Yesterday Scott Duxbury aka the Duck, felt obliged to issue an official statement on the official site. The reason is the growing rage among fans fueled by rumours that the desperate creditors of Straumur (owners of West Ham holding etc…) has ordered the Club to sell Mathew Upson to the highest bidder (i.e. Man C). According to the rumours most of the money will not be available for the Club.
Ducky’s story is that “there is no change in transfer policy”. That is an enigmatic statement in its own right as we do not really know what the transfer policy has been.
In January the Duckman issued a similar statement in a similar situation so we can take a look at that transfer window and see what his words are worth.
In January I wrote this about the transfer/credibility storm surrounding Duxy:
With the exception of Bellamy, no player that has been considered essential to the team has left. If you think of the doomsday scenario that most papers presented in November and most of December, that is not bad, especially when it turned out that we got £14 million for him. Dux seem to have done a good deal there and as I said in a previous post HERE Bellamy was also kind enough to take any burden off Duxbury by trying to force a move to T-Ham. Talk about subtle intuition how to get every fan as your enemy. In comparison, even Duxbury seemed like a trustworthy bloke.
But how about improving and using funds?
The £14 million was used to buy Savio (undisclosed but said to be no more than £7.5 million up front, additional costs later) and to sign Ilunga on a permanent deal said to be worth around £1.4 million. So no more than £9 million of the Bellamy money was probably used in this transfer window. A pretty big publicity stunt was made of the fact that against common understanding (what was said in the tabloids), Zola was given any funds at all.
I do NOT mean that a spending of a lot of cash is always a good thing, all I’m trying to do is to compare the actual moves to Duxbury statements.
Now, the amount of money in deals are always hard to find out. Some say that the Savio money was no where near £7.5 million. There certainly was no strengthening of the squad but still, there was no fire sale during the January window.
So there is no change in transfer policy compared to theJanuary window… That would mean, I guess, that we may sell a player that is worth a lot of money but who is not considered absolutely essential for the Clubs survival in the Premiereship. Zola will be allowed to “strengthen the squad” by finding a cheaper player that either is a “football project” prospect or fills an immediate need. Last time out we secured Ilunga, this time we got Kover Kovac on a permanent basis. Last time we got Savio, this time we will get something other than a starlet, I think. The desperate need of a mature, and reliable striker is recognized by all and is most likely the Clubs priority target.
We will not sign a high profile striker on a permanent basis, but my gut feeling tells me that we may well get one on loan. Last season Zola filled some desperate needs by gambling on DiMichele and/or Tristan to find some form – neither of them did, but it does tell us how Zola/Nani/Duckers operate. This time they have more time to find the right player and maybe, at least in my dreams, Toni fits an improved version of this “MO” of the triumvirate.
The Club is describet by Dux as being “self sufficient”. There must be, however, significant worries about how much money the gates/fan-products will generate this season during these economically worried times. The season tickets were made cheaper for this season to”give something back to the fans” (or was it possibly to fill the seats and secure an good atmosphere – a very important aspect of the “product” Ducky the businessman is selling), so a bit of a buffer is more than likely needed to make sure that no desperate actions are need to be taken during the season.
If you, for some reason, hope for a significantly strengthened squad you will be disappointed, but if you are afraid that we’re on a highway to hell with an evil/incompetent driver, you are as wrong. Unless a filthy rich new owner steps out of the shadows we will have another season of fighting for a decent mid-table position.