According to some reports the figure to settle the Tevez affair is £10million, others put it at £15m, others still set the figure at £25m. All are in agreement that the settlement is to be spread over a number of years, with some claiming a complicated sliding scale based on how many pickled onions Noble's Nanna eats with her Boxing Day cold turkey and creamy mash. But at the end of the day, the figure we have agreed with Shafting United doesn't matter, what we should be focused on is that Gudmundsson is no longer in control of what happens: the future of our club is now in the hands of five merchant bankers!
Now in cockney rhyming slang, merchant bankers have been running our club for as long as we can remember. I mean, how can any club side win the World Cup yet struggle to hold their own in the old First Division? What well run club would sell Martin Peters to the local enemy and take Bobby Moore's drunken pal in part exchange? What Board of sentient beings would part with Allen, Cottee, Ferdinand, Lampard, Carrick, Cole, Johnson, Uncle Tom Cobblers et all?
Who, other than a complete merchant banker, would have signed Tevez and then tried to pretend that there was nothing dodgy about the deal? Two world superstars join West Ham United for free! Please! Minder has only just returned to our TV screens but down Green Street, Arthur Daley's Dodgy Deals had taken on an international flavour some three years back! "No really Mr Chisholm everything is kosher, the boys just wanted a team to play for so we gave them their chance. Knocked off? Mr Chisholm, please, how could you suggest such a thing? Look, pull down their shorts and they've got 'Property of West Ham United tatooed on their arses!' "
But that is all in the past and incompetent as they may have been, the old decision makers were only metaphorical or rhyming slang bankers. The worry now is that the future is genuinely in the hands not of merchant bankers by name, but merchant bankers by motivation. Gudmundsson has debts and it is the duty of five faceless debt collectors to recover as much of that debt as they possibly can. Now tell me, will they be interested in the motives of any of the would be buyers? What if there is a Venture Capitalist out there somewhere whose bollocks have not been shrivelled up in a jacuzzi of toxic debt?
How much would the club be worth if the assets were liquidised? How many flats could you build on the corner of Green Street and the Barking Road? How much could be raised from the sale of Cole, Green, Upson, Parker, Collison, Behrami, Ashton and co? I'm not sure how the figures stack up against a £100million asking price but one thing is for sure, guaranteeing football of any kind, never mind Premiership football, will not be at the top of the priority list of the money recovery merchants.
So if anybody spots a helicopter flying over the Boleyn Ground in coming weeks, do us all a favour and send up a ground to air missile if it carries the Barratt livery!