'Where's the money?' West Ham's finances scrutinised as David Gold sparks fan fury with comments

West Ham co chairman David Gold

West Ham United co-owner David Gold has sparked fury among fans with comments over the club's finances.

When the Hammers moved from their beloved Boleyn Ground to the Olympic Stadium, co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold promised big 'marquee' signings.

In reality as one West Ham famously told a talkSPORT radio phone-in last season, 'We got Simone Zaza and some scaffolding'.

Many supporters are sceptical over the intentions of Sullivan and Gold.

Indeed many believe their bluster about "£35m marquee striker signings" was a ploy to sell season tickets.

If it was, it worked - or certainly helped - as West Ham sold 52,000 season tickets in their debut season at their new 60,000 seater London Stadium home, second only to Manchester United.

West Ham co chairman David Gold poses on the pitch before the matchWest Ham co-owner David Gold at the Olympic Stadium

And the same number is expected to sell out season tickets again this week but given last year's failings expectations are higher than ever with supporters demanding to see the kind of ambition being shown by Premier League rivals Everton.

So when Gold told talkSPORT this week that the club "must try to find the money" to sign a striker this summer it sent Hammers fans into meltdown.

That's because Slaven Bilic should have at least £150 million at his disposal to reshape his team this summer.

No marquee striker

With Zaza's loan cancelled before the £25m obligation to buy clause was activated last season West Ham never ended up signing the "marquee" striker money had supposedly been ring-fenced for.

And it didn't wash when Gold later tried to claim £20.5 million Andre Ayew was that man.

Bilic has only recruited free transfer Pablo Zabaleta so far this summer while rumoured moves for Kelechi Iheanacho, Michy Batshuayi, Onyekuru Henry, Olivier Giroud, Chris Smalling and Joe Hart have thus far failed to materialise.

Instead the club have been busy shedding players.

Player sales

Highly rated youngster Reece Oxford has been sent on a season-long loan to Bundesliga side Borussia Munchengladbach while flops Alvaro Arbeloa, Gokhan Tore and Havard Nordtveit have followed Simone Zaza out of the exit door as well as goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel and defender Stephen Hendrie.

Enner Valencia is expected to be sold for around £7 million in the near future while speculation continues to link more of last summer's disappointing crop of signings with moves away including Ayew, Sofiane Feghouli, Robert Snodgrass and Ashley Fletcher.

James Tomkins, Dimitri Payet were sold for a combined £35 million in the last 11 months taking the total raised from player sales to nearly £50 million and counting.

West Ham United owners David Gold and David SullivanWest Ham United owners David Gold and David Sullivan

Record income

All the while the Hammers announced record income in their annual accounts earlier this year off the back of the ever-increasing TV deal - worth around £120 million.

The extra ticket revenue, commercial and merchandising revenue streams has seen the club enter the prestigious European Deloitte Football Money League Top 20 for the first time, as proudly paraded on its official website back in January.

Upton Park sale

Factor in the estimated £45 million raised from the sale of Upton Park - which even if offset against the club's £2.5million a year Olympic Stadium rent is enough to pay for the first 18 of their 99 year lease - and eyebrows start to twitch.

Usual transfer budget

That's not including the money that surely would have been made available anyway for the summer - typically around £25 million net under Sullivan and Gold - which is small fry in the current climate.

West Ham United's Dimitri PayetPayet and fellow departures have raised close to £45 million and counting in the last 11 months

Is debt the reason?

West Ham had to be debt free before taking up their residence as anchor tenants at the Olympic Stadium.

They were carrying debt heading into their last season at Upton Park so Sullivan and Gold would have had to clear that according to the reported agreement.

And it is that factor which has led fans to speculate that the owners are trying to reshape the squad on the cheap in a bid to cream as much profit off the club as possible.

Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho scores their first goalManchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho is believed to be a prime target

How owners can prove everyone wrong

In fairness not many Premier League clubs have conducted too much business so far with the transfer window still in its relative infancy.

And some big transfers in the coming weeks will blow all of that out of the water.

And it must be noted that Sullivan and Gold have done a lot for the Hammers since they hit stormy weather under Icelandic ownership during the financial collapse.

Gold's comments have not gone down well and action not words will be the only thing that can appease supporters between now and the close of the transfer window in August.

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