Hammers glad to be weighing up the cost of play-off glory
Blackpool 1 West Ham United 2
The champagne and the fireworks erupted into the air as West Ham celebrated their return to the Premier League on Saturday. But as the bubbles dispersed, so the cold, hard reality of what it all meant -- where the east London club are, and where they might have been -- struck home.
Upon relegation last year West Ham owed £41.6m to the banks, £11.2m in transfer debts and £17.3m in unspecified "other creditors", including reparations payments to Sheffield United over the Carlos Tevez scandal.
How much that position deteriorated in the Championship is unknown even to West Ham's owners, but access to at least £39m of broadcast payments alone will salve their ailing finances.
Chairman David Gold, who along with his co-owner, David Sullivan, had invested £36m in cash donations to the club between taking over in January 2010 and going down last season, revealed that were it not for promotion, changes would quickly have been required. "It would have cost probably around another £30m," he said. "But you never know (until) you sit down and work it out."
Experiences in the Championship, where promotion remained in the balance until Ricardo Vaz Te rammed in an 87th-minute winner after Thomas Ince had hauled Blackpool level, can give scant indication of how West Ham will fare in the top flight again. Yet despite the magnitude of the task ahead, manager Sam Allardyce wants to repay the club's owners with more than mere survival.
"It's their passion for West Ham United which is the most impressive, because they put their money where their mouth is."