When West Ham “signed” Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano nearly five years ago, they looked like a club with ambition who were aiming for the upper reaches of the Premiership.
Instead of the bright future the Club proclaimed for itself, the “bubbles” they will be blowing will be in the Coca Cola Championship rather than the heady heights of the Premiership. A once famous Club - in fact a giant of the game in terms of its history - has been brought down by its various owners. People who did not have West Ham, or indeed football in their blood, allowed agents to sell them some very poor players and indeed a very poor manager in Avram Grant.
West Ham reached the FA Cup Final in 2006, finished a credible 9th in the Premiership and actually made a profit before the road to ruin began. The signing of the two South American players looked as though it could propel the London side into the territory of the very top teams but on reflection it has been an unmitigated disaster.
According to West Ham’s own account it has so far cost the Club close to £50 millon. Most of this has been on fines, compensation and lawyers fees arising out of the original Tevez and Mascherano deal. Chairman at the time, Terry Brown, saw the writing on the wall and sold his shares for £30 million (to better the Club) to an Icelandic Bank and scarpered off to the Bahamas or whatever. Within two years of taking over the Icelandic Bank Chairman, Eggert Magnusson had fired managers Alan Parden and Alan Curbishley and the annual wage bill had spiralled from £28 million to £63 million. The Club total debt stands at £120 million and why anyone in football would ever give Avram Grant a job of this magnitude is beyond me.
Looking back to that original fiasco with Tevez and Mascherano, I think my old pal Shakespeare sums it up best with his wonderful verse, “What a gentle web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself!
Read more from the Doc in the Journal every Tuesday