Reality Bites for Football
By Tom Dowsett
Wednesday 05 Aug 2009 11:23:00
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The media is full of speculation about the impact of the so called Credit Crunch on the fortunes of football clubs at all levels.

With the possible exception of the bank-rolled clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City, all clubs, including high flyers such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal find themselves looking anxiously at their finances and trimming accordingly.

In the case of West Ham, Gianfranco Zola came in knowing that he would have to plan his strategy with a very tight budget. The Club's Icelandic backers were facing bankruptcy, Sheffield United were queuing up for their pound of flesh and the sponsor XL had ceased trading. The immediate impact was a repainting of the East stand and new shirts!


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Longer term, when Etherington started the exodus in January, Zola made it clear that this was just the beginning and the excesses of the Curbishley era would be trimmed. Quashie and Davenport show that this is not an easy task.

Zola recognises the value of Lucas Neill but only if the price is right.

The strategy appears to be offering young talent the opportunity on the big stage. Savio, Collison, Drapella, Noble and Nouble are just some of the talent pressing their claim at Upton Park.

This is a return to the so called “West Ham way”, but the shortage of goals during the pre-season is a worry as the squad size has reduced from a total of 40 last season, to just 30 at this time. There is clearly the need for more forward power but this means finding big money in difficult financial circumstances.

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