This was not how it was supposed to be for West Ham fans. When they were made to uproot themselves and move away from their beloved Upton Park, to the soulless bowl that is the former Olympic Stadium in London, they were told that it would come with high-quality football, top calibre signings and a rise up the table. Four years on, not one of those promises has been fulfilled, and the events of this summer have only served to increase the anger of the West Ham fanbase.
The event that has lit the fuse has been the sale of Grady Diangana to West Bromwich Albion. Diangana, a product of the Hammers’ academy, was highly rated, and extremely impressive in his loan spell with the Baggies in the Championship last season, helping them to gain promotion back to the Premier League. Ahead of the new season, it was widely thought that Diangana would return to the London Stadium and fight for a place on the flanks in West Ham’s starting XI. However, he was surprisingly sold to West Brom, with the reasoning being given that the money generated would be reinvested into David Moyes’ team, as it was proving difficult to raise funds by selling other unwanted players. However, this logic did not fly, with the West Ham captain, Mark Noble, putting out a very disappointed tweet on the matter, which was ‘liked’ by Declan Rice and other West Ham first-team members. Clearly, they rated him and thought that he would be a good addition to the squad, but for the captain to come out and publicly state his disagreement with a transfer decision shows just how dysfunctional West Ham have become under the current ownership.
This site, and many others, do not consider it likely that the Hammers will be able to prise James Tarkowski away from Burnley. With just three senior centre-backs, West Ham desperately need to add defensive reinforcements, but they do not seem to have the budget to bring in domestic players, while foreign targets are proving to be hard to convince. Of course, the COVID pandemic has hit football clubs’ revenue hard with the absence of match-going fans, but this still points towards poor squad planning, that the likes of Albian Ajeti, for example, who was only signed last summer, is already surplus to requirements and was dispatched on loan to Celtic this season, with an option to buy. West Ham’s recent transfer history is littered with players who were either not good enough or too injury prone to have an impact, and ultimately proved to have been a waste of the fee and salary paid. The case of Jack Wilshere, who is still at the club, is the biggest example of this, while Andy Carroll, Carlos Fernandez, Jordan Hugill, Roberto, Lucas Perez and even record signing Sebastien Haller are all examples of transfers which did not work out. It is no surprise that the fans are unhappy with the general direction of the club, especially after all the lofty promises that were made earlier, and West Ham will need to completely change their fortunes on the pitch if they want any sort of happiness emanating from the stands, once fans are allowed back into stadiums.