West Ham have had more than their share of problems off the field as a football club and the news today that David Gold and David Sullivan had completed a 50% takeover of the London club will be welcomed by the fans.
Any Premier League takeover these days is accompanied by a set of promises and criticisms, and West Ham’s is no different. Sullivan (correctly) pointed out the problems at West Ham, the imbalanced squad, the high wages, the heavy debt – and promised not only to stabilise the ship but also to push the club forward into competition for European places in the next decade.
Sullivan on the short term:
“We will spell out the book we are taking over. The imbalance in the squad and the crazy wages the Icelandics were paying that brought the club to its knees.”
“Zola is absolutely staying. I can say that categorically. West Ham United need stability after all the recent upheavals. We appointed four managers and parted company with two at Birmingham in 16 years. We believe in our managers and give them the time and support they need.”
Sullivan on the long term:
“We have a seven-year plan to get them into the Champions League.
We are deeply and passionately involved in West Ham. It is where I have wanted to be for 20 years. We have done [what we have done] in a way that is good for Birmingham and we have got the club we wanted. Over the next seven years we will spend a lot of money.”
Sullivan said part of their plan for the future of West Ham is to move from Upton Park to the Olympic Stadium. “It is the natural home for West Ham.”
So far so good. They’ve talked the talk, but having seen several takeovers for other clubs in England in recent years go pear-shaped, West Ham will be hoping that the former Birmingham owners can walk the walk too.
The fact that they are English and have prudent management history of a football club before works in their favour, but how much money will they be prepared to spend if, as they say, they want Champions League football? The stadium move would hold the key to increased revenues / spending.
First up is stabilisation – and it should be good to see who Zola can now bring in to shore up the squad.