Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Etherington on Way out If West Ham Fail

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Etherington on Way out If West Ham Fail

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

WEST HAM winger Matthew Etherington looks certain to leave if the club fail to win promotion to the Premiership.

Defeat by Preston in Monday's Championship playoff final in Cardiff is likely to result in the departure of several players.

Manager Alan Pardew said: "Matty Etherington has had a truly awful year with injuries but now he's back and I am desperate for him to stay. We need to be promoted for that to happen, though."

Even so, Pardew is excited by the emergence of young players such as Anton Ferdinand, Elliott Ward and Mark Noble and is adamant that, if West Ham do go up, the club will not gamble with their future again by agreeing punitive contracts with players.

"Relegation from the Premiership is like falling off a cliff," Pardew said.

"It's a big issue and one which should be addressed by the authorities because the gap is too big. I've been a manager in the Football League for five years now and I've never been more convinced about that.

"In the past, relegation from the top division was manageable but not now.

What would happen if Roman Abramovich walked away from Chelsea? How would the club cope with that?

"All contracts in the future have to be geared for the worst and there will be clauses stipulating a 50 per cent reduction in salary or a free transfer in the event of relegation."

Pardew claims the playoff final is the biggest match on the calendar financially after the European Cup Final. "The minimum guaranteed income from TV if you are in the Premiership is about [pounds sterling]22million," he said. "Two years of parachute money, even if you go back down, is worth another [pounds sterling]12m and you have to add merchandising and corporate revenue to that."

Pardew vividly remembers the misery of two playoff final defeats in Cardiff with Reading in 2001 and West Ham last year. …

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