To say West Ham are in trouble right now would be the biggest understatement since the captain of the Titanic chirpily stated that hitting the iceberg was “a bit of a boo-boo”.
After 25 games, the Hammers find themselves mired in the relegation zone and with an ominous task ahead of them if they are to cling on to their top-flight status. Among their remaining 13 fixtures are encounters with Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Wolves, Tottenham, Chelsea and Man Utd.
And once you also add into the mixer the club’s hated owners, shocking player recruitment, fans’ resentment of their London Stadium home and the comedy reappointment of David Moyes, it paints the ugliest picture since we had a crack at the Mona Lisa for our Year 4 art exam.
The prospect of Premier League relegation is looming large over the club. But here’s the thing: they may actually be better served in the long-term if they do fall through the trap door.
Here are six reasons why – one for every victory they’ve mustered so far this season…
1. They should get that winning feeling back
Turning up just to watch your team lose week after week is a gruelling, soul-destroying experience. You dread going, you hate it whilst you’re there, you go home angry and sulk for days afterwards. Where’s the fun in that?
Going down a level should make things slightly easier on the pitch – or at least more interesting – which in turn makes the match-going experience far more enjoyable for supporters. Well, that is on the assumption reckless owners don’t grossly mismanage the situation and leave them spiralling down the lower leagues à la Sunderland or Blackpool. Which brings us on to…
2. The owners may pack up and leave
To put it extraordinarily mildly, the club’s boardroom – principally David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady – are not too popular with the West Ham fanbase. And banning fans for wearing “GSB OUT!” T-shirts in the stadium is not really helping matters.
A “seasonal ban” for wearing a “provocative” t-shirt to “deliberately incite the crowd”.
Incite the crowd into what, I wonder? Having honestly held beliefs against the club ownership and how it’s been run? pic.twitter.com/7MudEg077v
— FSA Faircop (@FSA_FairCop) February 4, 2020
In particular, the relationship between supporters and the two porn barons, Gold and Sullivan, has broken down so badly that they could prance around the directors’ box on matchday in Tottenham shirts while setting fire to Trevor Brooking effigies and it would probably end up actually improving their reputation.
Amid deafening fan criticism following relegation, the owners may see fit to sell up and hotfoot it outta town quicker than you can say “parachute payments”. This would allow new owners to come in and breathe fresh life into the club, reinvigorating supporters in the process.
Potential frontrunners should include Mike Ashley – who could find the club an actual football stadium to use whilst turning London Stadium into a Sports Direct warehouse – or celebrity fan Danny Dyer. He’s used to starring in a long-running soap opera after all.
3. They will save a fortune in wages
It is widely understood that the vast majority of West Ham’s playing squad will see their wages slashed in half should they suffer the ignominy of relegation. Which is a pretty necessary saving to make when you’re no longer sloshing around in the Premier League’s money pool.
It’s unfathomable to think how world-class talent like Andriy Yarmolenko will survive on just £60,000 per week. Ergo he, and many others of his grossly underperforming teammates will need to force a move away from the club just to earn enough to feed their families.
That scenario brings with it another big benefit…
4. They can rebuild the squad
Since the club’s move to Usain Bolt’s old stomping ground, West Ham have registered a net spend of £214m on “improving” the playing squad. Which is all well and good, until you realise some of the dross they’ve frittered money away on. Stand-out signings, for all the wrong reasons, include Sebastien Haller (£36m), Felipe Anderson (£28m), Pablo Fornals (£25m), and of course the £18m Yarmolenko.
Will this lot really be bothered with the hustle, bustle and general Stoke-ynes of the Championship? As if.
Restarting life in the second tier allows the Hammers to cut their losses on supposed stars and begin the process of bringing passionate local lads through the youth system who actually care about the club.
And if they’re really lucky, Jack Wilshere may even be fit enough to get a game.
5. Keep the bubbles industry alive
Amid all this talk about how industries will be affected post-Brexit, you don’t hear much about the world of bubble-blowing liquid companies, do you? Without meaning to jump to rash assumptions, we’re going to say West Ham are a pretty big proponent of them given they whir up that annoying bubble machine every time they score a goal at home.
The problem is that’s not happening much at the moment. This season they are averaging just over a goal a game at home, whereas during their 2011/12 Championship campaign it was practically double the goals – and double the bubbles. That may not sound important to you, but just think what a difference it makes to the folks at Ol’ Gill’s Discount Bubble Emporium, eh?
6. Shopping at the weekends will be easier
There’s simply no way West Ham will sell out their 60,000 stadium every week whilst playing Championship football. Which is truly great news for Londoners who fancy taking on a bit of shopping at Westfield Stratford City.
The gigantic shopping centre is on the doorstep of the London Stadium and bears the brunt of matchday traffic, making it unpleasantly overcrowded. That pesky issue will disappear in an instant with relegation, which also means getting served in the nearby Wetherspoon will be infinitely easier too. Everybody wins!