posted on Jun, 1 2003 @ 02:19 PM
West Ham's relegation was surely greeted with barely suppressed delight by the majority of Premiership managers. Not, it should be said, because of
any antipathy towards the East London club, their stricken manager, Glenn Roeder, or his strangely animated temporary replacement, Trevor Brooking.
Trevor Brooking and West Ham face a summer of heartstrings being pulled. (JohnWalton/Empics)
No, the Hammers' demotion was welcomed for altogether different reasons; it would almost certainly result in the sale of the most talented group of
players ever to go down from the Premiership.
Only Blackburn - in 1998-9 - went down with so many players coveted elsewhere. The financial gulf between the Premiership and the First Division was
less pronounced then and whereas West Ham have reported debts of £40 million, Blackburn had a multi-millionaire owner.
That West Ham should not have finished in the bottom three is shown in their under-performing players' possible destinations. Lee Bowyer, a flop at
Upton Park, has joined Newcastle. Paolo di Canio may go to Lazio. Depending upon what you read, Joe Cole is off to Arsenal, Chelsea or Everton,
Frederic Kanoute to Tottenham, Arsenal or Liverpool, Michael Carrick to Newcastle or Tottenham, Don Hutchison to Rangers and Jermain Defoe and David
James to the opposite halves of Manchester.
Brooking's statement that West Ham intended to keep their four home homegrown talents - the captain Cole, Carrick, Defoe and Glen Johnson - showed a
blend of optimism and defiance that will be required to make an immediate return to the Premiership.