West Ham Takeover Has Already Hurt The Club

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Effra doesn’t think West Ham supporters should be dancing in the streets just yet. And it’s not just because the new owner is clearly some sort of alien, or Lord Of The Rings superfan.

How in the space of little more than two months West Ham have got from Tevezcherano to a takeover by an Icelandic duo who have made their money in biscuits and a Petersburg brewery I don’t know, and I wonder if even Terry Brown could make sense on the subject. Most West Ham fans, me included, have been cheered by the news that we’re now in Eggert “Eggsy” Magnusson’s hands but at ultimately this feeling is one of sheer relief, born from knowing that the Iranian and Israeli property vultures won’t now be getting their greedy hands on our club.

Pardew’s safe, the Argentineans will be gone (whatever Pardew says he wants) and we can get back to worrying about Dean Ashton getting fit and whether Nigel Reo-Coker’s strop is really over. And just in case we risked getting bored, the players this week even managed to serve us up for afters those good old-fashioned football demons of drink, gambling and violence.

But despite the relief something in our club has irrevocably changed.

For the first time in this history, no part of our club is owned by the family who made West Ham or the descendants of the man who gave his workers a football team on the banks of the Lea and the Thames. With six Premiership clubs now in the hands of foreign owners and the prospect of similar takeovers at several others, the old economic foundations of the first tier of English football are disappearing. Whatever the temptation for nostalgia, getting too squeamish about this is a luxury unless we’re just prepared to turn our back on the game.

Takeovers are happening with clubs from Portsmouth to Aston Villa to the very top with Manchester United being affected, and the Sky deal that created the appetite for foreign investors to get into the English game isn’t going to be undone. And West Ham for one would have probably have been in administration after their relegation in 2003 if it weren’t for the wretched Abramovich’s brazenly-upstart millions resurrecting the transfer market that summer. But just because the Icelanders aren’t Joorabchian and co doesn’t mean that it’s not a big deal when a club like West Ham ruptures itself from its past.

I don’t doubt Magnusson when he says he’ll respect our traditions and I am definitely not going to object if his money lands us Wright-Phillips in the transfer window, but something died at West Ham this week, and, amidst our cheer, it’s worth mourning whether the good times come on the pitch or not.

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