Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Last Night At The Forum

Last night saw the first Fans Forum of the Magnusson era with Deputy CEO Scott Duxberry and Finance Director Nick Igoe attending an exclusive meeting with 18 fortunate fans. Several topics were openly addressed and what follows is a potted break-down of all the details in the order of items discussed.

  • Carlos Tevez is under contract for 3 more years and was effectively signed on a Bosman. If he wants to stay then he will and in this sense he is no different to any other player. West Ham management will meet with Tevez within the next 14 days. We have first refusal on the player and hope and wish to keep him. It was admitted, however, that this could be difficult if a team of Champions League stature came in for him.
  • Scott Duxberry met with Yossi Benayoun on Monday and there should be an announcement next week. It was intimated that he would be staying. At the moment Duxberry has many players and agents knocking on the door looking for new deals or the exit.
  • There will be a meeting with Nigel Reo-Coker and his agent very soon. If he wants to stay then great and if not then he can go. The inference is that Alan Curbishley will not be going out of his way to keep him. It was said that, despite the rumours, no offer was made for Reo-Coker in August and none of the 'big four' clubs have ever lodged a bid for the player.
  • It was confirmed that Teddy Sheringham, Shaun Newton and Tyrone Mears have all left or are in the process of leaving the club. A number of other players will follow. Overall, we can expect more players out than in and that certain players will leave before we add to the squad. The board were keen to stress that this is simply the way the deals are going to work and that it will not represent a fire-sale. There have been no official bids for any of our players as yet. It was also stated that we never made a move for Chelsea-bound Steve Sidwell.
  • As far as season tickets are concerned there will no longer be a student band but rather U21s U16s, U10s, OAP and normal. There will be an increase but it will not be as high as speculated in the media. Season ticket renewal packs will be sent out next week and have to be done by 29th June. They have been delayed due to the uncertainty of which league we would be playing in.
  • The club has a defined business plan with the intention of competing in the Champions League within three years. Magnusson, Duxberry and Curbishley will meet tomorrow to discuss signings for the new season. We can hopefully expect two or three "world class" players who are more than likely already playing in the Premiership. Having said that, the possibility of looking abroad is not completely ruled out. It is intended that the club will evolve rather than drastically change overnight.
  • It was confirmed that there will be no re-development of the East Stand. The club intend to move to a new 60,000 all-seater stadium within three years. The Parcel Force site on the land around Stephenson Street looks like the favoured destination. The board feel the move is a basic requirement if we want Champions League football. The issue of atmosphere at the new ground was raised and the club plan to learn from other clubs mistakes on this matter. The board do feel that our fans would make an atmosphere anywhere and that its our fans who will give us the edge as opposed to other clubs like Arsenal where the atmosphere has always been quieter. The board also stated that there are no plans to price out the "traditional fan" as without us they would not fill a 60,000 all-seater stadium. They plan to use both traditional and corporate fans alongside each other to drive the club forward. Duxberry also said that the club's corporate hospitality had a record year and record profits.
  • The average salary of a Hammers fan is actually £53k and not £60k as Eggert Magnusson famously claimed. Nick Igoe said the figures are taken from a Premier League survey carried out in December.
  • Dean Ashton has had a one week holiday and is already back at the club and continuing his rehabilitation. He is nearing full training and will be fully fit for next season. It was also stated that had we got relegated Ashton would have stayed.
  • The club shop now has a new Retail Director so we can expect a massive overhaul of the commercial side of the shops with better online facilities as well as new items to buy.
  • The stadium will be completely non-smoking from July 1st onwards, as is the legal requirement. It is the same stance over the issue of standing, with club policy being dictated by law.
