David Sullivan and David Gold's 10 point West Ham pledge revisited seven years on

David Sullivan, West Ham owner and David Gold, West Ham chairman look on during the Premier League match between Burnley and West Ham United at Turf Moor on May 21, 2017 in Burnley,...

When David Sullivan and David Gold took over West Ham United in 2010 they made a 10 point pledge to supporters.

David Sullivan, West Ham owner and David Gold, West Ham chairman look on during the Premier League match between Burnley and West Ham United at Turf Moor on May 21, 2017 in Burnley,...

Now seven years on, that pledge has disappeared from West Ham's official website.

And perhaps with good reason because revisiting it does not make for good reading.

David Sullivan and David Gold set out their vision for the Hammers with many of the points applicable to any club with talk of "appointing the right manager" and only signing players "who are hungry to do well".

Some of the points of the plan have been realised, but at what cost and seven years after pledging to compete for Champions League football, the East London club are closer to the Championship after their worst even start to a Premier League season leaves them odds on to be relegated.

West Ham's 10-point plan

1. Appoint the right manager

West Ham managers under Sullivan and Gold

It could be argued Sullivan and Gold have failed miserably on this front. After making the pledge they appointed Avram Grant and he promptly took the club down without so much as a fight. Sam Allardyce was the bitter medicine the club needed to bounce back to the big time but they let him go after a successful four-year tenure and went for Slaven Bilic. He enjoyed a remarkable debut season, the club's memorable farewell campaign at the Boleyn. Things have been pretty turgid ever since, though, with Bilic sacked last month and replaced by expert in failure David Moyes to much apathy from supporters.


2. Sign new players

Just when you think the club is moving in the right direction with its recruitment policy they go and spoil it with a change of approach. Signings like Cheikhou Kouyate, Pedro Obiang, Aaron Cresswell, Diafra Sakho and Michail Antonio were great pieces of business as was £10m for Dimitri Payet. But the club has had a disastrous couple of summers with a glut of terrible signings and failing to truly invest in the team with a net spend nothing like what was promised on leaving Upton Park for the Olympic Stadium. There does not seem to be any coherent plan or philosophy to recruitment and fans aren't even sure who is signing the players between the managers, David Sullivan and talent spotter Tony Henry. 


3. More investment in the Academy

Whether West Ham's investment in the academy holds up against other Premier League clubs it is hard to tell. But one thing is for certain the Hammers have all but lost their identity as the self-styled Academy of Football with Mark Noble the only current first team regular to have graduated from the youth ranks. Young Declan Rice looks to have staying power having broken through this season but it is no coincidence that a lack of homegrown Hammers making the first team has contributed to a lack of identity at the club.


4. Continue to clear the debt

Debt is said to be down to around £50million now and the owners have recently reduced the interest on their loans. With the huge income from TV rights, the sale of Upton Park, increased income and revenue streams from the big move to the Olympic Stadium it could be argued that the Hammers should be well clear of debt. West Ham are officially the 15th richest club in world football and have the seventh highest attendances in Europe so debt should not be a long-term problem. Stay up and the money continues to pour in to help clear the debt, go down and it would see the club take 10 steps backwards.


5. Freeze season ticket prices for renewals

In fairness to Sullivan and Gold ticket prices at the new stadium are fair and affordable for families while there are a wide range of different band season tickets.


6. Build the status and image of the club

They were on the right path in this regard, but the last 18 months have been one PR disaster after another since the move to the new ground. Supporters are unhappy with broken promises over the stadium and transfers and many feel the owners' public outbursts constantly undermined Bilic. The rebranding of the club's badge and inclusion of the word London has gone down like a lead balloon with fans who are demanding change. Supporters are in revolt against the owners and Karren Brady with petitions, campaigns and groups being set up on a weekly basis.  The owners have lost any trust built up with the fans and it will take a concerted effort to build bridges and some serious investment to repair the relationship long term.


7. Make it enjoyable to come and watch

Empty seats is seen inside the stadium during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at London Stadium on November 4, 2017 in London, England.

It was good to watch in Bilic's first season, a record breaking campaign which saw the Hammers record a first positive goal difference in the top flight since 1986. But Sam Allardyce's tenure was often turgid albeit highly organised and reliable over the course of a season. Moyes looks to be somewhere in-between but the fact thousands of fans have left home games as much as 20 minutes early this season tells its own story. The magic went when Payet left and things haven't been the same since.


8. Get closer to the community

Various initiatives in place and as part of the 99-year lease as anchor tenants of the London Stadium, the club is involved in a host of local causes. 


9. Go for the Olympic Stadium

They got it. But that doesn't mean they have got it right. In the pledge the owners said:

"Leaving the Boleyn Ground will be a wrench but the Olympic Stadium is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in a financial and football sense. Our potential partnership with Newham Council promises to take this club to a new level, while protecting our history and traditions. To move forward, we have to move – but always with an eye on the past."

Fans were promised state of the art retractable seating and marquee signings but in reality they got scaffolding and a bunch of flops. West Ham could well move on to a new level, the Championship, and most fans feel the club's history and traditions are not being upheld. If the owners somehow managed to get the ground outright and make changes to the layout it could still be a viable home for West Ham's future. But in the current state it is simply an athletics stadium masquerading as a football ground.


10. Listen to supporters

David Gold, Joint Chairman of West Ham United signs autographs for fans during a West Ham United family fun day at London Stadium on February 15, 2017 in London, England.

The club have literally in the last two weeks started taking action over supporters' concerns on various issues. That's great but the key issues over the stadium, a lack of investment in the transfer market and the general running of the club mean it all looks like being too little too late with West Ham facing having to go from winning one in nine games to winning one every other game to survive should they lose to Chelsea and Arsenal in the next two.


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