Shareholder Loans

Since the transfer window closed there has been much analysis of Premier League spending. West Ham were 9th in net spend.

We bought two players who we hope will star and pay a huge part in our season.

We bought a couple of young players we have high hopes for, and we bought 2 goalkeepers who most are underwhelmed with.

At Hammers United we were disappointed that funds were not made available to strengthen the full back and defensive midfield areas.

Other supporters are happier with West Ham’s transfer window.

We all hope that results prove the Board made the correct decisions and that West Ham United have a successful season.

What we could not understand is how Brighton (Amex Stadium capacity 30666) could outspend us and how Bournemouth (Vitality Stadium capacity 11329) were not far behind us, and how Aston Villa could have a net spend of 137 million outspending everyone!

West Ham fans were of course promised ‘next level’ and ‘a world class team for a world class stadium’.  Now Hammers United are not the Board’s biggest fans. Perhaps they lied to us, perhaps they have just been overtaken by events with much richer owners than them taking over Premier League clubs, but they cannot be blamed that some other owners leave them trailing in the riches stakes, although surely they now realise that they are unable to deliver on their promises and should sell the club.

The answer to how Bournemouth and Brighton were able to spend so much on transfers is shareholder’s loans and below is a table which is not good reading for West Ham United’s fans or Board, especially bearing in mind that Mr Gold is a self confessed West Ham Fan and that Mr Sullivan purports to be (although he is in fact a Cardiff fan).

Owner Loans Other Loans Shares Net Interest Dividends
1 Chelsea 1,155.4 60.0 61.3 (0.9) 0.0
2 Brighton 222.7 0.1 95.2 0.8 0.0
3 Everton 149.3 75.2 25.3 2.8 0.0
4 Newcastle 144.0 0.8 75.6 (1.8) 0.0
5 Liverpool 99.9 55.1 102.0 7.6 0.0
6 Watford 83.4 2.9 1.1 5.2 0.0
7 Wolves 75.0 0.0 78.7 0.5 0.0
8 Bournemouth 69.3 0.0 21.1 1.8 0.0
9 West Ham 54.5 10.6 35.0 3.7 0.0
10 Crystal Palace 35.2 30.6 92.7 1.7 0.0
11 Leicester 24.6 0.2 121.2 2.7 0.0
12 Manchester City 12.7 66.0 1,361.4 1.9 0.0
13 Sheffield United 2.1 0.0 28.8 0.1 0.0
14 Norwich 2.0 4.8 11.3 0.5 0.0
15 Aston Villa 1.0 5.0 126.5 0.9 0.0
16 Southampton 0.0 37.3 31.0 0.5 0.0
17 Manchester United 0.0 495.8 317.9 18.0 22.0
18 Arsenal 0.0 216.6 57.1 8.8 0.0
19 Spurs 0.0 460.7 45.4 18.2 0.0
20 Burnley 0.0 0.1 4.8 (0.0) 0.0
Total 2,131.1 1,521.8 2,693.5 72.9 22.0

The above figures were as of the 2018 Accounts, most clubs’ accounting periods ending in the summer. Mr Gold and Mr Sullivan have outstanding loans of £54.5 million owed to them by West Ham. Until April 2017 they charged West Ham 7% per annum interest but after bad press this was reduced to the current level of 4%.

In the accounting year ending 2018 interest amounted to £3.7 million. The frustrating thing to us is that West Ham could have loaned two, maybe even three players for that money. That may well have led to a higher league position with the ensuing prize money more than compensating. Tripp Smith has lent West Ham £10 million. This is an interest free loan.

Brighton’s owners have lent them £222 million interest free. Bournemouth’s owners have lent them £69 million interest free. Aston Villa’s new owners have ploughed considerable finances into the club and since the above figures were produced lent the club £33 million interest free. So therein lies the reason why these clubs were able to spend so much.

We already know that Everton and Wolves have wealthy owners but for the record Everton’s owners have lent them £149 million interest free and Wolves’ owners have lent them £75.0 million interest free. What perhaps surprised us most was to learn that Mike Ashley, hated by many Newcastle fans, has in fact loaned the club £144 million interest free.

There is a worrying trend here for West Ham supporters. Most agree that due to ‘the big six dominance’ we start the season hoping to compete with others for seventh place. Should Everton and Wolves continue their investment programmes will we soon be competing for 9th place?  Remember they have both spent millions upgrading training facilities, Wolves are about to start redeveloping Molineux and Everton plan to move into new FOOTBALL stadium soon. If Brighton and Aston Villa continue to invest could we even (surely not) be pushed down the pecking order to competing for 11th place, and what about Leicester City with work well underway on their new £100 million training ground.

Unfortunately, it seems that Mr Gold and Mr Sullivan will not be able to deliver on their promises of ‘next level’.  As we said before perhaps, they lied or perhaps they have been overtaken by events. Whatever it seems their only course of action is to look to sell the club to others who are able to move the club on. Until then they would go some way to improving their standing and popularity with the West Ham fans if they were to follow the lead of most of their fellow owners and not charge interest on loans.

We would like to place on record the assistance received from Kieran Maguire at the University of Liverpool in the writing of this article. Many thanks Kieran.

Hammers United Committee.

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