  • There has been much internal consternation over the entire Carlos Tevez affair. Duxberry felt the press had been on a witch hunt and had blown everything out of proportion. The club believes that Sheffield United going to arbitration is completely misguided and that there is absolutely no fear that points will be deducted based on all the legal advice they have received. The club has kept quiet due to the political climate and they believe it is impossible to get the truth heard because of the media spin. It was claimed that Dave Whelan is ignorant of all the facts and that Tevez was and always has been signed and registered since Aug 31st. Amusingly, Duxberry said he had never heard of rule U18 because it is filed under miscellaneous in the handbook next to the rule that you have to have a advert in the programme for the Football Foundation - that is how obscure it is! Nobody would comment on whether legal action would be taken against Brown and Aldridge- with the clear implication that it might. The club is totally confident that the verdict of the Independent Commission will be upheld.
  • The Hammerettes will not be returning.
  • The new kit will be supplied by Umbro and the sponsor will be XL airlines. The deal is a massive nine times bigger than the previous deal and will be launched in June. The new away kit is to be launched on the Aug 4th friendly date- which will probably be against a highly rated Spanish Team. The new kit will only have a one year shelf life as we intend to keep the stock fresh. We can also expect to see more improved leisure gear in stock as well as other items as the whole club shop and online side is improved. The examples of Manchester City and Everton was sited, as both raise £5million a year from their stores and merchandise. We currently make £3million. The target is to exceed these other clubs as quickly as possible.
  • There will be two new screens to replace the old ones at the ground. It is also hoped that WHUTV and the official website will be overhauled and improved.
  • Historically there has been no real business plan. Now the club is focussed on the commercial side and have split this and the playing side to increase revenue from a commercial aspect. Arsenal have a £2million turnover per game and ours is £900k. It is a priority that this is improved.
  • The museum is to be shut and its items placed elsewhere in the ground.
  • We almost signed a right winger in January, believed to be Ashley Young, but then due to injuries to defenders we scrapped this deal and signed Davenport instead. Whoever the player was, a deal had been agreed and it was the club who pulled the plug.
  • Alan Pardew did not play Mascherano for whatever reasons and Alan Curbishley did not think the player was fit enough. There were no financial or contractual reasons for not picking the player.
  • The club purchase by the current owners is not secured on the club's assets. Magnusson hates losing and loves the transfer window as he aims to bring in world class players to take us to the next level.
  • This pre=season we are going to Austria and will use the same training camp as Bolton. It is thought that the last pre season was poor and that we lost our edge and fitness. It is hoped we will regain our sharpness finish strongly in games as we did the previous season.
  • On the subject of the January signings, Lucas Neill is seen as a crucial figure in driving the club forward. There is potential to tour Australia next year because the popularity of the player has led to considerable press coverage over there. Luis Boa Morte was also talked about in glowing terms and it was stated he has been both injured and ill since he arrived at the club and things will improve for him next season. The club are looking forward to the return of Matthew Upson but the future of Davenport at the club is less clear. There was no mention of Nigel Quashie.
  • We have also launched some new academies in the USA.
  • The board will carry out surveys in the summer over the fans perception off the club and what we hope to see. One thing raised was the size and content of the programme which seems to be under review. The programme will not increase in price this season.
  • Nick Igoe stated that there would be more forums in the future, including ones with Eggert Magnusson and possibly Alan Curbishley. There will also be more open days at the ground and also training days, which again will be at the ground and open to the fans.

4 comments:

Rich said...

I wish Sheffield United had signed a couple of South American superstars at the start of last season on dodgy contracts and then decieved the rest of the Premiership about them. We'd probably still be in the Premiership now and a £5.5 million fine would have been easily off set by the reward of staying in the league especially with the new TV money.

Well I guess everyone knows now that in football whether on the pitch or off it, honesty is certainly NOT the best policy.

HeadHammerShark said...

Cry me a river.

I'll bet you wish that your team were good enough to get more than 35 points too.

As for honesty, why don't you read a bit about the subject and then compare the facts of the case with the statments being made by your chairman McCabe. Namely his continued insistence on referring to Tevez as ineligible.

You're a pot, I'm a kettle. Don't call me black.

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