Sunday, 10 January 2010
The Duxbury Telegraph Airbrushing History
What an amazing article in the Telegraph. It opens with the revelation,
"Executives at West Ham knew there was something wrong when they tried to sign Adriano from Inter Milan. It was August 2007 and they travelled to Italy, met with Inter and were presented with a copy of the Brazilian's contract which showed he earned the equivalent of £110,000 a week. The West Ham representatives thanked Inter for their time – and called chairman Eggert Magnusson to inform him that the striker wouldn't countenance a pay cut and his contract was therefore prohibitive. Time to go home.
"Give me two hours," Magnusson said. He called back and said he had consulted with owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson. "Go for it," Magnusson pronounced. Everyone was astounded; not least Inter. Could West Ham really afford such wages? Was Adriano worth it? Was Gudmundsson prepared to pay such a salary plus a £15 million transfer fee? What a coup.
In the end, Adriano decided he did not want to go for the move and the deal, talks over which were confirmed on the club's website just as manager Alan Curbishley went on television to claim it was pure speculation, inevitably collapsed.
It was an episode which summed up the precipice over which West Ham were unwittingly staring – and have subsequently fought tooth and nail to keep themselves from spiralling down into."
Now what do you notice about that opening? What I notice is that the journalist names names and attributes quotes to Gudmundsson and Magnusson, and has a dig at Curbishley, yet strangely does not identify the "Executives" at West Ham or the "representatives" in Milan who had more sense than their masters. Why? Well to blow the Duxbury trumpet too early in the article would give the game away. When you are airbrushing history, and applying a revisionist "touch up", a degree of subtlety is required. Keep you cards hidden at first, then play them for maximum effect!
For now, I pose two questions: Where is this information coming from do you think? And why is it being released now?
After suggesting an imminent resolution to the takeover (the answer prehaps to the second question), the article continues,
"What has been remarkable is the fact that West Ham, following the meltdown of the Icelandic economy and the collapse of Gudmundsson's business empire, have managed to avoid administration, have traded with relative stability and have survived – and in some, counter-intuitive, ways thrived – through a series of dramas and crises not all of their own making: from the Carlos Tévez saga to the premature retirement of Dean Ashton."
Bloody hell, how's that for revisionism? How exactly have West Ham "thrived" since the collapse of Gudmundsson's business empire? Is sitting level on points with the club second from bottom in the Prem "thriving"? Is stripping your squad down to the barest of bones "thriving"? Is finding yourself without a first choice right back "thriving"? Does having to play a raw 18 year old as your sole striker respresent "thriving"? Is relying on a free transfer to provide your only attacking cover "thriving"? Is selling your first choice centre back one month into the season evidence of a club that is thriving? Does a thriving club allow two members of the England squad to run down their contracts because they can't afford to pay them more? Does a "thriving club" need a loan from its sponsor to complete the purchase of a player from the second tier of the Italian league? When Gudmundsson took over, we were supposed to be challenging to become the third biggest club in London. Now we are hopelessly adrift of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham and well behind Fulham too. Thriving? Funny, it has felt like we have been close to dying for the last 9 months!
And tell me, how was the Tevez affair not of our own making? Who forced us to sign Tevez? Who held a gun to our head when we entered into a third party agreement that broke the rules? And who made Duxbury provide "oral cuddles" to Ikea and his lawyers? That all seems to be very much of our own making to me...and who was at the heart of it all...hang on, that would Scott Duxbury wouldn't it? The executives at West Ham were apparently alarmed by the attempt to sign Adriano but did not have the slightest whiff of a rat when two current Argentinian superstars agreed to join us. Funny that! If we are talking "counter intuitive", that seems a reasonable definition to me!
The article says that alarm bells started ringing with the signing of Dyer, Parker Bellamy and Ljungberg. No they did not! They started ringing when we signed Tevez and Mascherano, BEFORE the Icelandic takeover, and were clanging away when Neill was offered higher wages than Liverpool could afford to pay him. Upson, Davenport, Neill, Boa-Morte and Quashie were all signed that January and only Neill contributed positively to our Great Escape. I remember Alan Green describing Curbishley as like a little boy in a sweet shop that January, the following summer simply continued a trend.
It's funny how the article focuses on the failings of the Icelanders but doesn't mention the cock ups before or since. The article talks about the signing of Bellamy but overlooks his sale and the disastrous use of the funds to sign Savio. The Tevez affair merits no more than five words, but most would accept that this was the starting point of the crisis we find ourselves in. But Duxbury was heavily involved in this so, of course, the article skips over it.
The killer paragraph reads,
"West Ham have, certainly, been indebted to some shrewd husbandry from chief executive Scott Duxbury who, throughout all of this, has stuck as much as he could to a business plan – The Football Project – he drew up and presented to Gudmundsson as a way forward and a move away from the "haphazard way of spending money". Duxbury has craved stability and wants to turn West Ham, as much as possible, into a self-sustaining entity."
Now, why do I have this picture of the journalist, Jason Burt, asking, "Is that exactly how you would like it worded Scott, or would you like to tweak it in any way?"
And what might Mr Burt get in return for this excellent piece of propaganda? Well, apart from a very good dinner, maybe a tasty exclusive on the take over may appear in The Telegraph shortly. Cynical, mois?
Posted by Hammersfan at 19:20