He is the best goalkeeper I’ve worked with and I fully expect him to be equally as good for us this coming season. Joe has gone from strength to strength since his season at Birmingham, when he was voted Player of the Year, and it would not surprise me at all if he is in the running for the Hammer of the Year award come next May.A hubristic David Sullivan on Joe Hart
WHENEVER West Ham Chairman David Sullivan briefs his favoured websites (we all know who they are) it’s a pretty fair bet truth will take a backseat while expediency mans the wheel.
So it with the stories going pushed out around former “Director of Football” Mario Husillos and the purchase of goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez. While Sulley is happy to blame the Spanish agent for purchasing a terrible player, the reality is no money was forthcoming from the Board for a key position. Furthermore, both the reasons the club find themselves without neither a suitable back-up keeper nor the money to purchase one can both be laid at Sullivan’s door.
It was the Welsh owner who with a characteristic surfeit of hubris “pushed out the boat” to get on loan the lamentable Joe Hart just two-and-a half seasons ago despite the player being unwanted by Manchester City and having endured a terrible previous season on loan at Torino in Italy – during his single season at the Stadio Olimpico he made more unforced errors than any other keeper in Serie A.
Further to his astronomical wages (only Javier Hernandez earned more) Hart had a technical defect in his footwork that meant he was vulnerable to shots low to his left-hand side. The entire Premier League were aware of the weakness – not least West Ham who had themselves exploited it two years earlier during a famous 2-1 win at The Etihad. Either nobody told Sullivan – or perhaps more likely he refused to listen.
The Hammers already had two decent, if not brilliant stoppers in Adrian and Darren Randolph. But Sullivan insisted on acquiring the former England man despite appearing a player on the way down. Randolph read the way the wind was blowing and signed a four-year deal at Championship Middlesbrough.
Hart returned to City at the end of the year with any reputation he might have possessed in tatters and West Ham bought the brilliant Lukasz Fabianski. Already upset at the way he had been treated over Hart, previous No1 Adrian waited out his contract before signing as back-up for Liverpool – an infinitely preferable position than sitting on the bench at the London Stadium. This was the situation when Husillos was given five scratchcards, two bottles of Lambrini and a £10 voucher from Matalan with which to bring a goalie to the club.
So to the finances: Aston Villa appeared to have no problem at all persuading former Liverpool No1 Pepe Reina to sign for their side. Not so for West Ham – poor management in the transfer market, particularly in gaining income from sales, as well as the board’s penchant for trousering the interest on loans made to the club (for comparison – the much-loathed Mike Ashley at Newcastle offers all his club loans at nought per cent interest) means the Hammers are in an almost constant cashflow crisis.
As Randolph hasn’t completed his contract at Boro the Teesside club will still owe West Ham money and would make a perfect signing, even if he is currently injured. A deal to get Randy back offers the opportunity to “backload” the fees for a transfer until such time as the club can budget accordingly.
All very messy, costly and unnecessary. All very David Sullivan.