Hammers braced for imminent takeover bid

November 20, 2006

West Ham are expected to announce to the Stock Exchange tomorrow morning that a takeover bid by an Icelandic consortium has succeeded.

The final details of the takeover were being completed today in preparation for the announcement of the buy-out for £75million plus an agreement to take on West Ham's £22.5million debt.

Icelandic FA president Eggert Magnusson will become the new chairman of the club - though he will have to wait a couple of weeks while changeover is processed until he formally replaces current incumbent Terry Brown.

Once Magnusson is installed, he will resign his Icelandic FA post and step down as a member of UEFA's executive committee.

Magnusson, 59, met Brown over the weekend and confirmed that after completing the due diligence on Friday the consortium were preparing a formal offer which will see them buy more than 70% of the club's shares.

The consortium's main backer is billionaire financier Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, chairman of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki.

The takeover should not affect manager Alan Pardew's position greatly - Magnusson has already met the Hammers boss to reassure him of his support and that he will have funds for signings in the January transfer window.

Less secure however are the positions of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, the Argentinian players brought to West Ham by Iranian-born Kia Joorabchian who then led his own takeover attempt but one which failed to lead to any offer for the club.

Tevez and Mascherano have been notable failures and their arrival has even been blamed for unsettling the squad.

Magnusson's knowledge of West Ham goes back 40 years and the Icelander, in an interview with PA Sport last month, said he wanted to maintain the side's famous traditions.

He said: 'West Ham is a great club with a great history. They have a good manager with good players and a very strong fan base.

'I have always had a soft spot for West Ham - their trademark for many years was good attacking football, and that's what I like.

'It is also unbelievable how many good football talents they have honed in east London.

'They have a lot of history, which is important for a football man like myself who has been interested in the game for a very long time.

'They have had so many good players - Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were the basis of England winning the World Cup in 1966, and they had a great manager at the time in Ron Greenwood.

'I have been involved in football and business all my life and this is something that just came up and like everything you get interested and I decided to look into this.'