Have West Ham United, under the disastrous aegis of Sullivan and Gold, abetted by the formidable Karren Brady, doomed their ailing club to further catastrophe?
At the moment, they and the various credulous public bodies, either Olympic or Johnson-esque, which support them in their quest for the Olympic Stadium, have still to face complex legal challenges from both Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient. But even should West Ham prevail in court, there is still the question of whether, even in four years time, they will find a 60,000 capacity Olympic Stadium a fearful millstone around their neck.
Spurs could certainly fill it, though they surely have no moral and historic business to move so far away from White Hart Lane. But Hammers? Before their fixture list had been fulfilled, David Gold, one of the co-owners of the club, had announced that that their four English internationals, Parker, Cole and Upson, plus the on loan Wayne Bridge, would be allowed to leave. So what sort of team would then be left to West Ham to fight its way out of the highly competitive if hardly distinguished so called Championship? It could take a very long time indeed.
The truth being that those millionaires of what one might euphemistically call adult literature, Sullivan and Gold, have made one crass error after another. Gold now publicly admits that it was a mistake to appoint the melancholy Avram Grant as manager, but what on earth in his record (yes, I know, a European Cup Final appearance in Moscow, gained on the back of Jose Mourinho’s skills) in the first place?
Last January, they made a botched attempt to get rid of him, but failed to allure Martin O’Neill, which was pretty predictable, though they could probably have got Sam Allardyce. Now with the same old dubious sense of style, they boot out Grant – who will doubtless wallow in compensation – immediately after their loss at Wigan in the penultimate match dooms the club to relegation. Why not wait till the last game has been played and the Premiership programme ended?
Meanwhile, one has every sympathy for Leyton Orient who, as they predict, would probably be torpedoed by a West Ham on their doorstep. As for Spurs, they’d surely be betraying their fans, were they to move far from White Hart Lane. There is now talk of a new stadium in Haringey, which sounds a far better option. But surely all that glistens is not Gold?
Our highly esteemed Sports Minister Hugh Robertson, the last in a line of political mediocrities, seemed to have had a sudden rush of blood to the head, or heart, when he proclaimed that if FIFA wouldn’t clean up its act then England should withdraw. Only swiftly and cravenly to withdrawn himself, shamed by the sturdy support for his original view of the blonde Conservative MP Louise Bagshaw. She may as indeed she does write soppy novels, but she seems at least to have a little bit of the Thatcher courage about her.
In response to the late revelations of Lord Triesman, guess what, the flaccid FA are going to set up yet another committee to examine them, a leading part played uninspiringly by a lawyer centrally involved in the Hutton inquiry whitewash over the deeply suspicious death of Dr Kelly. When will it be universally acknowledged that FIFA, that foetid sink of iniquity, is utterly beyond redemption or moral hygiene? The battle was lost long ago when Joao Havelange schemed Stanley Rous out of the FIFA Presidency in Frankfurt in 1974.
In the old Sicilian saying, one hand washes the other, we can locate the significant and shameful fact that, for all his depredations and manipulations, Havelange continued in power unchallenged, till he bowed out in 1998. What does that tell you about the complaisant multiple members of FIFA? If only the FA would withdraw, perhaps others might follow. Perhaps.