West Ham United: Crisis what crisis?

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 11 September 2017, 08:54

WEST HAM fans have a knack of turning adversity into gallows humour as they have had more practice than most at doing so.

So the gag doing the rounds at the moment is that Slaven Bilic is the only manager in the Premier League who still boasts a 100 per cent record home and away in the Premier League, so why all the fuss?

Of course Bilic has so far lost every one of the club’s three Premier League away games and is yet to play a home game because of the vagaries at their loveless bowl at the London Stadium.

They’ve been waiting for the retractable seats to go back in after the World Athletics Championship this summer - but that’s all distant memories now.

It could well be Bilic for the high jump should West Ham fail spectacularly at home to surprise packages Huddersfield this evening when the TV cameras will only add to the insecurity surrounding The Hammers.

But while their fans joke around there really is nothing to be getting so get up about as West Ham prop up the rest of the Premier League. This is nothing new.

Only last season, Bilic’s team managed to lose four Premier League games on the spin so Bilic has plenty of rope left with which to hang himself.

The supporters have seen it all before and not so long ago either. In 2014/15 on two separate occasions during the season, West Ham managed to lose three games on the spin.

The year before that it was four on the trot in an end of season malaise. What makes Bilic so special?

This kind of abject letting down of the paying customers is as much part of tradition in the East End of London as pie and mash once was.

The issue Bilic faces is the people above. West Ham are ensconced in a 57,000 capacity stadium, the third biggest stadium in the Premier League behind Old Trafford and the Emirates.

So the fans think there is money galore pouring into Bilic’s pockets to spend on top of the range players.

For a start that is simply not true. The £23 million signing of Marko Arnautovic is a club record but it is way behind the £75m Manchester United paid for Romelu Lukaku and the £52m Arsenal paid for Alexandre Lacazette.

In terms of spending, West Ham are probably just above mid-table. The £30m Everton paid relegated Sunderland for keeper Jordan Pickford underlines that.

This is despite the board of directors pulling off a remarkable deal to pay just £2.5m a year in rent to the stadium owners E20.

The Hammers’ balance sheet looks a lot better than the team sheet that’s for sure.

But as West Ham prepare for what is an embarrassingly big match against newly-promoted Huddersfield tonight no doubt the rest of the football world will be revving it up as the club in crisis.

For those with a few years on the clock who can remember the Carlos Tevez affair, the Manny Omoyimni shambles, the despised Bond Scheme and players running off to live in caravans, being stabbed by their step sons or jumping out of hotel windows and legging it home to Chile - this is nothing.

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