Sullivan has been very active ever since the takeover and have, as I see it, so far done a tremendous job presenting the fans with a palatable mix of good and bad news, playing on the fans feelings for the Club in a way that was not possible for the Icelanders or Duckers.
As has been commented on everywhere, Gold&Sullivan has not missed an opportunity to say how bad the Club has was run and how irresponsible money was spent. This does not end with the usual Eggy extravaganza charges, that everyone has been pointing finger at for at least a year and a half. We also get to hear about the huge “wine and dine” account of a board member as well as the rather peculiar example of club telephones. The target group he is aiming at with these statements is clear, he presents all these figures in a “down to earth, common sense, kit shirt” kind of a way, choosing examples we can relate to, giving the fans exactly what we need to get upset with big spending.
Sullivan knows that a crusade on greed and overspending is likely to find support among football fans, many of whom already suffer the consequences of the financial meltdown.
When listening to the BBC interview HERE there are not many things that one can object to, on the contrary, most of it makes perfect sense.
So it’s not really what Sullivan says that I have a problem with. What I do object to is why he says it and the timing of it - his agenda.
After creating this “everything was outrageous” context he gets to talk about getting rid of players we have previously been regarding as instrumental to success, without being immediately branded as a traitor.
So Sullivan finds the support for cuts by presenting them to the fans as threats to our survival, and in a way that’s perfectly fine. During Duckers the fans were lost in the dark and jumped at every little detail made public. What I thoroughly dislike, however, is when he starts a discussion on individual player contracts in public. I’m sure that he would find it quite OK with contracts and transfer figures being “undisclosed” when it serves his purposes so it’s not a new open policy we are witnessing. He feels he needs support for the thought of selling key players in the summer, and also wants to be able to use this acceptance in player contract talks. So he brands some of our most important players as greedy (hardly a way to build team spirit btw) but what gets really revolting is when he goes after players unfortunate to be hurt while playing or training. Signing Dyer was always going to be a gamble and offering him a contract not based on appearances was obviously stupid. But that is not Dyers doing and trying to turn us fans against individual players to put pressure on them in economic matters is just not OK.
Now I feel the need to point out that I am not against G&S as owners, I am certainly not against lowering the wage bill, as most readers of my previous posts can testify. On the contrary, I am really upset about how some teams are being run with the aid of “financial doping” as the “All Party Parliamentary Football Group” called it already a couple of years ago.
All I am saying is that we as fans of West Ham united are an instrument and we are played by a virtuoso.
We need to listen carefully, not only for each note but for what song it turns out to be so we can be upset when we find a good reason to, and not only when Sullivan wants us to be.