WEST HAM UNITED are rapidly emerging as “the seventh club” in the Premier League even if their performances in 2022-23 suggest they have lost some of the momentum of the past two years. The club has released its financial statements for 2021-22 and their total revenues place them just behind the so-called “big six”. As one of the best supported clubs in the Premier League, West Ham are now reaping the benefits of their new stadium in Stratford, along with greater stability from the continued employment of coach David Moyes.
West Ham generated record income of £ 253 million in 2021-22, a 31% increase on the previous campaign. This was boosted by the club’s run to the UEFA Europa League semi-final, which influenced all major revenue streams. The Hammers lost to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt in the last four after beating Lyon and Sevilla in the knockout stages of the competition. They finished seventh in the Premier League and had to settle for Conference League football in 2022-23, although they must be among the favourites for the trophy.
West Ham’s matchday income reached a new high in 2021-22, totalling £ 41 million after the covid-impacted 2020-21 when earnings were just £ 1 million. Broadcasting revenues were also up slightly to £ 164 million and commercial income was rose from £ 29 million to £ 48 million.
The club made a pre-tax profit of £ 12.3 million, which should provide welcome relief after three consecutive years of loss-making in which the Hammers lost a combined amount of over £ 100 million. In 2020-21, West Ham lost £ 27 million before tax.
Unsurprisingly, West Ham’s wage bill went up in 2021-22 by more than 5% to £ 136 million, equalling the amount paid in 2018-19. With overall earnings in the ascendancy, the wage-to-income ratio was 54% compared to 67% in 2020-21 and 91% in 2019-20. The average weekly wage at the club was £ 63,066.
In the transfer market, West Ham upped their game slightly although their total spend of £ 64 million was still way below the £ 100 million-plus figures of 2018-19 and 2019-20. Their biggest deals were the £ 33.5 million paid for CSKA Moscow’s Nikola Vlašić and the £ 29.8 million tabled for Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma. West Ham still owe money to two Russian clubs, but because of the war in Ukraine, they are unable to settle their account.
Over the past five seasons (including 2022-23), West Ham have been the fourth highest net spenders in the Premier League, their outlay of € 395 million (source: Transfermarkt) higher than Manchester City (€ 242m), Liverpool (€ 287m) and Tottenham (€ 368 million).
In 2021, West Ham had net debt of £ 89 million, but the situation has swung dramatically by £ 130 million and the club now has net assets of £ 40 million including £ 95 million of cash. The club benefitted from £ 125 million of new equity which has been used to pay down debt, including £ 53.5 million in shareholder loans and a portion of the loan owed to MSD, the Dell family office. This was possible due to the introduction of Czech businessman David Kretinsky, who became joint chairman with David Gold and David Sullivan after initially acquiring 20% of WH Holding and then a further 7% from other board members.
West Ham claim that 2021-22 – a second successive top seven finish in the top flight for the first time – was one of the most successful in the club’s history. The mood is certainly different at the London Stadium, with 95% of season ticket holders renewing for 2022-23 and crowds a very healthy 60,000 in the current season. The Hammers also have one of English football’s most coveted players in Declan Rice, an established member of the national team.
The outlook is quite positive for West Ham, but relegation would be a setback to their ambitions – they are currently too close to the bottom for comfort. Given their support and geography, there is scope for the Hammers to become more profitable, but much depends on securing regular European football. They have the taste for it at the moment, but the priority in 2023 will surely be to ensure they do not slip out of the Premier League.