Speaking shortly after their latest heavy defeat to Premier League heavyweights West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic confirmed that the club will be applying for government funding that will enable the team to invest ‘heavily’ in new players and coaching talent.
Bilic said: ‘Today’s defeat shows that while we are now blessed with a world-class stadium, it is clear that investment is needed on the pitch to ensure that a balance is achieved – nothing but Champions League football will be acceptable at the end of the season. Our fans deserve nothing but the very best, and as taxpayers we are going to ensure that their beloved team gives them the highest possible value for money.
‘I do not have the specific details at the moment, but I have been advised by the board of directors that they are taking care of it.’
We contacted representatives of the club for more information about how £500m of player transfers could be funded when the next transfer window opens in January, and we received an email statement from Roger Purse, West Ham’s director of public fiscal subsidies.
He said: ‘With our membership of the European Union coming to an end, time is running out for businesses to apply for a package from the EU-backed East London Gateway Business Development Fund. Although the ringfenced £500m was originally intended for distribution to around 250 to 300 businesses, we are currently putting together a bid for the entire pot and we feel that we have a very convincing case.’
‘Any players that we sign in January on the back of this cash injection will essentially be owned by the British taxpayer, and as such we will partner with Newham Council to ensure that these high-profile personalities are put to use for community engagement projects and any other tasks that need to be carried out in the environmental hygiene sector.’
We contacted Mr Purse how the proposed £500m figure could genuinely represent good value for money when a number of other non-football related businesses are struggling in the current harsh financial climate.
He responded: ‘It’s all about legacy. With this funding that will come via the EU and central government, we will be able to ensure that there is a legacy for future fans – the concept of legacy will be right at the core of this application for funding, because it’s all about legacy you see.’
‘Besides, we’ve just conceded eight goals in two games to Watford and West Fucking Brom – we’re dying on our arses here. My office could do with a Nespresso machine as well.’