Denis Puzyrev dismantled the hammers into small parts.
Before the start of the Premier League season, it looked like West Ham were ripe for a breakthrough. There were strong grounds for optimism: the club finished in the European Cup zone for two seasons in a row (and even swung at the Champions League zone during the 2021/22 season), retained key players and significantly strengthened the squad.
The bosses, who have been accused of being stingy in previous years, have finally opened their wallets and spent £173.3m in two transfer windows. Only Manchester United and Chelsea of the Todd Bowley era have more.
Such an impressive purchase is a demonstration of not only financial capabilities, but also ambitions. Almost all newcomers are status players: the goalkeeper Areola, bought from PSG, is the 2018 world champion and the silver medalist of the 2022 World Cup. Emerson is the European champion in the Italian national team, Gianluca Scamacca is in the top 7 scorers of Serie A, Lucas Paqueta is the base player of the Brazilian national team, who was expected in top clubs, Nayef Agerd is the backbone of the impenetrable defense of the Morocco national team.
It would seem that with such an increase, West Ham coach David Moyes will ensure progress in the Premier League. Indeed, in the 2021/22 season, West Ham did not have enough depth for a higher place in the championship and success in the Europa League. The team spent almost the entire season in the same line-up – only 13 players had more than 20 games.
However, the expectations did not come true. On the contrary, West Ham are not fighting for European competition, but for maintaining a place in the Premier League. Before the 27th round, the team was in 16th place, but only two points from the bottom. West Ham has already been eliminated from the domestic cups and the only outlet for the fans is the Conference League, where the team went through the group stage without problems and points losses and must overcome the 1/8 finals, where it got the Cypriot AEK.
What happened to West Ham this season and what is the reason for such a dramatic drop in results?
Twenty years ago, West Ham were relegated to the Championship with Di Canio, Joe Cole, Carrick and Defoe
Although the standings of West Ham with 11 matches before the end of the season look very alarming, there is no panic among fans and club leaders. There are two reasons for this.
The first is described by the English expression too big to go down (too big to go down). West Ham, in everything but the game, is a prosperous club, which in all respects is closer to the leaders of the Premier League than to outsiders. According to Transfermarkt, the team has the 7th-8th squad in terms of the cost of players (only the top 6 are more expensive and about the same for Newcastle). It plays in the third largest stadium in the league (only Manchester United and Tottenham have more). The club is doing well financially – the total amount of debt is 89 million pounds with annual revenue in the region of 300 million. There are no shareholder conflicts or problems in the core business of any of the shareholders inside the club.
In other words, there are a lot of poorer clubs in the league with less strong players and all sorts of internal problems. It sounds soothing, although West Ham remember the 2002/03 season well, when the team, which were played by England players David James, Glen Johnson, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, Trevor Sinclair, as well as Paolo Di Canio and Frédéric Kanoute has been sensationally relegated to the Championship. Surprisingly, the season before, West Ham had taken the same 7th place in the Premier League, after which Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier named West Ham among the contenders in the fight for the Champions League.
Then, too, they said a lot that a team with such a powerful line-up could not fly out of the Premier League. However, everything turned out in the worst way: an uncertain start, injuries to leading players, then a split in the team and the search for the guilty, dissatisfaction with the fans, a serious illness of head coach Glenn Raeder (he was diagnosed with a brain tumor). In general, everything was superimposed on each other, and West Ham were eliminated with 42 points. Although it is generally accepted that 40 points guarantee the preservation of a place in the Premier League, and West Ham’s result that season remains a record for teams that have left the Premier League.
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