Tough task for Trevor

STAND-in Hammers boss Trevor Brooking believes managing in the First Division has never been harder given the financial fall-out from relegation, writes Derek Davis.

STAND-in Hammers boss Trevor Brooking believes managing in the First Division has never been harder given the financial fall-out from relegation, writes Derek Davis.

Brooking, who is also a director at the Boleyn Ground, points to the experiences Ipswich suffered as to what can happen if you can't sell top players in time.

The east end club had no doubts that they, and Sunderland would have followed Ipswich into administration if they had not sold four of their best, highest-paid players – Joe Cole, Glen Johnson, Freddie Kanoute and Trevor Sinclair – for nearly £20million, no matter how unpopular the move was with fans.

Brooking said: "We had no choice really.


You may also want to watch:


"This period of time for West Ham is as difficult as any I can remember in the last 40 years.

"It's depressing and hugely frustrating and I can't see a solution to it. I think it'll get worse and the divide between the rich and poor in football will get bigger.

Most Read

"Together Sky TV and the Champions' League have changed everything. The structure of the modern game means that the financial implications of relegation from the Premiership can be really serious.

"We've looked at it closely. There was no bail-out for us. Everyone said that if we kept our best players we'd bounce straight back. We could have done that had we found someone willing to write off £25m. We'd have needed that to keep the players and pay the wages because the revenue flow dives once you're out of the Premiership.

"I remember relegation as a player at West Ham in 1977-78. We were out of the top division for three seasons but that didn't mean we had to sell our best players. Nor did it mean the players wanted to leave the club."

The truth, 25 years ago, was quite the opposite. Within a year of relegation West Ham had spent a world record fee of £525,000 for a goalkeeper, Phil Parkes, another record fee of £430,000 for a teenager, Ray Stewart, and then £220,000 for Stuart Pearson from Manchester United and £800,000 for Paul Goddard from Queens Park Rangers.

To help them bounce back this time they have taken Neil Mellor on loan from Liverpool and have managed to keep Jermaine Defoe and England keeper David James.

Rob Lee joined from Derby County but injured his knee in the win against Bradford City on Tuesday and his place in midfield will be taken by Don Hutchison.

Club captain Steve Lomas has had an operation on an ankle and Rufus Brevett misses out due to a foot injury.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter