West Ham chiefs admit to “ill-judged” spending

WEST HAM’S “ill-judged” spending has accounted for pre-tax losses of over £16.2m, latest figures have revealed.

The club’s finances were plagued by a series of “exceptional expenses” such as a £5.81m payment to striker Dean Ashton, who was forced to retire with a long-term injury in December.

They also haven’t been helped either by a spiralling wage bill, which includes £34m paid to Freddie Ljungberg and Kieron Dyer despite the pair only starting 32 matches between them since the summer of 2007.

Indeed, for two years under the ill-fated Icelandic regime, the club’s wages totalled around 80 per cent of their annual turnover – almost 20 per cent higher than the Premier League average.

The club’s finance director Nick Igoe said: “It is a truism to observe that a club’s playing success (and almost certainly long-term financial success) is largely dependent on how wisely it invests its available resources.

“It has to be concluded that many of the group’s investment decisions in the last two to three seasons have been ill-judged.”

Turnover was down to £76.1m, due mainly to the collapse of title sponsor XL, while the bank debt totalling £45m is considered “excessive”.