West Ham United's financial director has revealed just how bad the club's finances are and has admitted that the decision to hand Dean Ashton a long-term contract was a mistake.
Nick Igoe also believes the signings of Freddie Ljungberg and Kieron Dyer on lucrative contracts should not have gone through while revealing that wages totalled 80 per cent of the club's annual turnover in 2006-07, 20 per cent above the Premier League average.
Igoe said: "Many of the group's investment decisions in the last two to three seasons have been ill-judged. No football club can sustain this level of expenditure on under-performing members of its squad.
"It must be concluded that the investment in the playing squad has not generated an appropriate return, either financially or in terms of performance.
"It follows that an eighth and tenth-place league finish, one Carling Cup last eight and one FA Cup last 16 represent an unsatisfactory return on this expenditure.
"Clubs with fewer resources and lower levels of expenditure on their squad have achieved a greater level of league and cup success."