West Ham United are in Trouble
It's August 2016. West Ham United Football Club are flying high. They have finished seventh in the Premier League, and are poised to increase revenue due to the television deals and sponsorships that come with playing in the UEFA Europa League. That's not all; the club, as well as the fans, are excited about a move to the 60,000 seat London Olympic Stadium. The club is hoping this move will increase ticket sales from the 35,000 seat Upton Park, the club's former East London home. West Ham hopes that the past season, and these upcoming moves, will jumpstart its growth into a club that has a worldwide following, and routinely competes in lucrative European competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.
Fast forward to February 2020. With just 13 games remaining in a tumultuous Premier League season, West Ham United have big problems.
On the field, West Ham sit in 18th place, in the relegation zone, after 25 matches. The club fired manager Manuel Pellegrini in December, and rehired former manager David Moyes. However, fortunes have not reversed since Moyes' appointment, with just one win in six matches under the new manager. The team's frustrating form was on full display during Saturday's 3-3 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion, in which West Ham had a 3-1 lead through 75 minutes, but gave up two late goals to drop two points.
The club's biggest issues, though, lie off the field. In the most recent financial year, West Ham have posted losses of 28.2 million pounds. This has been due in no small part to poor transfer strategy, with the club completing multiple highly priced signings who have largely failed to perform, such as Sebastian Haller and Pablo Fornals. West Ham must now face the possibility of further financial trouble, however, as the consequences of relegation from the Premier League are drastic. Should the club be relegated, it would lose tens of millions of pounds that come from sharing the league's massive television deals, both domestic and international. Sponsorships would likely also decrease, both in the number of deals and the value of those deals, as a result of playing in England's second division. Furthermore, West Ham would have major problems filling the London Stadium, as many fans have grown disgruntled with the match day experience at the new stadium.
There are few clubs outside the so-called "big 6" Premier League teams (Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham) whose futures looked as promising in 2016 as West Ham's. However, a combination of poor performances on the field and the squandering of goodwill off the field leave the club with much uncertainty going into the next decade.