With friends like these, Zola doesn’t need any enemies

The West Ham owners, David Sullivan and David Gold, have never been the kind to shy away from the spotlight, but not many would have predicted their latest attention-seeking stunt. The morning after the Hammers’ crushing home defeat to Wolves this week, Sullivan sent an angry email to supporters in which he absolutely slammed the Irons’ performance against their fellow strugglers. Some fans may have been pleased with this reaction from their club’s co-chairman as it shows how much the two Davids care, and this rant quite clearly showed a lot of passion, but I just don’t see how this will help matters. Obviously the proof will be in the pudding, and if West Ham can defeat Stoke this weekend the email will have done its job. But all I see it doing it putting further cracks into already severed relationships between the owners, manager, players and supporters.

In the email Sullivan did the following:

  • He slammed the previous home defeat to Bolton.
  • He said he was ‘angry and upset’ after the Wolves loss.
  • He apologised for the ‘pathetic’ team performance.
  • He called on the players to show talent, desire and passion.
  • And he insisted ‘nobody at the club should delude themselves that we are a good team’.

I completely understand his anger. West Ham have an expensively assembled squad that should be doing far better. And if they were to get relegated it would be disastrous. But this is the type of rant that should be vented on a fans’ forum, not by a club’s owner. Sullivan should be keeping quiet and letting his management team sort out this mess. He should be standing by Gianfranco Zola and giving him his full support, not undermining him. And if he doesn’t trust the Italian and his coaching staff, as it seems he doesn’t, then he should have sacked Zola and brought in someone who he does have faith in.

Sullivan went on to plead with the supporters to get behind the team in the game against Stoke. It seems odd for him to ask this when he has so publically damned the players with this outburst. It just seems rather patronising to me. If the players come out and put on a good display, full of heart, then of course the West Ham faithful will get right behind them. If the players don’t play well and give 100 per cent, then the fans won’t give their full backing either. I’m sorry, but it just seems like Sullivan’s words are full of passion, but not that well thought out. He has proven before that he can successfully run a club while he was at Birmingham, but I’m not so sure it will be the same in East London where, on this evidence, he is going to let his heart rule his head.