West Ham says Premier League football 'necessity' after £27.26m financial losses

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Mark Noble
West Ham are fourth from bottom of the Premier League and face Premier League leaders Liverpool next

West Ham United say staying in the Premier League is "an absolute necessity" after posting financial losses of £27.26m.

Despite spending more than £130m on transfers, and £214.4m in the last four years, they are only above the Premier League drop zone on goal difference.

The accounts, for the year to 31 May 2019, show the backing the club gave to former manager Manuel Pellegrini.

He was sacked in December and was replaced by David Moyes.

"Retention of our status in 2019-20 season is an absolute necessity for the future wellbeing of the club," said West Ham, in their accounts.

The club say there will be "serious financial consequences" should they be relegated into the Championship.

Ironically, these statements, along with an expansive note from joint owner David Sullivan, were written in October, when the club was pushing for a place in the top four.

Financial rules mean they cannot be changed despite West Ham's sharp downturn in fortunes.

The club's turnover rose 8.75% to £190.7m. Wages rose almost 28% to £135.8m after a spending spree that saw the Hammers sign Issa Diop, Lucasz Fabianski, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson amongst others.

Since the end of last season, West Ham smashed their club record by signing striker Sebastian Haller in a deal that could cost them £45m. The former Eintracht Frankfurt forward has scored six times in 22 Premier League games.

"The board made a decision at the beginning of 2018 to embark on an investment programme that would involve bringing in a world class manager, investing in better players and making significant investment in the club's infrastructure," said Sullivan.

"We now believe we have one of the strongest squads and management teams in the Premier League."

Sullivan says in 2018-19, £107.9m was spent on transfer fees, whilst the first-team squad and management accounted for wages of £135.8m. The club spent £4m on developing their Rush Green training ground and £600,000 setting up their women's team, which now competes in the WSL.

West Ham currently pay just over £3m in rent to use the London Stadium, although it is understood this figure will halve if they get relegated to the Championship.

West Ham are evidently paying the price for the disastrous recruitment of Pellegrini and his ally, director of football Mario Husillos, who has also now left the club.

When the pair arrived in 2018, Sullivan made a conscious decision to step away from recruitment.

As it turned out, the faith was not rewarded. Husillos is viewed as being responsible for the decision to sign second choice goalkeeper Roberto from Espanyol.

After Fabianski suffered a long-term injury in September, the 33-year-old started seven games. West Ham conceded 16 goals and gained a single point amid six defeats.

Club insiders noticed a collapse in confidence that affected the whole squad, which has led them to their present position, facing a run of nine league fixtures to 4 April that includes two meetings with Liverpool, plus games against Manchester City, Arsenal, Wolves, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Roberto has since left for Spanish side Alaves on loan, with Moyes trying to reinforce his squad for the battle to preserve the Hammers' top flight status.

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