.”

Sullivan still thinks Krychowiak is a fantastic player, though, and he tells a story about the time he let Sam Allardyce know that Chelsea would listen to a £10m offer for Romelu Lukaku. “I asked Sam if he fancied Lukaku,” he says. “Sam said he’d take him on loan but he wouldn’t buy him for that. Again I’ve supported the manager.”

The phone on Sullivan’s desk is starting to ring with increasing persistence. Henry has arrived to discuss transfer plans. There are deals to be done and a relegation battle to be won, but Sullivan is still dreaming. “We have to get in the top six eventually,” he says. “We’ve had a go and it hasn’t worked. We’ll keep having a go. We’ll keep changing the model and try different things. We dare to dream.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Side of Ham 3:06 Tue Dec 12
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
I think the cunt Alex V wants us to become the 'Crazy Gang' where we never have great players just players that fit into a mindset.

Alex V 2:37 Tue Dec 12
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
But if you take Leicester as an example they were maybe a 10,000/1 shot. We can't wait for that sort of lightning to strike twice - it would take not only longer than our lives, but probably longer than the sport (or western civilisation) ever exists to work out for us.

Every team has key players of course. If you're at the top your key players are the best players in the world. At our level it's a different relationship. We have flashes of world-class players - half a season from Tevez, Di Canio's inconsistent genius, Payet's mardy antics. It is ephemeral and unreliable and hard to reproduce. It's not a workable strategy to rely on that, because you cannot sustain it. Yet pretty much our entire mainline strategy in recent years has been big money on key players of various types - betting the farm on Carroll, then Valencia, then Ayew, then Arnautovic and Hernandez. It's a bad strategy.

Takashi Miike 12:23 Tue Dec 12
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
even Leicester would never have won the league without Mahrez, Kante, Vardy and various referees

Mike Oxsaw 12:08 Tue Dec 12
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
Takashi Miike 10:55 Tue Dec 12

Agreed - you can get rid of all the lower level staff in most businesses through documenting their processes and automation, but key players will always be needed, and, if you do get rid of your riff-raff, become even more vital to the business.

In any case, in a football club, the riff-raff ARE it's key players and the management simply the support staff.

Takashi Miike 10:55 Tue Dec 12
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
"That's the entire reason for building a structure which provides continuity and relies on no key staff or players."


every successful club in the history of the game has relied on key staff and players. please stop talking bollocks

The Kronic 10:51 Tue Dec 12
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
Any win is used as a propaganda tool by those dense idiots and their salivating poodles. A couple of decent performances doesn't override their amateurish and toxic management of the club.

Mike Oxsaw 10:46 Tue Dec 12
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
It's obvious to even the most intensely Downs-gened mong that we could be out of the relegation zone come the final whistle on Wednesday night.

Gold should give us the benefit of his wisdom by saying what he thought the chances of that happening are (not what he hopes or wants them to be, note).

The games against Citeh & the rent boys were certainly a step in the right direction, but it's never all one way in football.

Willtell 10:29 Tue Dec 12
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
I see that Gold is now giving it large about being out of the relegation zone after Wednesday night on Twitter and on Claret & Hugh.

They just cannot help themselves be anything but buffoons. We all hope we will get a second win but there is the still the small matter of Arsenal to beat and I reckon they will be well prepared and know what to expect so an owner should just simply stop setting themselves up as the complete fools they actually are!

Alex V 7:34 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
What you don't explain is why any other model enables the club to keep players better. Whatever the situation it's just the reality. However we bring players in, they may want to leave at some point.

If the beloved Carvalho came in and hit every expectation, how long would he realistically stay at the club. One season? Two seasons?

Whatever setup the club has it has to be able to survive the departure of either players or manager/coach. As opposed to the shambles we've seen in recent years when if key players or underperforming managers leave, the club has to basicaly rebuild from scratch. That's the entire reason for building a structure which provides continuity and relies on no key staff or players.

Side of Ham 6:09 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
Oh do fuck off Alex, as Surface has pointed out that is not the case, and because we are choosing with your fantasy to sit there openly in order to get them in and put it about that we are there to farm players to the bigger clubs it's clear there's only 4-6 options and nearly all of them are despised by this club's support and we'll just be left with the dross and hope to stay up.

You have a fucking low opinion of where this club should be now it's moved and i say again you are not West Ham fan but from some other cunty club like Spurs.

With your 'logic' we would have produced Brooking, Moore, Peters, Lampard Snr, Alvin unearthed for a bargain Devonshire, Dicks & Bonds to then sell them on well before their peak years.


FUCK RIGHT OFF YOU CUNT.

SurfaceAgentX2Zero 5:16 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
They are under less financial pressure to sell players but now have absolutely no power to prevent a player walking away at any time.

So you don't have a point. Or if you do it's a point that relates to a situation that no longer pertains.

Alex V 5:14 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
SurfaceAgentX2Zero 5:11 Mon Dec 11

It's an incredibly minor point in the broader argument I'm making. I shouldn't respond to nitpicking. But I do happen to think I'm right - clubs at our level are under much less pressure to sell players than at almost any other time in our history.

