West Ham's dangerous levels of spending have been revealed, including a reckless transfer policy that left them risking a financial meltdown on the scale of Portsmouth.
Calum Davenport and Nigel Quashie, signed in January 2007, started a combined total of 15 games in three years at a cost of £12million over the term of their contracts. Freddie Ljungberg and Kieron Dyer, signed in summer 2007, have started 32 games between them and will have cost the club £34m over the term of their contracts.
The club are saddled with debts of more than £100m and are paying a heavy price for the excesses of Eeggert Magnusson and Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson.
West Ham's accounts for the year ending May 2009 recorded a £16million loss but, more staggeringly, reveal how the club had borrowed themselves to the brink with a timebomb of debt.
But co-owner David Ssullivan has stressed: 'Our board will work ceaselessly to put the club back on a stable financial footing and I believe that we have the expertise to achieve this.'
The purchase of 50 per cent of the club by millionaires and David Gold in January this year has eased the pressure.
The club amassed an annual wage bill close to £68m on turn-over of £76m with the help of £45m of bank loans, most of which were repayable on demand.
Not worth it: Nigel Quashie has made just seven appearances for West Ham
Those bank loans plus interest, £14m of outstanding transfer fees, £21m owed to Ssheffield United for the Carlos Ttevez settlement, tax bills, compensation to former manager Alan Curbishley and various other debts meant the club faced the prospect of finding more than £95m by May this year or going bust.
The realisation dawned in the summer of 2008, when West Ham scrambled to renegotiate the debt repayments and hastily started to sell players like Bobby Zamora, John Pantsil, Anton Ferdinand and George McCartney.
It was the board's decision to sell Ferdinand and McCartney to Ssunderland on the August deadline which led directly to Curbishley's departure and his claim for constructive dismissal, which has cost West Ham another £2m. The retirement of Dean Ashton will cost them £5.8m if they lose an insurance claim against the FA.
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