Manchester United secured a record 19th top-flight title, a massive achievement. Local rivals City win the FA Cup. Both genuine successes, and worthy of congratulations from the sports press.
Yet nearly all the news has been dominated in the last few days by the problems at West Ham United, who were relegated from the Premier League after they lost to Wigan on Sunday.
The team manager, the highly regarded coach Avram Grant, was sacked after the defeat. If this was done by any other club, it wouldn’t be that big a deal, but it’s big news because it’s West Ham United.
If you support relegation rivals Wigan , Blackpool, Wolves, Birmingham City or Blackburn (real teams whose players actually try hard with real fans), you may rightly feel aggrieved that arguably the most overrated club in English football continually dominates the headlines. Football writers continually bleat on about how West Ham will be able to cope when they return to the Football League in August.
Well, the rest of the football…. yes, the genuine fans, just don’t give a damn about West Ham…. and rightly so.
They were rightly relegated because they were … in two words… complete rubbish. Despite possessing a team full of players with genuine talent, they have collectively underperformed. Just seven wins all season. Grant wasn’t the first manager the fans wanted, but he seemed the right fit for the club, only to be undermined by the club’s board when they had a very poor start to the season. Their only real success this season was securing the move into Olympic stadium after the 2012 games. However, legal issues are threatening to overturn that too.
For far too long, the club claimed to be bigger than they actually were. They are just another average club that continues to live on distant past glories, despite the fact that they haven’t won any trophies for over thirty years. The only enduring success over the years has been it’s youth academy.
West Ham has paid the price for a combination of five years of poor ownership, bad management and underperforming players that have led it into the debt-laden mess that it is today, and has finally got its comeuppance. A long stay in the Football League awaits….