Jaan Kenbrovin 5:12 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
North Bank 3:04 Mon Dec 11

We took Declan Rice from Chelsea.

SurfaceAgentX2Zero 5:11 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
The crucial point is that the balance of power is now tilted so far in favour of the player that what you are saying is nonsense. ANY player can do what Payet did and an increasing number are choosing to do so.

Alex V 5:05 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
SurfaceAgentX2Zero 4:56 Mon Dec 11

That's why I said 'much more often' rather than 'always'.

SurfaceAgentX2Zero 4:56 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
Alex V 4:53 Mon Dec 11

'One of the big advantages of the money in the game currently is that clubs can choose where and when to sell much more often.'

Like we could with Payet, you mean?

Alex V 4:53 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
>>> Of course there's not a downside to finding a Kane or Kante the downside is having to sell them to a Spurs or Chelsea within a couple or few seasons of them just establishing themselves.

Don't sell them to Spurs or Chelsea then. One of the big advantages of the money in the game currently is that clubs can choose where and when to sell much more often. My opinion is that clubs at our sort of level should generally sell more often, and take advantages of situations where they can receive more than a player's worth by selling them when the market is hot. If we had Kane for a couple of season then sold him for £100m+ it would be tough to take, but that money could improve the health of the club dramatically regardless. As long as you can improve the squad with the money you make from sales the club moves forward each time. And actually then maybe has the funds to invest in facilities, staff as well as recruitment. The benefit is so huge that it's massively worth the downsides. A single Harry Kane would massively change the history of our club, whether he stays for his career or is sold at a huge profit.

Of course the sort of approach I'm suggesting would be built in order to withstand the sale of any one player. That's the whole idea of trying to generate a production line of talent - it softens the blow of any player leaving if there are better replacements ready to be an option to replace them. Rather than the recent situation where we're so reliant on Payet that the house of cards collapses when he gets the hump - that's how not to run a squad!

And the alternative to a more sensible approach is what exactly? The current system of blowing the majority of the budget on big reputations we can't really afford each Summer? I don't see how that is any more advantageous than taking the money and betting it on red or black on a roulette wheel. In fact it's almost definitely a worse strategy than that, because there's no real prospect of doubling up, only of standing still. Either you get the reputation you thought you paid for, or you get another disaster that takes years to clean up.

Side of Ham 4:18 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
Of course there's not a downside to finding a Kane or Kante the downside is having to sell them to a Spurs or Chelsea within a couple or few seasons of them just establishing themselves.

An academy for US leads to US being a feeder club to clubs like them.Academies lead to Rio's, Cole's, Defoes and even Fatty going to have their best years lifting trophies in rivals colours or even if it's not rivals it's fucking sad.

FUCK THAT and all at an oversized stadium that we rent, it was just about tolerable at UP.

Alex V 3:33 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
Side of Ham 3:09 Mon Dec 11

I don't agree at all. If we had an academy that offered an integrated route from youth football to first team football, it would be incredibly attractive to young talent. Quina recently joined us from Chelsea presumably for this reason - okay he was badly advised as we're currently a shambles, but it shows the potential.

Alex V 3:25 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
>>> In fact V. i think you are a Spurs fan on a wind up as all you are advocating is their plan already in place.

But in many ways they copied Arsenal anyway. There's no harm ever in looking at a well-run example and learning from it. Good policies don't become bad ones because someone is already doing them. And Spurs have made some major mistakes along the way.

>>> You Alex want to advocate the impossible that NO ONE else has managed to sustain, finding Kantes & Kanes on a regular basis to then sell them to the big boys.

Are you suggesting there's a downside to trying to find the next Kante or Kane?

The current state of football changes very quickly. In 2008 the best plan to join the big boys was probably what Man City did, whereas now that approach is all but impossible. It might be that in 10 years the landscape might change and something else might be the best plan.

So you say nobody else has sustained a version of what I might suggest, but there's realistically only been a few years to measure. Agreed Southampton have hit a ceiling and found it hard to progress. Spurs have progressed and seem fairly established as a top six side now. I would argue Liverpool post-Carroll actually used a model that is not far off something similar, and they are also top six. Spurs and Liverpool did not have the wage issues that West Ham do, so it is harder for us I agree.

I'm not suggesting it is easy. I am suggesting that the sort of principles I would suggest are very difficult but achievable, and are not impossible and crucially do not doom the club (as I think yours and Sullivan's current approach seems to risk). Ie even if we do not succeed in the medium term, the club would nevertheless be healthier which is generally a good thing.

What are the chances of us winning the league in our lifetimes? At the moment incredibly low with the current regime. But with radical changes I think we have a chance rather than no chance. And I think the club could make changes that make us all more proud and connected with the club - there would be a connection between supporter and club where there currently isn't one.

Lee Trundle 3:09 Mon Dec 11
Re: Sullivan interview in the Guardian
Did you just say the "F" word, Alex V?!

(I don't mean Fletcher, who you'd have starting for us were he still here)

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