No Matter Who Wins, The Long-Term Future Looks Grim For West Ham And Everton

With the globalisation and capitalisation of the modern game, the Hammers and the Toffees are look increasingly jaded
13:00, 20 Jan 2023

If you thought the moaning and groaning at Wolves on was loud enough, wait until kick off at London Stadium on Saturday. 

But anyone hoping for a repeat performance of the orgasmic gasps and murmurings which formed the entertaining backdrop to Monday’s FA Cup tie will be disappointed. 

The losers’ derby between struggling West Ham and Everton could well set a new level for fan discontent in the Premier League but also the noise of two worthy old English football clubs finding it harder and harder to keep up in the 21st century. 


Everton manager Frank Lampard has been forced to appeal for calm. To the extent that he pleaded with angry supporters to stop physically intimidating his players. 

Members of the board have already been advised to stay away from home games. After four defeats in a row at Goodison Park, that’s a blessing in disguise.

But what the Everton mob are doing now to the people running their club is old hat at the Hammers.

It’s become something of a cockney pastime during more unsettled times to surround and jostle club directors in car parks, or to storm to directors’ box as happened after an FA Cup monstering at West Brom. 

Joint-owner David Sullivan was once struck in the eye by a coin thrown from the massed rabble below his VIP seat and had to be led away from the ground by security staff.

Such raw outpourings of emotion are still thankfully rare and restricted to those few clubs with a more volatile fanbase.

Maybe it’s no coincidence that both West Ham and Everton are regarded as traditionally working class clubs with chippy supporters, forged from previous generations of grimy dockyard workers who had a particularly blunt and brutal way of dealing with problems.

The sad fact of football life is that those clubs which were once considered proud standard bearers for the foundations of the game are more and more out of step with the globalisation and capitalisation of the world’s biggest sport.

West Ham's last win in the Premier League was back in October
West Ham's last win in the Premier League was back in October

West Ham produced three of England’s World Cup winning team of 1966 in Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.  

Their 1980 FA Cup win over Arsenal remains the most recent occasion that a team outside the top tier beat one from the old first division. Can you imagine that happening again?

Everton have been in the top flight of English football since 1954. They were founder members of the Football League in 1888. 

Full back Ray Wilson was an Evertonian in England’s World Cup final X1 57 years ago. At 31 he was the oldest player in the team.

But what do these clubs offer now other than briefly threatening to break up the cartel of increasingly wealthy clubs dominating the top six?

Everton have finished in the top four once since 1988. It came a year after finishing 17th in 2004 and the next season they ended in 11th.

That was under manager David Moyes and it has an uncanny resemblance to what is going on under the pragmatic Glaswegian at West Ham right now. 

Moyes took a team fighting for Premier League survival in 2017 and has taken it to the Europa League semi finals and seventh place, then back again. 

More and more teams like Everton and West Ham talk of lofty ambition but look jaded and out of step with the direction of a game which just does not seem to want to stop growing. 

Two Premier League teams are now owned by nation states. Some of those who aren’t may soon be and others need to find investors with pretty big balances to stand even a chance of competing. 

It’s taking Britain’s wealthiest man Jim Ratcliffe to bid for Manchester United. The murky hand of the Qatari state is skulking around Tottenham. Liverpool are up for sale.

Manchester City have been owned by the rulers of Dubai. How are Dave Sullivan and Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri going to compete with that, however deep they dig into their pockets?

Moshiri is British Iranian and Sully was born in Wales. In a way they also represent out of date models of ownership. 

They may survive and plod on but until a bunch of billionaires like Clearlake Capital who bought Chelsea in the summer for £4.25 billion, or a random country with more than a few quid to spare decides to take the plunge, West Ham and Everton will exist at best.

It is that which fuels the underlying sense of frustration among two groups of supporters who can see their clubs being slowly suffocated.

They are not alone. Leicester City, Aston Villa, Southampton, more teams than not face the same grim outlook. But there are just some clubs where the fans know they are beaten but unlike the players will not go down without a fight.

West Ham are 4/1 to get relegated this season with Betfred*
Everton are 8/11 to get relegated this season with Betfred*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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