The dire consequences of relegation for West Ham have been laid bare in the club's accounts for the last financial year.
The Hammers made a pre-tax loss of £28.2million, which they say was driven predominantly by investment in the squad and wages.
Joint-owner David Sullivan revealed staying in the Premier League was "an absolute necessity for the future wellbeing of the club", who currently lie above the relegation zone on goal difference.
West Ham had a net spend of £214.4m on new players over the last four years, while investing £22m on infrastructure, including the refurbishment of their Rush Green training ground.
Since the end of last season the Hammers have smashed their transfer record to sign striker Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt for £45million. He has scored six goals in 22 Premier League games.
Sullivan's statement, written in October when Manuel Pellegrini was in charge and the Hammers were pushing for the top six, added that "the principal business risk remains that of the football club being relegated from the Premier League with the serious financial consequences which follow".
The Hammers have since plummeted down the table, with Pellegrini sacked in December and replaced by David Moyes, who saved them from relegation two seasons ago.
The financial results therefore do not include how much Pellegrini and his coaching staff were paid off after departing the club.
Since Moyes' arrival West Ham have won one Premier League match. They were beaten 4-1 at Leicester last Wednesday and were knocked out of the FA Cup at home by West Brom on Saturday.
A club statement said on Tuesday: "The board is committed to ensuring that this great club has a strong and stable foundation to build upon.
"As custodians of West Ham United, the board will continue to manage the club in a responsible and sustainable manner and will continue to work hard for supporters."