No Income Tax, No VAT
The big football story of the week so far are the dawn ‘raids’ on West Ham and Newcastle by the old ‘tax’ bill. What we really know is limited to a number of short press releases that seem to suggest a joint operation with French authorities (take back control of our tax dodges) and relates to tax irregularities associated with transfer dealings, most probably involving Olympic Marseille with whom both Newcastle and West Ham have had dealings. Reportedly, a number of people were arrested although the only name that I have seen mentioned is Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley, who was later released without charge. There has been no indication as to whether the other arrests were in England or France. It seems Chelsea were also spoken to (but not ‘raided’) which suggests that our cooperation may be more sinister than simply providing evidence. A figure of £5 million has been mentioned which seems a rather small amount to warrant such a huge operation and raises the prospect that the story still has some way to go. I know that many of us believe that our transfer dealings have been criminal but not for tax evasion reasons. Cases like this are normally and historically very complex and will take years to conclude. Any sanction forthcoming will likely only happen at the very point that we finally claim a Champion’s League spot.
A Week out of the Spotlight
The unexpected point last weekend and then the events of yesterday have momentarily taken the focus away from the future of West Ham manager Slaven Bilic. It doesn’t take much to swing the pendulum of optimism back into positive territory but judging by the exuberant reaction to our clean sheet I was half expecting an open-top bus parade to celebrate stopping Lukaku from scoring (I wonder what route the bus will take in the future?). No denying it was a good defensive performance and I guess the manager deserves some credit for finally learning from the mistakes of the previous 30 or so games (even if it was by accident). All eyes on a repeat at the weekend.
Keepers and Dumpers
Adrian back in goal at the weekend instilled some much needed comfort and confidence but there remains a sense that an upgrade in the custodian department is a necessary priority. Sorry to say, though, that the thought of a keeper who has been plying his trade in the Turkish league (Onur Kivrak) doesn’t thrill me. Hopefully, it is not true and that also goes for most of the other players that I have seen linked with us so far; who are either past it or have failed miserably at their current club. Like others my own persoanl bias tells me which rumours I want to believe and those that I don’t; to date I don’t (want to) believe any of them.
One of the names linked in a managerial capacity with the West Ham hot seat, should it become available, is Simone Inzaghi from Lazio. If he did somehow end up at the London Stadium I would love him to bring Ciro Immobile with him. An aptonym is when someone’s name fits their job perfectly; like Belgian defender Mark De Man, tennis player Margaret Court or Mr Bun the Baker. Immobile the West Ham striker would just seem too good an opportunity to miss.